San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Fairbank Historic Townsite

Fairbank is an abandoned "ghost" town located along the San Pedro river off State Highway 82. Its life as a town began with construction of a railroad in 1881, and it soon became an important depot as well as the closest railroad stop to Tombstone, then one of the largest western cities (15,000 in 1882). The town, however, was built on an old Mexican land grant, the San Juan de las Boquillas y Nogales, which was bought by the Boquillas Land and Cattle Company in 1901. The company evicted all potential land owners, but continued to lease the mercantile building and a few residences well into the 1970's.

The Bureau of Land Management acquired the land that was once the Mexican Land Grant in 1986 as part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Today the area is open for the public to enjoy. Take a self-guided tour around what was once a thriving boom-town of the wild west!

The Adobe Commercial Building, recently stabilized by the BLM, consisted of a general store, a post office and a saloon when Fairbank became the official name May 16, 1883. The name refers to N.K. Fairbank of Chicago, who helped finance the railroad.

The Montezuma Hotel was constructed in 1889. It was just south of the Adobe Commercial Building, where Hwy. 82 is now.

The Small House built in 1885 is an example of a once common house type. It was divided into two rooms.

The Schoolhouse, constructed in 1920 with gypsum block made in Douglas, AZ, was in use through the 1930's.

The House probably used by a schoolteacher, was built in 1925. Porches were originally screened and later infilled in 1954.

The Stable and Outhouses date to the early 1940's during a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project that operated out of Fairbank.

Be on the lookout for historic points of interest... but be aware that it is illegal to remove any historic (older than 50 years) artifacts from public lands. This includes bottles, cans, potsherd, arrowheads, etc. If in doubt, leave it where you found it and inform the appropriate land managing agency.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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