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Big Nose Kate's Saloon –


Haunted Place - Big Nose Kate's Saloon Building


417 East Allen Street
Tombstone, Arizona 85638


Big Nose Kate's Saloon Building can be found in the center of Allen Street, the main drag which runs through old town Tombstone, a traditional spot for the major hotel in a western 1880 town.


Tombstone was founded on a mesa between the Dragoon Mountains and Huachuca Mountains, after a scrappy prospector, Ed Schieffling found a rich deposit of silver. While Tombstone was a booming silver mine town, from 1880 through 1889, with a notorious and wild reputation, it's colorful history is what has given it a new lease on life, throughout the years, as a popular tourist attraction. One memorable event which took place here was the shoot out at the O.K. corral, between Wyatt Earp & his posse and the Clanton & McLaury gang.

The Big Nose Kate's Saloon Building opened in 1881, as a high class establishment, called The Grand Hotel, a classy place where the weary rested their heads, enjoyed fine dining and a good brew in the basement bar.  Local people, cowboys, miners and out of town travelers all enjoyed having a nice hotel in town. It probably hosted social events, like weddings as well. Wyatt and Virgil Earp, the Clantons and the McLaurys all stayed here.  The Clantons and the McLaurys had stayed here the night before three of them were killed at the shoot out at the O.K. corral, which occurred on Wednesday, October 26, 1881 around 3:00 pm.

The building was built on top of a silver mine shaft, which runs throughout under the town. There was a basement saloon, a basement bedroom, a first floor lobby and dining area and a second floor with an elegant parlor and 17 rooms for the guests as well. There was a handsome staircase leading up to the second floor and the guest rooms. The second floor and staircase leading up to it is gone, but a little balcony, open only to the ghosts, is there.

A business-oriented, prosperous ex-prostitute, known by the name of Big Nose Kate (Mary Katharine Harmony), owned The Grand Hotel. Originally from Texas, Kate saved Doc Holiday's life by busting him out of jail in Texas. Doc Holiday was eternally grateful to Kate, and they had a long lasting relationship, living together in Tombstone, though they never got married.

Now called Big Nose Kate's Saloon, since 1985, this establishment still offers great food and beer on tap for visitors and local residents on the first floor, which has a long, original  bar set-up, complete with mirror, along the side of the room, with tables scattered throughout the first floor room. The basement also has a bar and has a store called The Shaft, which sells "unique Southwestern" attire and other items of interest.

Lots of memorabilia hangs from the walls in this saloon. Tom and I ate dinner here, enjoying the authentic western atmosphere. Live music is performed on some nights. 



A handyman known as Swamper helped out as a janitor and was the all-round Mr. fix it guy at The Grand, in exchange for room and board.  He had a room, deep in the basement, where it was said that he tunneled an opening to the silver shaft below. It was said that he had quite a silver cache, which he had hidden somewhere in the hotel building.

Cowboys, locals, travelers and miners used to hang out and enjoy a brew or two and hard stuff as well, in the saloon bar in the basement.


An entity of a man, called Felix by the staff, dressed in 1880s attire is seen wandering around the halls and rooms of the building, perhaps keeping an eye on his silver, while he still helps out the living, possibly getting some chuckles along the way.

A nicely dressed female entity, dressed in 1880s attire, with shoulder-length ringlets, holding a parasol has been spotted enjoying the musical entertainment from the balcony.

A male entity is seen sitting at the bar in the basement, wearing a long-sleeved shirt.

Entities dressed as 1880s cowboys have been seen standing in doorways and sitting at both the basement bar and the bar on the first floor.

Two mannequins which were placed in the closed off balcony have been known to be moved by an unseen presence, getting its chuckles by scaring the living.

After hours, the owner, his brother and friends were sitting at a table, when the female mannequin suddenly took a header off the balcony to the floor below. The male mannequin then turned its head. The living made a hasty retreat, leaving the first floor to the entities.

Glasses on the bars and tables have been known to move by themselves.

Various items and objects have the tendency to move around the building by themselves.

Doors and cupboards open by themselves. Trash can lids lift themselves off the cans, drop to the floor and roll around by themselves.

People have experienced extremely cold spots and gusts of cold wind in various areas of the building.

Booted footsteps and jingling spurs are heard on the stairs from the first floor to the basement and in the first floor saloon.

Witnesses have heard disembodied voices coming from the basement.

Another male entity is protective of female employees, sort of a spectral bouncer.

One female employee noticed two men who had had too much to drink and were bothering other patrons. She decided to go over and ask them to leave. As she stood before them, she felt a strong pressure of a unseen male presence's hand on her shoulder. The drunks looked at the spot above her shoulder, seeing someone who wasn't visible to the woman and left quickly.

 A playful, cheeky entity hangs out on the main floor and basement. Some say it is Felix.

A male unseen presence likes to pinch the waitresses, pull on their bows and hide their pens.

Likes to push female employees on the lower part of the staircase which leads to the basement.

Likes to call their names.


Oh yes indeed!

There are many eye witness accounts, and paranormal investigations have come up with some interesting results. Southwest Ghosthunters Assoc. conducted two such investigations.







Arizona Ghost Stories
by Antonio R. Garcez
pages 124-134
Red Rabbit Press

Haunted Places: The National Directory
by Dennis William Hauck
pg. 22
Penguin Books