Tag Archives: Ghost towns

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.



Filed under Ghost towns

Plans for Halloween?

The Arizona Daily Star has a story about paranormal experts posted that will be part of Halloween weekend in Bisbee, in southeast Arizona (specifically Cochise County) on Nov. 1. Do you have your costume picked out for Halloween yet?

There’s a ton of ghost related stuff in Cochise County: ghost towns, haunted hotels and ghost tours. See my earlier post for more information and links. (By the way, I saw the movie Ghost Town, and really liked it. Ricky Gervais didn’t disappoint. He’s such a funny guy. Greg Kinnear also did well. He’s a fellow Hoosier, someone from the state of Indiana.) Apple Annie’s in Willcox has a pumpkin festival going on now that will run through the end of October. they also have a corn maze. From the air, it looks like the design on the Arizona state quarter. 

Apple Annie's

Photo: Apple Annie

I’m outta here. Going to Tombstone for Helldorado Days and then Bisbee for the Stair Climb! Have a great weekend, my fellow travelers!

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“Ghost Town” see the movie or experience ghosts in Cochise County

Ricky Gervais was a guest on the Daily Show Tuesday night promoting his new movie Ghost Town. I’ve been seeing the previews for this movie, and it looks pretty funny. I think Gervais is hilarious. His movie is about how his character gets the ability to see ghosts because he died while having a medical procedure done.

He is completely annoyed by the ghosts, but in Cochise County, ghosts have become somewhat of a cottage industry. There are lots of opportunities to experience ghosts.

Ghost Tours: Take a tour with a “ghost host” in Bisbee or Tombstone with the Old Bisbee Ghost Tours or Tombstone Ghost Tours.

Haunted Hotels: There are loads of hotels that are haunted in Cochise County. The Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, the Copper Queen Hotel, the Bisbee Inn and the Clawson House in Bisbee, the Aztec House, Big Nose Kate’s the Bird Cage Theatre, Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant, the O.K. Corral and the Wells Fargo building in Tombstone. Any others I missed? Please leave comment and let me know.

Ghost Towns: If you like to go off the beaten path a bit, there are ghost towns in Cochise County where you can see the towns that flourished during the settling of the Old West. The trail takes you on a few dirt roads. Along the way, you’ll see Fairbank, Courtland, Millbank, Pearce and other ghost towns. There’s a map you can find online.

P.S. back to the visit on Comedy Central for a moment… Jon Stewart says that Gervais is a “fact man,” and they go on a riff about how men love to collect little known facts. Gervais then started to spout trivia and some of the things he said were that about how cows can go up a set of stairs, but can’t go down them. He then went on to say that when bats leave a cave, they always fly to the left. (I’ll have to ask the folks at Kartchner Caverns State Park to find out if that’s true.)


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Dos Cabezas Spirit and Nature Retreat

Are you looking for an escape from the urban jungle? If so, a new bed and breakfast inn in Cochise County may be the place for you.

A view the grounds and nearby mountains

The grounds of Dos Cabezas Spirit and Nature Retreat

Guests can enjoy secluded privacy of Dos Cabezas Spirit and Nature Retreat in the Dos Cabezas mountains. Just 14 miles from Willcox, this retreat hosts one party at a time in its country guest house. The property boasts authentic, historical adobe homes from the late 1800s. At an elevation of 5,200 feet, it has ideal temperatures for year-round adventures.

Dos Cabezas Spirit and Nature Retreat can be used as a base for premier birding and nature viewing, peaceful meditation, astronomy, hiking, photography, picking fruit at local peach and apple orchards and vegetable farms, and exploring nearby ghost towns.

Owners Charmayne and John Samuelson worked with the elderhostel program for seven years. They are a wealth of knowledge about local birds and have worked as guides to Mata Ortiz in Mexico.

If you’re looking for a quiet respite from life’s hustle and bustle, call the Dos Cabezas Spirit and Nature Retreat at 520-384-6474.

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