Dos Cabezas

Dos Cabezas Mountains
Viewed from I-10


The area sprung up from mining. The name comes from the 2 distinguishing peaks, especially noticeable from Interstate 10, but also from one particular area of Hwy. 186, as you begin an upward climb. In Spanish it means two heads.

The location is Southeast of Willcox Arizona. When mine exploration began it soon attracted attention. People began moving in.

The Location of Dos Cabezas Arizona

Constant Influx & Discovery

Investors came from the East. Excitement was in the air!

From Tucson’s Arizona Citizen
Sunday, March 6, 1881 – Page 3

Area newspapers even wrote humorous stories, saying “there was a new district…where the streets were paved with gold…” Funny thing was, though copper mining was it – they did discover gold there!

Gold Quartz Like That From Dos Cabezas Mine

Photo Credit: Rob Lavinsky of via CC-by-SA-3.0

Dos Cabezas Town Takes Shape

Post Office authorized 1879. By 1881 there was a store, hotel & school. Nov. that year a Thanksgiving Ball was staged in a hall, where danced all the well-known couples.

Artemus Fay, experienced newspaper man in Tucson & then Tombstone as founder of the Nugget. Early 1881 he sold the Nugget to Harry Woods & began Dos Cabezas Gold Note.

From Tombstone Epitaph – Mon., Dec. 19, 1881 Pg. 1

At the beginning of 1882, a visitor to town said some “struck it rich in gold and silver…” And also gave this description: “wood and water, good and in abundance…. a regularly laid out town, with Well’s Fargo & Co.’s express and telegraph…. one fine neat and clean hotel…. also some fine saloons, one… kept by Charlie Gates…. bright future for this lively camp.”

On A Sad Note for Dos Cabezas

From Tombstone Epitaph – Mon., April 3, 1882 – Pg. 1

More Upsets

James Malley owned the town’s hotel. Aug. 31 he got married in Willcox. While there, his business took a hit!

From the Arizona Citizen – Mon., Sept. 4, 1882 – Pg. 3

Late in 1882 Dos Cabezas built their own mill. Expected to produce about $25/ton.

Into 1885 all continued optimistic for Dos Cabezas, especially for the gold it was mining.

From Arizona Daily Star: Thurs., Dec. 17, 1885 – Pg. 4

Right about that time, though, as was the case with many Arizona mining ventures, the rewards had their ups & downs. And the trends began showing a bit more downs than ups as time went along.

Yet Dos Cabezas was upbeat enough, they wanted to survey for the town’s border, lot lines, & street layout. They called in Tombstone’s J.A.Rockfellow for the job.

Tombstone Epitaph – Sun., Jan. 14, 1900 – Pg. 1

Infamous “Big Nose” Resident!

Big Nose Kate was at Doc Holliday’s death bed. After that she married a Colorado miner. They moved to Bisbee AZ, but split. Kate took a job at the Rath Hotel (now Cochise Hotel). Subsequently saw an ad for Dos Cabezas.

June 1990 John Jesse Howard hired Kate Elder Cummings as his housekeeper. She earned $20/mo., with room/board. Howard, a divorcee Dos Cabezas miner, respected local. Now remembered with a nearby peak & canyon named for him.

Kate, now age 60, took care of the home, garden & chickens. When Howard died, he left Kate his small estate. At age 80 now, she sold it, traveling to her brother’s in Colorado with the funds. Then returned to Dos Cabezas, a now really financially suffering village. She found a rental, but couldn’t pay the rent. That’s when she petitioned the State for a place to live. Eventually got into the Arizona Pioneer Home. Where she happily lived until she died.

Grave of Big Nose Kate

Prescott Arizona Pioneer Home Cemetery
Credit: Marine69-71 via CCby-SA4.0 license
Cropped by Newsletter Author/Editor

Take a Cyber Tour

Out of Willcox, along Route 186 East, you begin to climb a slight grade. You’ll notice to your left the twin Dos Cabezas peaks. Soon you won’t be able to see both of them.

On the Way to Dos Cabezas

You’ll get to the sign that says you’re entering the town limits. Remember it was surveyed back in 1900!

Dos Cabezas Entry

Photo Credit: Ken Lund at Flickr via cc-by-sa-2.0 license

Soon you’ll see scattered along the roadside, multiple ruins of adobe homes from back when. Gives it that ghost town feel alright!

Dos Cabezas Pueblo Homes
Now Ghost Town Ruins

Image Credit: Marine69-71 via CCby-SA4.0 license

Upcoming on the left is the historic, but private, Dos Cabezas Pioneer Cemetery. Now managed by a 501c3 volunteer organization.

Photo credit: Marine69-71 via CCby-SA4.0 license

One of the businesses alive there!

Photo Credit: Marine69-71 via CCby-SA4.0 license
Image Cropped by Newsletter Author/Editor

There are a few others. Including an art gallery & a beautiful bed & breakfast (add optional dinner). Choose historic cabins for your stay, at Dos Cabezas Retreat B&B.

If nothing else, it’s a nice scenic drive. A nice get-away to a beautiful area. We recommend it.

Historical places & events create curiosity for facts about people who roamed the Tombstone area & the Old West. What’s the true story? Can we discover the authentic history?

And we enjoy sharing what we find with you.

We hope we’ll see you in town sometime in the near future! Seeing areas where they spent time – back in the 1800s.

Let us know if you’ll be going to an upcoming event! Tell us how you liked any of them, or what you visited here! Just reply to this newsletter for easy input! (Let us know if we can use your comments – & how to credit you.)

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