Saturday, November 12, 2005

Anybody who knows me knows I love to visit cemeteries. I been to some of the best. Hell, me and Teddy had us a great time saying howdy to F. Scott Fitzgerald back in '81. So, I gotta tell you, Boot Hill in Tombstone was a little bit of a letdown. A cemetery that's 125-some years old shouldn't look so neat and clean. It's way too tidy for me to believe all the gunfighters are really interred there. Leo says they're buried a blcok or so away in an unmarked field. I'm tempted to think he's right. What self-respecting outlaw would let himself be buried right next to a goddamn souvenir stand?
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Of Course I'm right. Otherwise I wouldn't have said it, now would I? When I have an exact location, I'll let you know.
Is it the real graveyard? Yes and no. Yes, people are buried there, but no one knows for certain who's where. Here's an exerpt from a recent Arizona Republic article...

The original cemetery was laid out in 1878 on a different site, and was the burial place for the town's early pioneers until 1884, when it was moved to its current spot on a side hill north of downtown Tombstone. The new cemetery was not well-tended, and, after years of neglect, the graves became mere earthen clumps overgrown by weeds. After years of plain old hard work, a group of local citizens was able to preserve the main section.

But because most of the grave markers were made of wood, they rotted away long before the volunteers were able to save them. So today, new markers made of wood and painted yellow note a few of the burial sites. The majority, however, are designated with small steel plates, all the same size, all painted yellow.

The cemetery-savers also placed rocks in neat piles on top of every grave. As a result, the burial site of Eva Waters - she died of scarlet fever at age 3 - looks just like that of George Hand, who was killed by Indians. This does not make it a bad situation. It does, however, take away much of the anticipated ambience.

More improvements are nearing completion. A new building, which will contain a small snack bar and gift shop, at the entrance should be finished by the end of summer.
I always thought the original cemetary was on the west side of town out in the desert - turn west on Allen Street headed away from "downtown" and just keep going. I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure that's where it's at....
That's the original cemetery referenced in the article I quoted.
Well ...

I sense a photo mission in the making. When are we going?

I wanna see THE REAL THING.
Yes, ME TOO! I'm always up for an adventure. How 'bout February?
Sounds good.
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