Tag Archives: Cochise County

Arizona ghost town: Gleeson

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.

Gleeson Jail; Photo by Luanne Mattson

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.

Gleeson's Jail 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:

Joe Bono saloon (Photo by Luanne Mattson)

This saloon, once owned by Joe Bono, is practically falling down. If you go, please do not attempt to enter it!

Gleeson's Shannon Hospital (Photo by Luanne Mattson)

Gleeson school

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.

For directions, check the Gleeson Web site. Please check their  calendar and hours of operation before you go. The jail is privately owned, as is most of the surrounding land.

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.

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Hey kids, let’s go to the… saloon?

Relax, folks this is a wholesome saloon. It is brand new to the movie set at Gammons Gulch, just north of Benson.

Gammons Gulch's new saloon set ©Gammons Gulch

Last year, a movie called “The Gundown” was filmed at Gammons Gulch, here in Cochise County, and the moviemakers wanted a saloon to film in. So, after raising money, the saloon was built. It’s now an 1,100-square-foot movie saloon!

They don’t serve alcohol, so it’s safe to bring the kids.

Just imagine: a gunslinger charges through the swinging doors, card games screech to a halt and chairs scrape the floor. A shoot out is bound to happen! But we’ll just have to wait to see if The Gundown includes one of those scenes or if a wise sheriff or marshal will talk them out of pulling that trigger.

George Scott, former mayor of Benson and a member of Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group, helped raise funds to build the saloon.

Take a tour of Gammons Gulch today to learn about the movie set and see what I call a place that is like the “Antiques Roadshow on Steroids”!

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July 4th getaway

Looking to get away for July Fourth? Start celebrating early with Benson’s fireworks and Sierra Vista’s talent show on Saturday July 3. Then round out your weekend on July Fourth with coaster races, mucking and drilling contests, softball tournaments, the People & Pets Parade and fireworks in Bisbee, Sierra Vista and Tombstone.

Benson July Fourth Celebration, to be held July 3, 2010

Get a preview of fireworks in Benson! The community will commemorate its 130-year anniversary with a then-and-now slide show, the annual parade, and the popular “Water Fight” at Lions Park. Volunteer fire departments compete in the water fight. They use fire hoses to move a barrel on a pulley system, sliding the barrel toward the opposing team. Spectators often get a refreshing soak, and the kids get to play in the mud.  Entertainment and music throughout the day, with fireworks at dusk and a family dance held at Lion’s Park at night.

When:  July 3, 2010 Parade 9 a.m., Water Fight 10:30 a.m., Fireworks 8:30 p.m.

Where:  Benson

Admission:  Free

Info:  520-586-4293, Benson Visitor Center or info@bensonvisitorcenter.com

4th of July in Bisbee, Bisbee

The famous Bisbee Coaster Races, the oldest and longest gravity-powered race in the U.S., start down Tombstone Canyon at 8:30 a.m. Between heats, the Bisbee Iron Man Mile will be held. A parade will be in Bisbee’s Warren section. Re-created Bisbee’s early miners’, mucking and drilling contests are held in the afternoon with shovels and four-pound hammers flying. The Bisbee Copper Kings will host its third annual baseball tournament Warren Ballpark, with fireworks at dark.

When:  beginning at 9 a.m., July 4

Where:  Bisbee locations

Admission:  Free

Info:  520-432-6016 or Bisbee Visitor Center events

43rd Annual 4th of July Festivities, Sierra Vista

The party begins July 3 with a youth talent show at Veterans’ Memorial Park, followed by a street dance with the popular band “Train Wreck.” Celebrations include the Pets & People parade, with entertainment, food and displays. City officials and dignitaries will address the crowd at a noon ceremony. A spectacular fireworks show starts at dusk at the Paiz/Stone Complex, on Tacoma Street.

When:  6 p.m., July 3; all day, July 4

Where: Veterans’ Memorial Park, 3105 E. Fry Blvd.

Admission: Free

Info:  520-266-2304 or Sierra Vista Visitor July events calendar or www.visitsierravista.com

July 4, Family Style 4th of July at Medigovich Field, Tombstone

America’s independence is celebrated in Tombstone with the annual softball tournament. Street entertainment and a rousing fireworks display at dusk round out the too-tough-to-die town’s events.
When:  8:30 a.m.

Where:  Medigovich Field, Allen Street

Admission:  Free

Info:  520-457-3994 or Tombstone Chamber

July 3 & 4, Douglas’ “sporty” July 4th

If you and your kids can’t get enough of sports, check out the July 4th celebration in Douglas. They’ll have a variety of sports tournaments: youth soccer, golf, adult flag football and softball. You must pre-register. In addition, there will be food and craft vendors plus a Patriotic Parade downtown on Avenue G at 10 a.m. Fireworks will shoot off at on July 4th at 8:45 p.m.

For more info contact the City of Douglas Recreation Center at 520-417-7340.

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Southwest Wings festival-goers: make reservations early!

If you’re planning to attend the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, make sure you’re an early bird!

A major conference will be held in Sierra Vista at the same time as the festival, so rooms will be in short supply. Visit SW Wings’ lodging page for info on sponsoring hotels, bed and breakfast inns or motels.

Be sure to make any lodging reservations well in advance!

If you can’t find lodging in Sierra Vista, You might also visit lodging facilities in the neighboring communities in Cochise County. Click on each city to find lodging within these communities (numbers in parentheses indicate mileage to Sierra Vista). Benson (35), Bisbee (24), Douglas (50), Tombstone (32) and Willcox (70).

Happy bird watching!

Roadrunner near the San Pedro River ©Cochise County Tourism Council

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Southern Arizona summers: find the cool spots, Part 2

Below are more ideas on how to stay cool in Cochise County and southeastern Arizona. See my earlier post for “part 1” of how to find cool spots during Arizona’s summers.

Dig for cold in Cochise County’s mines. A spot in Bisbee’s Queen Mine Tour is a brisk 47 degrees year-round. So when it’s 110 degrees in the desert… well, you do the math! You can get an education on mining life while you’re chilling out inside the mines. Try one of Cochise County’s two mine tours—the Queen Mine Tour or Tombstone’s Good Enough Underground Mine Tour. Visit the Queen Mine Tour or the Good Enough Mine Tour.

Which way to the beach? Cool off at The Cove, Sierra Vista’s Aquatic Center. You can dip your toes into the pool’s beach-like entry or go head first into the diving well. There’s also water tube slides and major wave action. Call the facility at 520-417-4800 or visit The Cove’s website.

Hang out with some cool customers. Tombstone has its share of cool characters hanging around. Visit Tombstone Chamber of Commerce to plan your own cool experience in the “town too tough to die.”

Gaze into cool night skies. With cooler evening temperatures, stargazers of all levels can revel in the county’s dark skies. Contact the Huachuca Astronomy Club to attend monthly star parties or join an event at one of 15 private observatories.

Do you have more ideas on staying cool? Share it by leaving a comment!

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Cochise County events: street dance, motorcycle rally, birding celebration

This weekend, you’ll find lots to do in Cochise County for Mother’s Day. In the serene setting of the  Holy Trinity Monastery, you’ll find the annual spring festival. If you’re looking for something with a little more action, try the Border to Border Run, a motorcycle rally during the day and street dances at night in Douglas. Want to commune with nature? Check out the International Migratory Bird Day at the San Pedro House, located on the river just off Highway 90 between Bisbee and Sierra Vista.

May 8 & 9, Holy Trinity Monastery Fiesta de la Primavera, St. David

The Holy Trinity Monastery will hold its annual spring festival on Mother’s Day weekend—a lovely place to take Mom! Visit more than 150 arts and crafts booths plus enjoy entertainment and food.

Details: Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Monastery, St. David, AZ. Admission is free. Call 520 720-4642, ext 22 for more info or visit http://www.holytrinitymonastery.org.

May 8 & 9, Border to Border Cinco de Mayo Run, Douglas

If you like motorcycles, this is the place for you! Bike show, car show, raffles and drawings, plus a poker crawl make for a rousing weekend at the border. Street dancing on Friday evening will feature Déjà vu, and Elvis will appear on Saturday.
The Border to Border Run starts at 9 a.m. Street Dancing will be Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Gadsden Hotel, Douglas, AZ.  Admission is free. There is a small fee for specific events. Call 520-364-4481 or 520-234-3901 for more info.

May 9, International Migratory Bird Day, Sierra Vista

With talks, walks, exhibitions and children’s events, visitors can learn about birds, beavers, wildlife and native plantings. The Gray Hawk Nature Center will showcase a variety of snakes and lizards. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the San Pedro River, the Sonoran Joint Venture, Coronado National Forest, Cochise County Master Gardeners and the Bureau of Land Management.

Details: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the San Pedro House, 9800 Hwy 90, at the San Pedro River. Admission is free. For more info call 520-459-2555.

Places for more info:

Sierra Vista tourism info

Benson Visitor Center

Douglas Arizona

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Tombstone’s rose tree in full bloom

Tombstone's famous rose tree

Tombstone's famous rose tree

The trunk of the rose tree

The trunk of the rose tree

This rose tree covers over 8,000 square feet!

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