No trip to Tombstone Arizona is complete without a visit to Boothill Graveyard. Originally called “The Tombstone Cemetery” in 1878, it was the burial-place for the town’s residents until 1884. By the 1920’s the cemetery had fallen into ruin until the citizens of Tombstone, using early burial records restored it to what it is now.

(You can read my article about the City of Tombstone here and the Ghost Town Trail here)

boothill graveyard
 

They died with their boots on…

Ordinary residents, victims, hangings, suicides and outlaws – including the Clanton/McLaury gang of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral – are all buried here side-by-side. There are approximately 250 people buried here and although it may seem a bit morbid to visit a graveyard, it is a glimpse into history and totally worth the 30 min+ stop.

boothill graveyard
 
It is free to visit the cemetery but it is well worth purchasing the guidebook ($3) that lists the names, dates, and personal history/facts of those that are buried here.

If you have time, and the caretaker is not busy…strike up a conversation with him. He is very friendly and is very willing to share some stories.

One story he shared with me was of the last burial at Boothill. Apparently, a man named Glen Will worked the rodeo as Bronco Bill and was a big western fan. Upon his death in 1953, his last request was to go back to Tombstone, his family had him cremated and shipped his ashes to the City of Tombstone C.O.D with no return address where they sat on a shelf for a period of time. City Hall didn’t know what to do with the ashes and after a few years, city council decided to honour his wishes and bury him in the graveyard.

One last thing I should mention is that there are stories of a few ghosts wandering about. I personally didn’t see anything, nor did I “accidentally” photograph anything but it wouldn’t surprise me as quite a few of the people buried here died violent deaths…

Tips:

  • Open from 7:30 am until dusk.
  • There is very little shade in the graveyard and it can get quite hot in the sun.
  • Watch your footing as it is not paved and is all sand and rock.
  • Be careful of the cacti and the crucifixion thorns throughout the graveyard.
  • Show respect, you are in a graveyard after all.
  • The rest rooms here are immaculate.

Here are some photos from our time visiting Boothill Graveyard

boothill graveyard
 
boothill graveyard
 
boothill graveyard
 
boothill graveyard
 

Have you ever visited a historical cemetery before?