Tombstone hotels have been in existence just about as long as the town has had people! People began arriving after Ed Schieffelin founded the mining district here. They developed silver mine strikes like the Lucky Cuss, Tough Nut and the Grand Central. They officially recorded The Tombstone Mining District with Pima County on April 7, 1878.
Tombstone was awarded a Post Office in early 1879. Tombstone's first hotel was built in late 1879. It still stands today - the San Jose House.
For Tombstone Hotel History - Click Here>
Don't forget to check our "Deal App" Here - we use this all the time for traveling! That's why we recommend it - and the more we've used it, the more we've saved. We think it's terrific. Give it a try...
Larian Motel - 410 East Fremont Street. (520) 457-2272
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Budget Host Inn - 502 East Fremont Street. Look for their budget deals!
Sage Brush Inn - 227 North 4th Street. (520) 457-2311
T. Miller's Mercantile Hotel - 530 East Allen Street. (520) 457-2405
Tombstone Boarding House Inn - 114 North 4th Street. (520) 457-8075
Trail Rider's Inn - 13 North 7th Street. (520) 457-3573
Landmark Lookout Lodge - As you enter Tombstone city limits on Hwy. 80 South, entrance on the Right. (520) 457-2223
Tombstone Grand Hotel - 580 West Randolph Way, off Hwy. 80. (520) 457-9507 or (855) 90-GRAND - Email: email@example.com
Before we moved into town, we often came to Tombstone to visit for days at a time. Just like you're planning to do. We sampled various Tombstone hotel options. Another of our website pages lists the hotels in town where we've stayed, including the local bed & breakfasts.
We've given our opinion on how we liked them. You can check that out - Click Here>
As visitors, we never wanted to do that. We wanted to be able to walk to our lodging.
But - if you look for a Tombstone hotel at the last minute during a Tombstone Event - you may be out of luck to find something in town. Or you may want to find something a little more budget-minded. Towns just a little drive away may have what you want. Take a look...
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Benson to Tombstone is about a 35 minute drive straight off of Interstate 10. Take Hwy. 80 South to Tombstone. The first is right along the way to Tombstone, on Hwy. 80. The other 2 choices are off the Interstate.
Well - maybe not change your entire life! But it could enhance your visit to Tombstone AZ! And knowing some Tombstone hotel history may surely give you a good appreciation for the town's story, when you walk the streets. Let's see how five hotels developed here, right at the start. Which ones do you think you can find today?
Samantha E. Fallon was an entrepreneurial woman from San Jose California. In 1879 she bought lots at the Northwest corner of Fremont and 5th Street. Near the end of the year construction of her 20 room hotel was complete.1 She hired a local woman, Francis Jackson, a miner's sister, to manage the place. Samantha stayed until March 1880 to ensure things were off to a good start, and then she went back to California.2
Apparently she felt opportunities were abundant in town. She returned in August to open a local hat shop right down the street.2 She then split her time managing her two establishments.
You can still stay in this historic Tombstone hotel today - The San Jose House.
It's about a tie, whether this or the San Jose is the oldest Tombstone hotel. The San Jose construction began first - as an adobe building in very early 1879. The Mohave Hotel began as a wood frame and canvas building. Charles R. Brown completed its contruction on the Northeast corner of 4th and Allen Street in April 1879.
Soon he began working on a more permanent structure - an adobe building. When it was done he hired an experienced couple to manage it - John and Leonie Holly. They had managed the American Hotel in Phoenix.
All the while Brown continued to expand the hotel. Eventually it became among the largest of all hotels in Arizona Territory. So he changed its name to Brown's Hotel.2 As he expanded he located the hotel lodging to the upper floors, and rented out the lower floors. A restaurant was on one side, and Hafford's Wholesale Liquors on the other.3
Henry G. Howe built this Tombstone hotel, completed in late 1879. He promoted it as first class lodging, with the best meals available. It was located on Allen Street, close to 5th.2 Rutledge and Crowe took over from Howe somewhere around the summer of 1880. The Holly husband and wife couple ran their kitchen, until John Holly overdosed on Laudenum in January 1880. Then Mrs. Holly took over on her own.
Sol T. Anderson and Jacob Smith were experienced hoteliers who built this now historic Tombstone hotel. Located at the Southwest corner of Toughnut and 5th, it had a veranda on both streets. You could view the mines from there!
Constructed of adobe, it had a huge dining room and the most modern stove available in its kitchen. They also provided a reading room and a bar-room. They advertised their lodging rooms had spring mattresses.2
The walls of this memorable Tombstone hotel still stand. Much of the interior has been lost and/or reworked. But enough is still there for the establishment to be on the National Register of Historic Places.
Through the years it has had reinventions. For a time it was partly owned by Nellie Cashman. Thus in more modern years it was called Nellie Cashman's, reinvented as a restaurant. Now it's totally been changed. The Russ House Building is now a restaurant called Las Margaritas. When it was sold to the most recent owner, I understand the right to the Nellie Cashman name did not come along with the sale (sigh!) That transformed the whole atmosphere. Read More>
Charles Brown and Sylvester B. Comstock partnered together. They obtained lots on 4th Street, swinging over to meet past the Southeast corner of Allen Street. On it they constructed their fine hotel of adobe brick. Along Allen Street, the lower window panes were designed with fine archways.
The grand opening was on September 9, 1880. The main entrance was on 4th. The Grand Hotel had two stories. It was truly a grand establishment!
Today you can see the front archways along Allen Street, which once fronted the Grand on Allen Street. The other Grand Hotel today, has taken the name - but has nothing to do with this original.
Some historical notables through the years:
Carl Gustave Frederick Bilicke and his son Albert Clay came to Tombstone in the autumn of 1879. They were toting a lot of furniture with plans for a Tombstone hotel. Carl partnered with farmer Sam Wise, for financing.
At first they erected a hotel tent on the North side of Allen Street, close to 4th. (Just to the West was Brown's Hotel.) They had 50 beds, a bar with a restaurant, and a piano! But they immediately began working on a permanent structure. It became two stories. By 1880 Carl bought out his partner, so that he and his son were the sole owners.
The new lodging area of the finished hotel accommodated 25 upstairs. They also had a Ladies' Parlor, sitting rooms, a meeting/event room, and a store. A front veranda facing an orange grove was a delightful addition.2
When the Earps began facing troubles from the Cowboys they decided to move out of their homes. They felt they would be safer temporarily living in a hotel. Virgil and Allie, Wyatt and Morgan all moved into rooms in the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
As the Tombstone population grew, and the reputation of the town spread - more and more hostelry rooms were needed. Enterprising business people headed straight to town to find their best spots.
Some other favored Tombstone hotels were...
With the end of World War II, U.S. citizens had an optimism that gave way to travel. Tombstone took part in that optimistic outlook, and began looking at their historic town. A coast to coast roadway nicknamed "The Broadway of America" - actually U.S. Hwy. 80 at that time ran directly through town. How exciting!
Restoration of local history was in the works! Tourists could come to town, making it a destination. Tombstone hotel rooms would be needed.
In 1946 a plan was presented to the city council. To refurbish the old court house, and make it a hotel. In February 1948 the Tombstone Hotel Corporation was formed to carry out this plan. The facility was to have 60 rooms, each with a private bath. Work began on the building. The funding to complete this project never did get it off the ground. Work was slow - probably a good thing. The lease they held from the city was revoked in 1952 for breach of contract.2
Instead work began to restore it as the Courthouse it had been.2 The rest is history!
1 Weekly Nugget (1879, October 28).
2 Bailey, L.R. (2004). Too Tough to Die The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Silver Camp; 1878 to 1990. Tucson AZ: Westernlore Press.
3 Arizona Quarterly Illustrated (1880, October).
4 Pioneer Landmark After Fire (1942, May 28). Burned tires draw saddest sigh from Tombstone victim. Tucson AZ: Arizona Daily Star.
5 Arizona Women's Hall of Fame (2017) Mary "Mollie" E. Fly (1847-1925): Inducted in 1989. Retrieved from https://www.azwhf.org/inductions/inducted-women/mary-mollie-e-fly-1847-1925/