|The Willcox Depot|
I'm a sucker for authentic old western towns, unspoiled by tourism and kitschy re-creations of sites and events. Put a life-size diorama at an old fort site and I'm unimpressed. Do mock shoot-outs in the streets and I'm heading the other way. But leave the old buildings intact, and do tasteful markers and monuments - well, I get a bit weak at the knees.
That's Willcox. Still a cow-town with cow-haulers parked on the streets and the livestock auction grounds barely on the edge of town, it has that slow-paced and wonderful western feel. There aren't scads of out-of-state plates, nor do easterners clog the sidewalks. It's still genuine. Many of the old buildings are still intact, although perhaps the most famous building of all - what was once Brown's Headquarter's Saloon, where Warren Earp was shot to death - burned down in that most-Arizona-of-fates in 1940.
Willcox, part of the Sulphur Springs Valley in Cochise County, owes its origin to the Southern-Pacific railroad. The depot, shown above, was built in 1881 to service the area. It's the oldest extant redwood station in the country and has been lovingly maintained. To the left, partly obscured by the stop sign, you can see the old signal booth, complete with early phone numbers scratched into the metal on the door.
|At left, the site of the original Headquarter's Saloon, where Warren Earp was gunned down in 1900.|
|Willcox is cult-free, so don't hesitate to step inside. They mean "Cutlery."|
|An accent piece on a vintage building.|