The Tombstone Bordello

Southern
Tombstone Bordello, Tombstone
By Noah Austin | Photograph by Steven Meckler

Many people arrive for a stay at the Tombstone Bordello. And almost all of them end up spend­ing the night.

“Some people are very excited about the fact that it’s rumored to be haunted,” owner Susan Sinsley says. “Others have canceled their reservations as soon as they walk in the door. But that’s only happened once or twice.”

Paranormal activity has drawn plenty of guests to this bed and breakfast, but the ghosts are just one aspect of a visitor’s trip back in time, Sinsley says: “We want [guests] to feel like they’re immersed in the 1880s and know a little about what life was like back then.”

That history lesson starts with the white clapboard building, which dates to 1881, the same year as the O.K. Corral gunfight. Back then, though, it was on the other side of town, in Tombstone’s red-light district. After being operated as a brothel during the heyday of silver mining, the structure was trucked to its current location in 1923 to save it from demolition when a school was built.

The relocated building, now on the west side of town, has changed hands several times since then. In the 1970s, a Tombstone judge and his wife bought the property and installed plumbing and electricity. Later, an English couple took over, adding rooms, a hot tub and an in-ground pool while preserving as much of the original structure as possible. After those owners returned to England, Sinsley, who was friendly with the couple and also owns the Stampede RV Park next door, bought the B&B.

The rooms’ names — Calico Queen, Diamond Annie, Shady Lady — honor the women who once plied their trade at the bordello. Most of the rooms have comfortable queen beds, with the exception of the two that retain their layout from 1881: the Soiled Dove, a small room with a full bed, and the Fallen Angel, with a king bed and a private balcony that overlooks Allen Street.

As you’d expect in this Wild West town, arriving guests are greeted by B&B staff in period dress — and some guests arrive in costumes themselves. Breakfast is served downstairs and might feature omelets or cowboy oatmeal, plus fresh fruit and baked goods. From there, guests can wander a short distance to the O.K. Corral or the other attractions in Tombstone.

Ghost hunters, though, might opt to stay put. Each room has a logbook where guests can record their interactions with the B&B’s benevolent spirits, who’ve been known to rearrange small items or brush against guests at night. “Those experiences that people have had, they’re never terrifying or terrible things,” Sinsley says. “[The ghosts] just want to be seen or known.”

They’re just part of the experience at the Tombstone Bordello. “We try to keep it as authentic as we possibly can,” Sinsley adds. “Other than, you know, not being in that business anymore.”

The Tombstone Bordello is located at 107 W. Allen Street in Tombstone. For more information, call 520-457-2394 or visit tombstonebordello.com.