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Tombstone AZ History

How Allen Street Got It's Name

John Brackett “Pie” Allen
Allen Street

Allen Street was named for John B. Allen (John Brackett “Pie” Allen).

John Brackett "Pie" Allen (October 22, 1818 – June 13, 1899) was an American prospector, businessman, and politician. Unsuccessful in his efforts as a prospector, he earned his nickname baking pies for settlers and soldiers in Arizona Territory. His business success made him a prominent territorial citizen and he served three terms in the Arizona Territorial Legislature, two terms as Mayor of Tucson, Arizona Territory, and was appointed Arizona Territorial Treasurer for six years.

John B. Allen was rechristened "Pie" Allen based on his successful Tucson-area based pie business. He came to Arizona in 1857, attempting to make a fortune in gold in Yuma. He eventually came to Tucson and sold dried apple pies to the rough characters of the western town. With his proceeds, he later purchased a large ranch and alfalfa farm in Maricopa Wells and built a fine store in Tombstone. As his fame and fortune grew, he was elected to the Territorial Legislature and as Territorial Treasurer from 1867 to 1872 he balanced the books. As Adjutant General, he became known as "General Pie." He filled two terms as Mayor of Tucson. He was also known for his building projects and concern for forward looking projects.

In 1899, Pie was dying of cancer and many citizens of Tucson hosted a honorary dinner for him. After dinner and pie, Pie was presented with a gift purchased by Zeckendorf and Company. It was understood that the man who had lived in the rough frontier would recognize his fate -- the gift was his already engraved tombstone and it was received well. He died within the month and was buried in a Tucson cemetery. When the city changed its laws and ordered the removal of bodies from cemeteries within the city limits, Pie's remains were not claimed by family members, nor was he buried in one of the fraternal sections. Pie was apparently not moved at all. Tucson archaeologist Homer Thiel says that only his sunken headstone was moved to county sections at the rear of Evergreen Cemetery along with the rest of the unclaimed.

Ed Schieffelin

Ed Schieffelin 2

In 1877, the City of Tombstone was founded by Ed Schieffelin. At the time, there was a scouting voyage in Tombstone against the Chiricahua (chir-i-cow-uh) Apaches. Ed was part of this mission and was staying at a place called Camp Huachuca (wa-chu-ka) . During his stay, he would leave the camp to look for rocks within the wilderness despite the fact that fellow soldiers at his camp warned him not to.

The soldiers told him that he wouldn’t find stones out in the wilderness and would only eventually find his own tombstone. Fortunately, for Ed, he did not find his tombstone, but he did find something: silver.

Taking the advice his fellow soldiers gave him, his very first mine was named The Tombstone.

Word quickly spread about his silver strike. It wasn’t long before homesteaders, cowboys, speculators, prospectors, lawyers, business people and gunmen headed to the area. Known as Goose Flats back then, a town site was situated near the mines in 1879 and was named Tombstone due to the first claim of silver mining by Ed Schiefflelin.

The popular in Tombstone increased to approximately 7,500 by the mid-1880s. However, this figure only consisted of the white males over the age of 21 that were registered vote. The figure that consists of women, children and other ethnicities, the population was at least 15,000 and possibly as much as 20,000. Tombstone was considered to be between San Francisco and St. Louis as the fastest populating city. Tombstone was home to more than 100 saloons, a multitude of eateries, a huge red-light district, a larger popular of Chinese, newspapers, churches, schools, and one of the original Arizona community swimming pools, which is still being used today.

The Tombstone Fires

Tombstone Fires

On June 22, 1881 there was two large fires that went through the city. Reportedly, one of the fires was at the Arcade Saloon and began when a whiskey barrel was ignited by a cigar. The fire, which occurred in June of 1881, destroyed more than 60 downtown businesses. The town was able to rebuild and continue to grow.

However, just short of a year later on May 26, 1882, Tombstone's second great fire started in the restroom of the Tivoli Saloon, on the south side of Allen Street, between Fourth and Fifth. The damages from this great blaze were estimated at $500,000; almost three times the amount of the first fire on June 22, 1881.

Boothill Graveyard

Boot Hill Graveyard

Boothill Graveyard was also a huge part of Tombstone. Founded in 1879, Boothill Graveyard was used until the new cemetery – New Tombstone City Cemetery – opened in 1884. After the new cemetery opened and began being used, Boothill Graveyard was called “The Old Cemetery.” The newer cemetery is still being used today. Stories say that Boothill received its name from the fact that the individuals there had died unexpectedly or violently and were buried boots intact. However, Boothill was in fact named after the pioneer cemetery in Dodge City hopefully helping tourism in the late 1920s. Many individuals from Tombstone are in this cemetery, including victims from a shootout that took place in 1881 between the Cowboys and Earps on Fremont Street. For years, though, the cemetery was neglected. It was taken over by the desert and gravestones were removed by vandals. Some began to clean up The Old Cemetery in the 1920s and doing research so that the grave markers could be properly replaced.


O.K Corral

OK Corral 2

In a Fateful 30 Seconds ...

On the cold afternoon of October 26, 1881, four men in long black coats strode purposefully down the dusty Fremont Street. Around the corner, in a narrow vacant lot behind the O.K. Corral, waited six cowboys. In a fateful thirty seconds, nearly thirty shots were fired at close range. The gunbattle between the Earps – lead by Marshal Virgil Earp, his brothers Wyatt and Morgan and their friend, Doc Holliday – and the Clanton-McLaury gang left Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers dead and Virgil, Morgan, and Doc wounded.

Tombstone Courthouse

Tombstone Historic Courthouse

Cochise County was created by a vote of the citizens in 1881 with Tombstone serving as its county seat.  The fire of 1881 destroyed the first courthouse in Tombstone.  When the new Mining Exchange Building was completed, Tombstone officials chose the first floor as the new Courtroom as they were looking for something as fire resistant as adobe.   The Earp/Holliday hearing about the gunfight as held there on Fremont Street in late 1881.   However plans were underway to build a new permanent Courthouse.  A kiln was built and Chinese brink makers were brought to Tombstone.  The cornerstone as laid on August 11, 1882 with great ceremony.   “Offerings were deposited in a cavity beneath the cornerstone: coins, cigars, specimens of ore, poems and essays.”  The imposing building was completed in 1883.

The two-story courthouse, designed in the Victorian style, was constructed of red brick in 1882. The courthouse, a splendid example of territorial architecture, continued to serve as a county facility until 1931 when the county seat was moved to Bisbee.   The City of Tombstone leased the courthouse building until the County transferred it to the City on January 5, 1942.