Michiganders Own the ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ Location
What does Michigan have to do with the infamous 1881 “Gunfight at the OK Corral”? Keep reading...
To very briefly recap this historic October 26, 1881 event, it was the good guys against the bad guys. It was Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday against Billy Clanton, Ike Clanton, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Claiborne, and Wes Fuller. Old-timers still argue about which sides were 'good' and 'bad'.
The actual gunfight took place in a small lot on Fremont street, six doors down from the OK Corral. The city ordinance stated that no firearms were allowed within city limits and the Earps were out to disarm the Clanton gang, who called themselves “The Cowboys”.
After loading their guns, the Cowboys were talking about killing the Earps, and were overheard by witnesses as they made their way to the OK Corral.
To make a long story short, both sides met up just a ways down from the corral in a small lot – almost the size of an alley. The fight began when simultaneous shots were fired by Wyatt Earp and Billy Clanton. When the smoke cleared, the two McLaurys and Billy Clanton were dead.
But that wasn't the end of it.....seeking revenge, other Cowboys took it upon themselves to get the Earps. An assassination attempt on Virgil two months later left him wounded and maimed. Morgan Earp was shot and killed in March 1882 as he stood inside a saloon. Wyatt Earp survived his brothers and lived until January 1929 at the age of 80. Doc Holliday died of tuberculosis in 1887 at age 36.
So what does all this have to do with Michigan? It had nothing to do with Michigan...until 1964, when Detroit attorney Harold Love and other investors bought the OK Corral, along with other spots in Tombstone. They decided to buy the sites and take advantage of the tourist trade, historians, and anyone interested in Old West history. The Harold Love family still owns the OK Corral property, and occasionally stage the classic gunfight.
So if you ever get out to Tombstone, Arizona to visit this classic place of western legend, keep in mind you are basically standing on Michigan-owned property.
There is much more to read about this famous gunfight, and you can at History.com.