Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Bird Cage

When we were in Tombstone, Arizona on our way back from Bisbee, we took a peek inside the famous Birdcage Theatre. While Tombstone screams out tourist trap with fake cowboys, stagecoach rides, and souvenir stores, this building is one of the more authentic sites in the town.

The Bird Cage Theatre was a combination theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that operated from 1881 to 1889 in Tombstone, Arizona at the heyday of the town's silver boom. At that time, it was known as one of the wildest night spots in the country.

The name was derived from the 14 cages located on two balconies on either side of the main room. The cages had drapes that were closed while prostitutes were with customers. The main room below included a stage and orchestra pit where live shows were performed.

I love the exterior colors of the building.

This old painting is Fatima, one of the Bird Cage performers.

The lobby held enough artifacts to keep me busy for awhile.

Some photos of the famous customers, including Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, and Diamond Jim Brady, who passed through the Bird Cage.

We didn't get beyond the lobby with the bar since tours and performances weren't scheduled until later in the day.

While I'm not really into watching Western saloon variety shows, I wish there'd been a performance scheduled at the time so we could have toured the rest of the building!


Jana said...

That is a cool building/museum. Funny enough, I rented 'Tombstone' yesterday AND a hooker almost walked into my car. It's a theme!!

drgeo said...

Hmm. Nothing sexier than 109 degrees and a cage covered by velveteen drapes! And no air conditioning. I wonder what Fatima's real name was-- Gertrude, Myrtle?

Life's a Beach! said...

Jana, I think it's a sign! drgeo, Tombstone isn't quite as hot as the Phoenix area, but still . . . you have a point! (Although I imagine the cowboys definitely smelled worse than the prostitutes!)

krisla said...

Amazing history. wow--enjoyable reading; I also can't belive 'Fatima' (an Arabic name) would have performed there! would love to see the place sometime...

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