History -- all about AZ 80

About the Arizona 80 Foundation

Drive the Broadway of the Americas -- from Interstate 10 at Benson down to Douglas on the US-Mexico border. 

Our Land of Legends -- where Cochise and later on, Geronimo roamed, raiding the ranches, fighting the Buffalo Soldiers and Mexican Army. Each of our small towns is pure Western history. Start with Benson, and imagine the Southern Pacific coming through in 1880 and suddenly it was possible to rapidly bring heavy mining equipment to Tombstone, just 25 miles away. Tombstone was a wild silver boom town for a few years, and then they found huge deposits of copper another 25 miles south in Bisbee. Huge! Check out the Lavender Pit, and delight in this historic town with all their little houses crazy-glued on the canyon's steep slopes. The copper went down to the smelters in Douglas for many years, and then off on the railroad to help electrify a growing nation. America's first international airport is here too. Amelia Earhart flew in, staying at the Gadsden Hotel, with its beautiful marble lobby and large Tiffany stained-glass windows. And a (sshh) secret tunnel in the basement that went all the way to Mexico, back in Prohibition!

Arizona's historic Highway 80 is now a National Historic Highway. Come explore this magic land, with whispers of the past everywhere, and a sky so clear and blue you won't want to ever return home. Not that you have to -- Benson alone has 1800 RV spaces, and real estate in Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas is delightfully inexpensive. See you soon!
Arizona Highway 80 city websites --
Benson -- https://www.bensonvisitorcenter.com/
Tombstone -- https://DiscoverTombstone.com ...THE site for local information 
and   http://gotombstone.org/ ...for international visitors
Bisbee -- https://www.discoverbisbee.com/
Douglas -- https://www.douglasaz.gov/ and, because we all love the place, https://thegadsdenhotel.com/

      

But there's more, so much more, just across the border in the enchanting Sonoran cities of Agua Prieta, Naco, Cananea, and Nacozari. Remember to bring your passport, and, sorry, no guns or ammunition.

See http://visitsonora.mx/en/home/ ...enjoy!

 

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Benson -- best local info site: https://www.bensonvisitorcenter.com/
 

 

Benson Maps

Maps are hi-res JPGs, pinch-out (spread) to enlarge... and they will also print to fill one sheet of paper.

 

(click for hi-res map JPG)

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Tombstone, Arizona Territory! A silver boomtown since prospector Ed Schieffelin's huge strikes in 1878, Tombstone is internationally known these days for Western legends like Wyatt Earp and “Doc” Holliday -- famous after the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral. 

An invite from the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce: "Today, you can walk where Wyatt Earp walked, see where the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place, visit American Old West historical places such as the Tombstone Courthouse, Bird Cage Theatre, and much much more. Tombstone is proud of its American Old West history - and love to entertain visitors with reenactments, celebrations, and visual displays that depicit the rich history that made Tombstone "The Town Too Tough To Die."

The city's Discover Tombstone website has all sorts of useful information.

And LOTS of local information: Tombstone Chamber of Commerce

Another great local info site: http://TombstoneWeb.com/

 

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Tombstone Maps

Maps are hi-res JPGs, pinch-out (spread) to enlarge... and they will also print to fill one sheet of paper.

 

1881 Tombstone Mining Claims Map
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1882 Street Map
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1885 Tombstone Street Map

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In 1877, a reconnaissance detail of U.S. army scouts and cavalrymen was sent to the Mule Mountains to search the area for renegade Apaches. What civilian tracker Jack Dunn found instead were signs of mineralization indicating the presence of lead, copper and possibly silver. The filing of this claim, and a multitude of others sent prospectors and speculators scurrying to the Mule Mountains in hopes of striking it rich. Numerous ore bodies were located, and Bisbee soon became known as the "Queen of the Copper Camps."

Today, Bisbee is known as a culturally rich community that includes an active and varied population. Bisbee retains its welcoming spirit, offering visitors a rich mix of art, music, history, architecture, outdoor activities, dining and nightlife. 
The Smithsonian-affiliated Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum has welcomed, educated and entertained more than a half-million visitors over recent decades. Featured among its exhibits is "Bisbee: Urban Outpost on the Frontier", an in-depth look at the lives of the miners and settlers of this unique area of the southwest. And the world-famous Queen Mine Tour offers a fascinating, up-close experience of the underground world of the miners who carved their community and a living out of bedrock.

Best local info site: https://www.DiscoverBisbee.com/

 

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The town of Douglas is a small, charming border community about 2 hours south of Tucson. With a population of 15,000, Douglas was recently dubbed one of the nation’s best “micropolitan” areas with a growing economy and wonderful amenities. Douglas’ history dates back to the 1500’s when Cabeza de Vaca established a route from Mexico. The town is full of history and offers a wealth of attractions for birders, hikers, and shoppers. Streets are lined with historic buildings including the Gadsden Hotel and the Grand Theatre. There are multiple hiking trails and outdoor experiences, and explore some of the cultures at Church Square which was in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the only city block in the world with a different church on each corner.  

Best local info site: https://www.douglasaz.gov/

 

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More! Mexico, Rodeo, and Portal!

Agua Prieta is just across the border from Douglas. But the real secret sweet spot is the little town of Naco, a few miles to the west of AP, with NO border crossing delays! Perfect for a run to la pharmacia (drugstore).

On the US side, if you keep driving on old AZ 80 past Douglas, the road swings to the northeast. Near the old ghost town of Apache, but before you get to Rodeo just across the New Mexico line, you'll come to the Geronimo Surrender Monument. Actually, this was the second time he surrendered... and the actual site is about a mile to the east, on private land. 

Near Rodeo NM, you'll find the small town of Portal with another excellent cafe, and the amazing magnificent astounding Cave Creek Canyon, managed by the US Forest Service. Think Yosemite, except it it uncrowded and drop-dead beautiful for dry camping. Website

And from here you are off to Lordsburg, and then maybe a few days later, back on the east coast where US 80 began, years ago. But that's a whole other story!

 

Arizona's Cochise County is the last of the True West. Lawless, with train robberies until 1922. Startlingly beautiful, with high desert turning emerald green with the cooling monsoon rainshowers of July and August. Now, the Foundation is all about the old US 80 highway... but it wouldn't be fair to end this without a mention of the County itself. Spectacular!

Cochise County Map
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1889 Cochise County Map
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