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Fairbank and Bisbee, AZ

Just down the road from our campsite is one of the better-preserved ghost towns of southern Arizona, a town called Fairbank. It was a stop along the railroad line, complete with school, hotel, miner's homes, a post office, and more.

Fairbank ghost town.jpg

The rail line has long been abandoned, and now Fairbank is just a patch along the San Pedro river. The schoolhouse remains, converted into a one-room museum, and a couple of other buildings in decrepit shape. Some interpretive signs are there, along with trails to the river, the old stamp mill, and Fairbank cemetery.

Fairbank cemetary.jpg

The cemetery is a half-mile walk from town. An old story is told which claims that bodies bound for the cemetery would be floated down the San Pedro River, but it's probably not true. We took the hike to check it out, and it turned out to be a hilltop with a panoramic view, strewn with rock-covered graves. Few of the graves are marked, but they can be easily identified by the piles of stones and an occasional wood cross. Only a couple have elaborate metal surrounds, like the one above.

The cemetery was surprisingly eery. I think it was the closely-spaced, unmarked graves. Each one gives the impression of someone resting only inches below the surface, and the entire place is sort of lonely. We've been in many graveyards in New England that are much older than this one (dating from the late 1800s through about 1920), but this one definitely wins the prize for the spookiness. I've posted more photos on our Flickr photo album.

Google Earth location of Fairbank Cemetery

Twenty or thirty miles down the road, past Tombstone, is the old copper mining town of Bisbee. The copper is all played out, and now the town is known as an artists community. Bisbee is known to us for two reasons: It's Eleanor's favorite place to buy beads, and it's the home of The Shady Dell RV Park. The Shady Dell is a sort of trailer motel where you can rent a 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s vintage trailer by the night. We stopped in to check it out and talk to Ken, who runs the place.

Shady Dell Ken.jpg
Ken leaning against a "Flxible" bus

The Shady Dell is for sale, if you want to own a very funky trailer park with a collection of restored trailers. Ken would like to stay on and continue to manage it, so it's a great opportunity for a vintage trailer nut who wants to be an absentee owner. Hmmm... wish I had the money.

Google Earth location of The Shady Dell

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