Boot Hill & Botched Borders

Boot Hill was established in 1878 according to this monument and was closed just six years later in 1884 because it was full; one hundred seventy four are identified in a brochure guide–admittance is $3.   It was a segregated cemetery with different quarters for the normally deceased, bad hombres, Chinese (Row 10) and Jews.  It took Judge C. Lawrence Huerta, a full blooded Yaqui Indian to get the Jewish quarter recognized after 100 years of disrepair–in 1983.

This is the main street of Tombstone today–many of these buildings stood 140 years ago when the shootout at OK Corral occurred.  Killed in this shootout were Billy Clanton, and Tom & Frank McLaury at the hands of the Earp Brothers and “Doc” Holliday.

 

They lie only three feet below the ground (hard-pan prevents deeper burial) so rocks are piled on graves to keep coyotes from rearranging things.

About 75 of these graves are marked with crosses with the word “unknown.”  Others like John Hickey, 1879 read:  “Hicks was shot by Jeremiah McCormick, superintendent of the Lucky Cuss Mine.  A saloon brawl.”  Another was Geo. Johnson “Hanged by Mistake.”  He innocently bought a stolen horse and suffered the consequences.  The classic epitaph: “Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les, no more.” marks Lester Moore’s grave.  Read here for more Boot Hill history.

Bumbling idiots in Washington have now kept our National Parks closed for 34 days so I’m sitting on my heels here in Tucson at the doorstep of Saguaro National Park.  I did visit the Sonoran Desert Museum which is world class.  The Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) are the defining plants in the Sonoran Desert and are generally a protected species.  They grow to 40+’ and live over 100 years.  Weighing several tons, it is mystifying that they don’t topple over.

Another beautiful NPS unit unable to be accessed is Casa Grande Ruins, just southeast of Phoenix.

“Park Closed”

Not only is Saguaro and Case Grande Ruins closed, but so is Tumacacori National Historical Monument (Tumacacori rhymes with quackery) an old Spanish mission occupying three properties (two of which are protected).  I talked with the ranger who is keeping an eye on things; he receives a check every two weeks with zeroes.

This Park unit is located about half way between Tucson and Nogales in southern Arizona on Interstate 19.

Closed.

I capture the dome and old mission buildings over the wall.  Speaking of walls…….

After my presentation to the Tucson Historical Society in Green Valley, I received a tour of the I-19 corridor down to Tubac (pronounced Tubeck); later driving all the way to Nogales–where I hung out in 1978 while working for the Indian Health Service.  We passed dozens of huge trucks hauling Caterpillar earth movers and huge military trucks–they are all heading down to Nogales to build the wall.  Forget that they are not yet funded–let’s waste some more taxpayers dollars.  Here, about 25 miles north of the Mexican border is another border check-point.  After driving through this (I was racially profiled to pass right on through), I noted two Homeland Security officers chasing a person under the next freeway overpass….    I think we should eliminate all borders with both Canada and Mexico and send down a caravan of 25,000 American RV campers with yapping poodle dogs (and mac & cheese dinners).  That’ll teach ’em.

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