Cochise

 

The tour begins at 10:00 AM at the Cochise Hotel, in Cochise, Arizona.

 

The Cochise Hotel is the oldest hotel in the state of Arizona that is still in operation.

 

Cochise began as a railroad camp in the 1880s, when the Southern Pacific was laying tracks from Willcox to Tucson. Once the tracks were laid, Cochise became an important water and coal stop for the railroad.

 

In its heyday, Cochise boasted a population of 3,000 citizens.

 

The Oldest Homestead House in SE Arizona.

 

Shortly after the Civil War, Leonidas Thompson and his family came west and homesteaded this property. Leonidas' daughter Minnie was married to Thomas White. They first lived together on this property in a lean-to, and began to farm.

 

A few years later,  they bought this frame house in Willcox and had it moved to this location by horse and sled. Mr. Thompson's initials can still be seen on the front porch.

 

Originally, there was a staircase on the inside of the house, as well as the one on the outside. The inside staircase was torn out, but others who have lived here can tell of many games of chase played by youngsters as they ran up the inside set of stairs and down the outside stairs.

Pearce Cemetery

 

The Pearce Cemetery has been in use since 1887, and is still in use today.

 

One of the "residents" is a Civil War Veteran, Sgt. George Hart Platt, who served as Lincoln's Bodyguard.

 

Another famous resident of the Pearce Cemetery is Antonio Palma Sr 1883-1927. Antonio was a champion driller for the Commonwealth Mine in Pearce. This was proved during a competition in 1920. The rock he drilled sits at the entrance to the cemetery, and is the one in the photo.

 

The Pearce Cemetery sits on 40 acres, just west of Pearce.

 

 

Pearce Jail

 

The Pearce Jail was constructed in 1915 at a cost of about $600.00.The two-room jail is made of concrete poured over rebar. The 10 inch thick walls and ceiling, along with its heavy iron doors, made sure that the "guests" were well secured. There were a few windows in each of the two cells, which were divided by a solid wall of concrete. The windows were mere slits--about six inches tall and 12 inches wide--with one inch iron bars spaced about every two inches. Each cell also had a toilet and sink and most likely, a wood burning stove stood in the center of each cell.

 

The jail was used up until about 1938. It stood empty for many years, the property it sat on exchanged hands several times, and it became someone's storage room.

 

Eventually, the land that the jail sat on was donated to the Old Pearce Preservation Association, but not the one and only key that opened both cell doors.

 

In 2015, expert locksmiths were called upon, and took up the challenge of making a new key. In August 2015, the Pearce Jail was reopened for the first time in many years, and the process of cleaning it out began.

 

Courtland

 

The original  Courtland Jail was an unused mine tunnel with a wooden door. For the most part, it served its purpose until one of the "guests" thought he could break out by piling his mattress and blankets against the door and lighting them on fire, with intentions of burning the door down. The resulting fumes made him pass out. Fortunately, the sheriff arrived to take him to breakfast and once he was out in the open air, revived.

 

The Courtland Jail was built in 1909 and constructed of poured concrete. The cells, window bars, doors and shutters came from the old jail in Bisbee. In 1938, when the Courtland Jail was no longer needed, those were removed and used for the new jail in Benson

Gleeson

 

The Gleeson Jail was built in 1910, by the same company that built the Courtland Jail, and is an exact duplicate.

 

The original Gleeson Jail was a large oak tree, which still stands behind Bono's store today. A thick cable was secured around the tree's trunk, and prisoners were then chained to to the cable.

 

The second Gleeson Jail was a wood shack with a tin roof that stood in front of the current jail. It was an improvement over being chained to the tree, but ambitious prisoners could push the tin roof up and make their escape.

 

Today, the Gleeson Jail is a wonderful museum filled with newspaper articles, photos and memorabilia of Gleeson's days as a mining boom town.

 

 

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