Tag Archives: southeastern Arizona

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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Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards to open tasting room March 13

Another new tasting room will open in Willcox on Saturday, March 13, 2010!

Rod Keeling and Jan Schaefer of Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards have been renovating the old Willcox Bank and Trust building. Their tasting room will open this week. On Saturday the winemaker will be on hand to sign bottles from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It used to be that you could taste their wines by appointment only at their Chiricahua Mountain foothills tasting room. Wine lovers will be able to sample their Three Sisters Syrah, Two Reds Grenache, Best Friends Chardonnay and Rock Creek Rosé vintages.

The Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards tasting room is in the former Willcox Bank and Trust Building, which was built in 1917 and sits next to Willcox’s famous Rex Allen Museum on Railroad Avenue. The wine library will be housed in what used to be the bank vault.

Hours for the tasting room are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Details: Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards, 154 Railroad Avenue, Willcox, AZ, 520-824-2500, www.KeelingSchaeferVineyards.com.

For nearby accommodations or other attractions in the area, call the Willcox Chamber of Commerce at 1-520-384-2272.

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Wine Tasting Rooms to open in Willcox, Ariz.

One of the wines available at the Carlson Creek grand opening Feb. 13.Carlson Creek Vineyards tasting room will have its grand opening celebration Feb. 13. Located on Railview Avenue just across the railroad tracks from the Rex Allen Museum, it will feature four wine varietals, a Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.

The vineyard is family owned and operated. Robert Carlson is the winemaker; his brother John will manage the tasting room, and father, Bob, directs the farming operations. Robert Carlson’s sister and mother are also involved. Robert, Bob and John Carlson have completed viticulture and winemaking classes at University of California Davis. Their first vintages are from grapes they purchased grapes from their Cochise County neighbors. In 2009, they planted their first vines, which they will harvest in 2011. Initially, they will plant grapes on 16 of the 80 acres they own in Cochise County.

Details: Carlson Creek Vineyards, 115 Railview Ave., Willcox, Arizona, 520-776-3000. www.CarlsonCreek.com

Wine from Keeling-Schaefer VineyardsAnother tasting room, Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards, will open in 2010. It used to be that you could taste their wines by appointment only at their Chiricahua Mountain foothills tasting room. Owners Rod Keeling and Jan Schaefer are hard at work on their downtown Willcox location. Visitors will be able to sample their Three Sisters Syrah, Two Reds Grenache, Best Friends Chardonnay and Rock Creek Rosé vintages.

The Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards tasting room is in the former Willcox Bank and Trust Building, which was built in 1917 and sits next to Willcox’s famous Rex Allen Museum on Railroad Avenue. The wine library will be housed in what used to be the bank vault.

Details: Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards, Railroad Avenue, Willcox, AZ, 520-824-2500, www.KeelingSchaeferVineyards.com.

For nearby accommodations or other attractions in the area, call the Willcox Chamber of Commerce at 1-520-384-2272.

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Valentine’s Day: spend it in Cochise County

Some of the hotels and bed & breakfast inns in Cochise County have some really sweetheart deals and romance packages this month in honor of Valentine’s Day. And, I just received word that Shadow Mountain Resort Restaurant will have a “Guest Chefs Night” on Saturday, Feb. 13. Spend the weekend in southeastern Arizona where Wyatt Earp strolled, the Chiricahua Mountains were formed and Buffalo Soldiers served our nation.

During Valentine’s weekend, Dos Cabezas Spirit and Nature Retreat, a small bed & breakfast inn just 14 miles from Willcox, is offering a “Country Valentine,” a one-night’s stay, dinner, a dozen roses, a box of chocolates and a gourmet breakfast the next morning. Choose either Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, Feb. 12, 13 or 14 2010. You can also give a gift certificate. The package includes complete privacy since the inn hosts only one party at a time. Cost is $249. Dinner will be arranged at your choice of Coronado Vineyards or El Ranchero Restaurant in Willcox.

To book your special weekend, email or call: Charmayne Samuelson at 520-384-6474 or send an e-mail.

In Sierra Vista, America’s Best Value Inn is offering a special for the Feb 12-14 weekend. Guests can stay for only $54 per night. Check with the hotel at 520-459-5380 for more details. Also in Sierra Vista, the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel is offering 30 percent off their room rates. So you can get a deal for $59-$69 per night. Ask for their Valentine’s Weekend specials. Call Suburban Extended Stay at 520-458-0540 for more information.

Bisbee‘s Letson Loft Hotel and Jonquil Motel are offering their “Sweetheart Specials” the entire month of February 2010. Treat your Sweetheart to an overnight or two at The Letson or the Jonquil Motel in the month of February and they’ll treat you to $15 OFF the Letson Loft’s rate or $10 off at the Jonquil. this offer is good on Sunday to Thursday night stays!  Be sure to mention the “Sweetheart Special” when you call or book online!  Rate will be adjusted upon check-in.

Guest Chefs Night–Bring your Valentine to Shadow Mountain Resort Restaurant for a satisfying dinner and entertainment. On Saturday, Feb. 13, you can get a half rack of baby back ribs, baked potato, beans, slaw and dessert for two for $15. Guest chefs Gary & Kathie Brauchla and Troy & Melanie Pope will cook. Entertainmetn will be provided by “Mac the Rounder” and Bob & Patty Shemwell.

Details: Dinner served from 6-8 p.m. with entertainment from 6-10 p.m. Cost is $15 per person. For more information, call 520-826-3417. Reservations encouraged by Feb. 11.

Enjoy the Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend.

If you’re looking for something to do that weekend, check out these events:

Feb. 12-14, 18th Annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry Music & Poetry Gathering, Sierra Vista

Once a year, Sierra Vista becomes a Western wonder of poetry, music, storytelling and song. More than 60 artists from all over the U.S. and Canada will converge on Sierra Vista for three major stage performances and free mini-concerts. Learn the history of the Arizona Territory through song and poetry.

Details: Various free events will take place throughout the weekend. The headline shows are 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 & 13 and 1 p.m. on Feb. 14. Performances are held at the Buena Performing Arts Center, 5225 Buena School Dr. in Sierra Vista. Admission is $6 for high school students, $16 for seniors and military and $18 for adults. For more information, call 520-417-6960 or visit www.cowboypoets.com.

Feb. 13, Chocolate Tasting, Bisbee

Serious chocoholics will melt for this fundraiser to benefit the city of Bisbee’s public library. A ticket buys you entrée to a spread of decadent chocolate desserts at Arizona’s oldest library, the Copper Queen. This is Valentines Day, after all, so pick up a to-go box of exquisite chocolates created in Bisbee kitchens to share later with your darling.

Details: 6 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Copper Queen Library, 6 Main St. in Bisbee. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information, call 520-432-4232 or  visit http://www.discoverbisbee.com.

Feb. 13, Wine and Chocolates, Willcox

Coronado Vineyards will pair their wines with chocolates on Saturday. It’s a treat you won’t want to miss!

Details: 10 a.m., Sat., Feb. 13 at Coronado Vineyards, 2909 E. Country Club Drive, Willcox, AZ. The cost is only $7 per person, which includes wine and chocolate. Call 520-384-2993 for more information.

Feb. 13, Fairbank Days

Visitors can enjoy tours, exhibits and talks. This month there will be live music, art exhibits, re-enactments of “the Great Fairbank Train Robbery” and tours of the Townsite and cemetery.

Details: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13 at Fairbank (on Highway 82 east of the San Pedro River between Tombstone and Whetstone). Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Info: 520-457-3062

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Dos Cabezas in Cochise County

Snow covered mountains in Cochise County

Dos Cabezas Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

I was in Willcox in Cochise County for a meeting today and took this photo  of the Dos Cabezas Mountains. “Dos Cabezas” means two heads in Spanish, which makes sense when you look at it. See the two heads?

The snow was left over from last week’s storm, and there was rain coming down in Willcox this morning. There will probably be more snow after this weather system passes through. That precipitation is good news for the farmers and wine growers in the region. Willcox is fertile ground where a lot of grapes are grown that eventually are made into Arizona wine. More on that on a later post.

Cheers!

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Sierra Vista in Phoenix Magazine

Elin Jeffords wrote a great 4-page article in the January issue of Phoenix Magazine. She went to Sierra Vista a while back and got to sample some of the ethnic cuisine that the city has. Fort Huachuca has been a particular influence in that area.

Want to find more about Sierra Vista? Visit the Sierra Vista travel website or contact the Visitor Center at 800-288-3861.

You can also find out about the surrounding area by visiting the Cochise County website or by requesting a free visitors guide.

Let us know if this info is helpful. Please leave a comment below or click on the Contact Us page at the top of this site.

Thanks for visiting!

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Old West towns in Cochise County

Mining fueled Tombstone's boom town days. Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

Gunslingers.  Apaches. Cowboys.  The Calvary and the Indian Wars. All of these are memories of the Old West.

Tombstone is the one of the most memorable towns of the Old West. It’s a legendary Arizona town because of the Hollywood films like Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell (plus Val Kilmer and Sam Elliott), and Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner (and a long list of others: Gene Hackman, Dennis Quaid, Catherine O’Hara and Isabella Rosselini to name a few).

The town of Tombstone is real; it’s not a fake town built just for the movie. And the incidents that happen in that town in 1881 inspired those movies (though Tombstone historians would tell you that Hollywood got lots of details wrong). Start a visit at the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park to find out what really happened at the O.K. Corral on that fateful day in October.

Make sure you plan more than just a day in Cochise County, because there’s plenty of Old West history to explore. Ghost towns line the San Pedro River, and with the nearby Chiricahua Mountains, the heartland of Cochise, Geronimo, and the Chiricahua Apache, you can really get a great overall view of what the Old West was really like.

Nearby, Sierra Vista has its share of Old West history as Fort Huachuca is the “Home of the Buffalo Soldiers.” The Sierra Vista Visitor Center created an audio driving tour CD to entertain and educate visitors on their drives in Cochise County. The late Rex Allen narrates the tour. He shares the area history, legends and myths. You can download a free copy of the CD, “How the West was Fun” by visiting the Sierra Vista website, or by calling 1-800-288-3861. Two drives are available: one from Tucson to Sierra Vista and one from Willcox to Sierra Vista.

Visit  the Old West and Ranching page of the county’s Cochise Origins website for an overview of the area’s history.

Have you explored any other Old West sites in Cochise County? Leave a comment below, and tell us about your experience!

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