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Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park

Tombstone Courthouse Wikimedia Commons

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


223 Toughnut Street
(one block south of Allen Street; on the corner of  3rd and Toughnut streets)


Summer Hours
(June 1 - Sept. 30)
Daily 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Fall-Spring Park Hours
(Oct. 1 - May 31)
Daily 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Holiday Hours
Thanksgiving 9 am to 2 pm
Christmas Eve  9 am to 2 pm
Closed Christmas

Admission Fee:

Adult (14+): $7.00
Youth (7–13): $2.00
Child (0–6): FREE


FB: www.facebook.com/tombstonestatepark
(520) 457-3311

The Historic Courthouse

Once silver was found in 1877 in the Tombstone Mining District, the rush was on. People flocked to the new boom area and Tombstone as a town was incorporated in 1879.

By 1881 the population had grown to more than 7,000 and the people were starting to have the problems of a real civilization – paperwork.

Unfortunately, residents, miners, and merchants still had to travel more than 150 rough, dangerous, round trip miles to Tucson to conduct official business such as record mining claims, file deeds and contracts, and access the court system in the Pima County Courthouse.

To solve this problem the residents of the thriving mini-metropolis voted to separate from Pima County and create their own county government.

In 1881 Cochise County was formed out of the eastern end of Pima County in the Arizona Territory by the territorial legislature.

Tombstone, being the largest population center in Cochise County at the time, was selected to serve as the county seat.

A Government Needs a Government Building

The two-story courthouse, designed in the Victorian style and built on the floor plan of a Roman cross, was constructed of brick in 1882. It is considered a prime example of territorial architecture.

When completed it was one of the largest buildings in the Arizona Territory and it is now the oldest courthouse still standing in Arizona today.

The Tombstone Courthouse housed the Cochise County court and courtrooms, the county offices of sheriff, recorder, treasurer, and board of supervisors, as well as the county jail.

The Tombstone Courthouse served its purpose for almost 50 years.

Even after the mines in Tombstone closed the courthouse continued to serve as a county facility until 1929 when the county seat was moved to Bisbee due to the extreme decline of Tombstone’s population.

The last county office left the courthouse in 1931.

No Courts, No Courthouse

In 1942 the Cochise County transferred ownership of the courthouse to the City of Tombstone.

Except for an ill-fated attempt to convert the courthouse into a hotel during the 1940s, the building stood vacant until 1955.

The city then leased the courthouse to the Tombstone Restoration Commission and after some renovation work the first floor was opened to the public in 1956.

In 1957 Arizona established the Arizona State Parks Board. One of the first proposed State Parks was the Tombstone Courthouse.

The Tombstone Restoration Commission made the offer to donate the courthouse property if the state agreed to make it into a park.

The offer was accepted. After the agreement was finalized the City of Tombstone transferred the courthouse, its contents, and the land to the State Parks Board in 1959.

Because of the work already done by the Tombstone Restoration Commission, the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park was the first State Park to open to the public in Arizona.

The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The Tombstone Courthouse Museum

Today the old Tombstone Courthouse contains exhibits that portray the authentic history of Tombstone as a frontier silver mining boom town.

Inside, the courthouse contains a museum with interpretive exhibits on the history of Tombstone and Cochise County, including numerous artifacts from the town's residents, artist drawings, and replicas of a saloon and gambling rooms.

Tombstone Courthouse Silver Assay by Adam Martin

photo courtesy Adam Martin

On the first floor is the original courtroom and law library, the Pioneer room, Cattlemen room, desk and mail sorter from Tombstone’s original post office, and the Personalities Exhibit.

The second floor contains the sheriff’s office, the Frontier room, the OK Corral exhibit, and the Mining, Transportation and Communication exhibits.

Outside, a replica gallows has been constructed in the courtyard to mark the spot where seven men were hanged for various crimes.

Tombstone Courthouse Gallows by Adam Martin

photo courtesy Adam Martin

You can explore this 12,000-square-foot museum filled with artifacts of those who built Tombstone, and guests are also welcome to visit the gift shop and shaded picnic areas.

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