Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ghost Town Trail

The gazebo in the City Park in Tombstone AZ.
Ok, we are going to go on a tour of Southern Arizona's Ghost Town Trail.  It starts in the worlds most famous Ghost town Tombstone, and ends in Wilcox, which is not necessarily a Ghost Town but still has some awesome Abandoned and preserved buildings.  All of the towns you visit have their own histories, thier own role to play in the Old West.

Tombstone, it is famous for a gunfight, and if it was not for that gunfight, who knows, it may have ended up a real Ghost town, I am not including too many photos of Tombstone at this time, it really deserves its own post, so this is just to get you oriented I guess.

The Tombstone Courthouse

A grave at the Tombstone Cemetary

The Judges escape route from the courtroom to the ground in the case of a very unpopular verdict, or a fire I guess.

Next on our stop will be Gleeson, a mining town which has lots of ruins and a few residents.  There is a museum there now, in the old Jail, however I can never seem to find it open.  It also has a well cared for cemetery. 

The window into the bar.

The grocery store.

A look into the old Gleeson Bar, the first time I ever went to Gleeson I had a soda here, it is shocking to see how much damage can be done between the weather and neglect over 10 years.

The School

Inside the School

Another shot inside of the bar, you can barely see to the left of the picture but there is a wonderful mural painted on the wall.

In a copy of one of the Arizona Highways Ghost Town Specials there is a picture of this Arch from the '80s, and it was still intact.

From Gleeson we will be heading to Courtland, there are many ruins off the road between the two, however I would recommend not exploring them because there are many mines throughout the area so it can be quite dangerous.

This is a look into the old Jail at Courtland, it has been destroyed throughout the years, but it is still standing off the road like a watchtower.

I believe this is the only window left on the building, the rest of slow but surely wandered away.

Peirce is waiting for you at the end of this dirt road, it is also a mining town, there are sure a lot of those in the area!!!  Peirce is owned by one women, she runs a pottery store out of one of the buildings, a furniture store out of another, lives in a third and rents out the fourth, though she does open up the fourth, the mercantile a few times a year for tours to raise money for various reasons.  She also owns the jail which she sells photographs of for magnets and other such things.

A glass gas pump still stands in front of the Mercantile.

Looking through the window of the furniture store to the wall of the Mercantile.

Old Mining equipment just hangs around.

This is now a pottery studio, would love to know what it was before.

From Peirce you have a choice on how you want to finish up the Trail, you can head North to Cochise, NorthEast to Dos Cabezas, or through the mountains to Fort Bowie.  All of these will eventually put you through to I-10.  Fort Bowie through Bowie, Dos Cabezas through Wilcox, and Cochise through either Wilcox or Dragoon.  The was I prefer to go is through Dos Cabezas and Wilcox, there are museums in both places, and lots to photograph along the way. 

So Onto Dos Cabezas we go, another mining town this one actually started out as a stop on the Butterflied Stage Line, because it had a very important water source, the Ewell Springs. 

This house has drawings all over it.

Closeup off some of the drawings.

Finally we come to Wilcox, now Wilcox is not a ghost town, it was a railroad town and is now a ranching town, but the actual city is losing residents as people move out into a more rural setting, due to its location right along I-10 it still has lots of gas stations and restaurants so it like Tombstones makes for a wonderful place to either start or end your adventure, and if you are like me and you travel with the kids, then Wilcox is a good place to let them out to play in the park and feed them etc.

This was a lucky find, we were driving into town from the first I-10 exit when you are heading East from Benson and we saw this boot and other oddities in an empty field, I had to stop and investigate, and it turned out to be an old mini golf course, how awesome and who would have thought.

This thing is just a bit spooky...

Next in Wilcox that caught my eye was an old drive though with there figures.

Sadly this is more and more of a common sight as you are driving down the old main street.

The train depot

Rex Allen Memorial
Well this is The Ghost Town Trail, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will endeavor to get pics up of some of the other optional end routes that can be taken in the next few months.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Elgin AZ part 1

Ok, so Elgin is not really a ghost town, but it has some amazing old buildings, some lived in and some not.  Elgin is a ranching community in Santa Cruz County, though now it is more well known for its vineyards.  However 100 years ago it needed all of the same things that any other town needed, so it had all the markets and such that you would find in a community of its size, now none of these are necessary since Sierra Vista is 30 minutes away and Sonita is maybe 15 from some parts of town.  This part of the post is for the abandoned building s of Elgin, of which I have only been able to find three, our next post on Elgin will be about the re-purposed buildings, the ones which were once abandoned and are no more, or the ones that are 100 years old and still in use, either way though Elgin is a great if widespread community that is definitely worth a visit along with its neighbors Sonita and Patagonia. 

The Old Gas Station at the place where Elgin Road splits to Upper and Lower.

A Close up of the sign, this was last a Shell!!!

I am not sure what this once was, other than two stories

There was a completely wooden trailer behind it.

There were still shelves in it.

This tree marks the driveway to the house below

This more of a set of building than one house, but it is very overgrown and while you could drive right up to it, I had my kids with me this trip, I try really hard to follow all laws when I have my kids with me, so no close-up shots at this time.

Some of the large amount of debris that was strewn around the house.

A Storm moved in on us while we were out photographing.

As always when out in the desert you need to be mindful of nature and what is around you.

This tree is in front of the original Elgin School

An Arizona Sunset is a perfect way to end a great day.

As I stated a little above, with the kids I actually follow the no trespassing signs, so the next time I go out I will try and get into some of the places that I only was able to catch the outside of, so who knows, maybe this will be a 3 part series, we will just have to see, I hope everyone had a great summer, and now that school is back in session I am hoping to be able to update more frequently.  Thanks for reading!!