By the 1930’s, Tombstone was dying. The mining boomtown of the 1880’s was long gone. In 1882, Tombstone residents numbered between 6,000 and 7,000 and the population was still growing … FAST. By the time these photographs were taken, the nation was in a deep Depression, and Tombstone was almost a ghost town.
But in 1955, the hugely popular TV series The Life & Times of Wyatt Earp starring Hugh O’Brian (1955-1962) revived an interest in the Town To Tough To Die.
Since then, a string of Westerns have renewed the old town, including:
1993. Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
1994. Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner.
Today, the population of Tombstone is about 1,600 and most of the residents are occupied, in one way or another, with entertaining tourists. Generally, they do a splendid job.
These 1930’s photographs were taken by Frederick Nichols for the Historic American Buildings Survey and are now preserved in the Library of Congress.
For more Ghost Towns in the area see our page “Ghost Towns and Tours of Southern Arizona” listing stories and sites around Southern Arizona.