Local Southern Arizona History

Fairbank Ghost Town North of Tombstone

Fairbank Ghost Town North of Tombstone


Southern Arizona has a vibrant local history. It starts in pre-history about 12,000 years ago with Clovis man and Woolly Mammoths, evidence of which is now found in the San Pedro River Nature Conservation Area.

Then, 500 years ago, Coronado's Spanish Conquistadors came in search of gold. Along their route they met many Native Americans, whose ancestors, including the Hohokam, lived here for 4,000 years.

Almost 150 years ago the Apache Wars started in what is now Cochise County southeast of Tucson. It was then that our Southern Arizona history began to be written in earnest. The Apaches fought against the encroachment of Anglos & Mexicans who wanted their land for its rich pastures and bountiful mineral wealth. Mining boom towns were erected in a matter of weeks. And they were abandoned just a quickly when the mines played out.

Most of these mining boom towns are now ghost towns. They dot the vast Southern Arizona landscape. Along with the boom towns came violent conflicts, most often the result of greed, arrogance, and young men overdosing on testosterone and alcohol.

All of this and so much more has been woven into our local histories, such as the Gunfight Near The OK Corral; the Earp Vendetta Ride; the Bisbee Massacre; and the Camp Grant Massacre.

In the following articles you will find interesting "Local" history about a by-gone time & place. These are our picks of True West stories, some obscure, but all rewarding.

Announcing Southern Arizona Guide’s Tucson History Tour!

George Hand, early Tucson saloonkeeper.

Please Join Me on Sunday, March 1, 2015 for Southern Arizona Guide’s Tucson History & Libation Tour: A walkabout the Old Pueblo as saloon owner George Hand lived it in the 1870’s. I’m Jim Gressinger, travel writer, photographer, and publisher of Southern Arizona Guide. I will be your guide for … Continue reading

Taste Of Tucson Downtown: A Food, Culture, and History Tour.

A chili relleno dish at La Cocina Cantina, Tucson AZ

In January 2015, I had the pleasure of a unique Downtown Tucson food, culture, and history tour. These tours are scheduled Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays from 1:00-4:30 PM. Our tour had 15 participants, including myself; lasted slightly more than 3 hours, and covered 2.5 miles both walking and riding the … Continue reading

Southern Arizona Ghost Town Tour: January 2015

Gleeson Jail

In the Fall of 2014, Southern Arizona Guide became more than just a website with all of its Dining Reviews and recommended Things To See and Do. We started offering tours to some of the most interesting and historical places in the American Southwest. This slideshow is about our first … Continue reading

Directions To Dragoon Springs Stage Station

Dragoon Springs Stage Station sign

Note: A high-clearance vehicle is advised. From Downtown Tucson, take I-10 east about an hour and exit Dragoon Road (Exit 318) Turn right (south) on Dragoon Road; continue 3.5 miles (past the entrance of the Amerind) to the town of Dragoon. You will cross several cattle guards. If you come … Continue reading

In Their Own Words: Cochise & The People Who Knew Him!

West Side of Dragoon Mountains

Unlike the many images we have of Geronimo today, no photograph of Cochise exists. We only know what he looked like from contemporary written accounts; mostly American and Mexican. These we owe to the very few people of European descent who lived to tell about their close encounter with the … Continue reading

An Adventure To Council Rocks Near Cochise Stronghold!

West Side of Cochise Stronghold

Southern Arizona is peppered with places of major historical importance. Many are, in one way or another, related to the Apache Wars that raged throughout Southern Arizona from 1861 to 1886. In terms of historical significance, I can’t think of any place more important than Council Rocks, the most likely … Continue reading

The Death Of Chiricahua Chief Cochise

Cochise Stronghold

Part IV – This is the fourth in our series about the great Chiricahua chief, Cochise, and his role in the fascinating history of Southern Arizona. On October 30, 1876, President U.S. Grant signed an executive order unilaterally dissolving the Chiricahua Apache Indian Reservation in present-day Cochise County, in the far … Continue reading

Cochise and the Battles of Dragoon Springs and Apache Pass

Painting of the Battle of Apache Pass by Joe Beler

Part II – This is the second in a series on the great Chiricahua Chief, Cochise, and his part in the fascinating history of Southern Arizona. For the First Part in the series, Please see the post on Cochise Becomes a “Reservation Indian”. Confederate Soldiers Occupy Tucson In February 1862, … Continue reading