Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
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Former Cochise County Courthouse, now site of Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||April 13, 1972|
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, located in Tombstone, Arizona, United States, preserves the original Cochise County courthouse. The two-story building, constructed in 1882 in the Victorian style, is laid out in the shape of a cross and once contained various county offices, including those of the sheriff, recorder, treasurer, and the Board of Supervisors as well as courtrooms and a jail. Inside, the courthouse contains a museum with numerous artifacts from the town’s history while outside, a replica gallows has been constructed in the courtyard to mark the spot where seven men were hanged for various crimes. The park was one of the first to be designated as a state park and in 1959 was the first to open following the 1957 establishment of the Arizona State Parks Board.
Following the 1877 discovery of silver ore by prospector Ed Schieffelin in southeastern Arizona, the town of Tombstone was founded and grew rapidly as miners flooded the area in the hope of finding their fortunes. At the time, the area was part of Pima County with the county seat Tucson being a rugged two-day, 70-mile journey away. In 1881, the residents of the thriving boomtown voted to separate from Pima County and the territorial legislature subsequently formed a new county, Cochise County. A new courthouse was built the following year and housed all of the county’s offices.
Tombstone remained the county seat until 1929, when outvoted by a growing Bisbee, and the county seat was moved there. The last county office left the courthouse in 1931. Except for an ill-fated attempt to convert the courthouse into a hotel during the 1940s, the building stood vacant until 1955. When the Tombstone Restoration Commission acquired it, they began the courthouse rehabilitation and the development as a historical museum that has continued to operate as a state park since 1959. It features exhibits and thousands of artifacts which tell of Tombstone's colorful past.
The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
- Arizona State Parks: Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
- Cochise County Courthouse, Toughnut & Third Streets, Tombstone, Cochise, AZ at the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)