Located at the west end of the restored Train Depot is the Transportation Museum. I know. When I first heard about it I wasn’t in any hurry to go either.
But there is no way to understand the history of Tucson until you witness the incredible impact the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad had on, what was then (1880), a tiny (mostly) Mexican village. This museum is small, free, and worthwhile. Donations are welcome.
This is also the place where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday dispatched Frank Stilwell, suspected of the ambush of Marshal Virgil Earp and the assassination of Marshal Morgan Earp. They found his bullet-ridden body near where life-size statues of Wyatt and Doc stand today. (For more on this incident, go to Earp Vendetta Ride.)
Inside the train depot, (Amtrak) you will see replicas of three Maynard Dixon murals. Maynard Dixon was a Western artist of considerable note. Rumor is, the real ones are under wraps at the Tucson Museum of Art.
Another reason to visit the Transportation Museum is at the other end of the Depot: Maynard’s Market & Kitchen. Very good food; indoor or patio dining. For ambiance, you get the occasional deafening roar of a hundred-car freight train passing a few yards from your table. The ground shakes. The tables rock ‘n roll. Quite exciting!
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum
14 N. Toole Ave, Tucson
To learn about more worthwhile museums in Tucson, whether art, history, science, or just fun, see our list of the Best Museums here.