I took a trip out to the ghost town of Gleeson one day last month and met up with the jail’s owner, Tina Miller.
She and her partner bought the jail, and have turned it into a mini-museum. Inside the jail, you can see Native American artifacts, Western gear including old saddles, tack, an old bunk, mining and prospecting tools, ranching tools and other antiques.
The jail was built of reinforced concrete in 1910. Before that, the town jail was a nearby tree.
The marshals would handcuff the prisoners to the tree, and they’d be forced to endure the elements. Next to the Jail Tree is a natural wash. Sometimes after a rainstorm, the water would rise dangerously close to the prisoners.
Since I was headed down, I called ahead, and Tina met me to open the jail. She then treated me to a tour of the area.
Between 1900 and 1920, Gleeson’s population swelled to about 1,000 people. On the website, it says, “In the downtown section of Gleeson, the population is exactly zero.” A few people live nearby, but they generally like the wide open spaces of this little ghost town. Mining
Here are pictures of other structures nearby:
This saloon, once owned by Joe Bono, is practically falling down. If you go, please do not attempt to enter it!
The foundation is all that remains from Gleeson’s third school (they kept outgrowing them).
There are plenty of other stories waiting for you to discover! The Gleeson jail is open to visitors the first Saturday of each month. Historian Glenn Snow is usually there to tell visitors about Gleeson’s heydays and the area’s history. Gleeson is about 15 miles from Tombstone via a dirt road. It’s also accessible by a paved road off of Highway 191 from the east.
If you want to explore the history a bit before you go, check out the historical sketches, which are written by Glenn Snow and are about bootleggers, scam artists and unsavory characters of the Old West.