Despite the Hollywood depictions of gambling and gun-slinging, Tombstone was a mining town. Another post on this site describes the Tombstone Mining District, an area of about 40 square miles with Tombstone near the north-west corner. The district had more than 100 active mines, but the most productive ones were in or near Tombstone. The Epitaph reported some interesting numbers, "…mining bullion from November 1, 1881, to January 1882 also indicated Tombstone had done well. The output for the Toughnut group, which consisted of the Contention or Western, Grand Central, Head Center, Vizina, Ingersoll, Sunset, and several other underdeveloped mines, was $6,488,361." At that time, the Grand Central employed 90 men, the Contention 102, Tombstone Mine 200, and the Vizina 50. The number of men employed at the principal mines throughout the Tombstone area totaled 637, and that did not include approximately one hundred more who did contract and assessment work on their own.
The map above locates mines and claims that were in or near Tombstone, many which can be seen during our daytime historical trolley tour. The yellow lines indicate the sides of the various mine claims. Mine shafts are marked with an "X" and three air vents are marked with a yellow dot.
- The source for this map was the Tombstone Mill and Mining Company Annual Report published in March 1883. The claim locations and names would have been accurate as of the day that report was published.
- After the 1883 annual report was published, many of the mines and claims were purchased and consolidated into larger companies, so a few of the mines on this map would not have existed even a year later.
- It sometimes surprises guests who are visiting Tombstone, but there were mine heads in the heart of Tombstone, not just out in the desert.
- The Goodenough Mine had two main workings that are described in the Annual Report: "This has been the most productive property of the Company, having yielded about 41,500 tons of rich are since it was first opened in 1879. The ore is found in two separate collections of ore bodies, one at each end of the claim, that at the East end being known as the Main works, and that at the West end being called the Combination and Number Six. In each place there were four large bonanzas." The underground Goodenough Mine Tour explores the west end of the mine.
- The main shaft for the Vizina Mine was located near where the trolley tour starts.
- The main shaft for the Mountain Maid Mine was located near the present "Four Deuces Saloon." The Earp brothers were part owners of the First North Extension of the Mountain Maid Mine.
- The main shaft of the Way Up Mine was located near where the city’s heavy equipment lot is located today. This lot is sometimes called the "lower lot" and guests often use it for RV parking during busy weekends. Very few people realize that the main Way Up shaft is visible under a black steel grate that looks like a storm drain cover near the edge of the parking lot.
- The largest producing mine in the district was the Grand Central. It was located immediately south of the Contention, just off this map.
- Three air vents are indicated on the map. While all mines had several vents, these three are covered with a metal "tent" that are easy to see from one of the roads.