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Fairbank to Tucson
Fairbank is a ghost town located ten miles west of the historic town of Tombstone, in southwestern Arizona. Its last residents had left the town by the late 1970s. Today, the town has a number of old and abandoned buildings that give you a glimpse into daily life in a 19th century frontier town.
History of Fairbank, AZ
The area around the town was first settled by 1880; by 1882 the town had taken shape, especially with the arrival of the railroad that year. It was formally founded as Fairbank, named after a Chicago investor who funded the railroad, on May 16, 1883. The same day the local post office too opened in the town.
Fairbank never became a large town – its highest population size was approximately 100 residents in the mid 1880s. However, as a junction that served the larger city of Tombstone, it was an important town through the 1880s. It contained not just a post office, but also a Wells Fargo office, a railroad depot, and a stage coach station.
With the closure of the mines in the nearby larger town of Tombstone in 1886 after the flooding of that year, Fairbank started to decline. Though the town continued as a center of the region’s social life well into the 1940s, the larger trend of its decline continued, and the town was abandoned by the late 1970s when the general store too closed, and the last residents left the town.
The town contains a number of attractions for you if you are interested in taking a peek into 19th century frontier America. Much of the town was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management in 1986, which has restored a number of buildings of historical importance. The following are some of such restored buildings:
• Adobe Commercial Building was the most important building of its time in the town. It was in this building that the post office first opened on the day of the incorporation of the town in 1883. It also housed a saloon and a general store through the years, and was one of the last buildings to be continuously used by the last residents of the town.
• The Montezuma Hotel was the main hotel of the town. Today, only its foundations remain; after it was torn down to make way for Highway 82.
• A few wooden houses that were constructed in the early 20th century and late 19th century also remain. One of the small wooden houses was constructed in 1885, and has an architectural style that was common in era.
• The old School house now serves as a museum and information center after it was restored by the Bureau of Land Management. Constructed out of gypsum block from nearby Douglas, AZ, it was last used as a school in the 1940s.
Other attractions in the town include the old cemetery to the north of the town, as well as the ruins of the Grand Central Mill. Fairbank is the perfect ghost town for you if you want to be transported to an era of railroads and frontier America. Located close to the historic town of Tombstone, it can be visited on car or by taking a shuttle from the larger towns.