Tombstone, AZ - Old Cochise County Courthouse, 1940
Old Cochise County Courthouse in Tombstone, Arizona. Photo by Russell Lee, 1940. Though Tombstone's most famous lawman, Virgil Earp, was long gone before the courthouse was built, it was called "home” to other interesting police officers, including Sheriff John Slaughter, who is credited with clearing Cochise county of outlaws, and the controversial Deputy Sheriff Burt Alford, who rode both sides of the fence of the law.
Like other popular mining settlements, when Tombstone's mining operations began to shut down, its population headed elsewhere. By 1929, Cochise County held a vote to move the county seat to Bisbee. Tombstone lost and in no time, plans were made to shut down the building.
By 1931, the last door in the building closed and the courthouse was abandoned. All useable objects were removed to the new county courthouse or sold at public auction. Empty and neglected, the once proud courthouse languished under the desert sun until the 1940’s when investors decided it would make a fine hotel. Though initial preparations and dismantling were made, the venture fell through, and once again the old courthouse was silent. Vintage photo restored by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
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