“The Town Comes Alive!”
By Ron Stewart
The Friends of the San Pedro River (FSPR) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host our annual Fairbank Day event on Saturday Oct. 25 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Come join us as we bring the town back to life! See the schedule of events.
Fairbank is a ghost town that started during the Tombstone silver boom. From 1881 to the 1960s, Fairbank was a local transportation hub, hosting at different times four train depots for four railroads. Today, Fairbank is an open-air museum with an FSPR visitor center open on the weekends.
Fairbank is located south of Benson, between Whetstone and Tombstone on Highway 82.
This year’s Fairbank Day will celebrate the town’s past, with focus on Fairbank’s most famous resident: lawman Jeff Milton. Milton was a Texas Ranger, police chief of El Paso, a law enforcement stock inspector in New Mexico, a Wells Fargo express agent (armed guard), and a United States customs agent in Arizona.
Jeff Milton is well known to the current Border Patrol as the first agent, issued badge number 1, now on display at the Tombstone Courthouse Museum. He lived in Fairbank for a time.
Local historian and re-enactor Van Fowers will perform a one-man show of Jeff Milton and his life at Fairbank Day.
The Tombstone Vigilantes will re-enact the famous train robbery of 1900 at Fairbank in which the Alvord-Stiles train robbery gang was foiled by then Wells-Fargo Express Agent Jeff Milton.
Camp Clovis. Activities at the “Camp” will include an exhibit on Murray Springs, the major Clovis Paleo-Indian site along the River, competitive atlatl/spear throwing, open to all, and a flint knapping demonstration.
Dr. Deni Seymour, a leading expert on San Pedro archeology, will provide a talk on the 1698 Battle of Gaybanipitea in which the San Pedro valley Sobaipuri Native Americans, led by El Coro, the Chorus, annihilated a raiding party of 500, Apaches and mission Indians from the El Paso area. Don’t miss hearing this fascinating story.
Here is our tentative schedule of events for October 25th:
– 8:00 Hike from Fairbank to Terrenate
– 9:00 Hike to the “South Fairbank” Southern Pacific depot site
All hikes leave from the Fairbank schoolhouse. Please wear a hat, walking shoes and bring water. The hike to Terrenate takes several hours, is moderately strenuous and entails two river crossings. The south Fairbank walk takes about two hours and is easy.
10:00 AM: Exhibits open
– 10:00-10:45 Walk to the town cemetery
– 10:00 Fairbank Reunion begins
– 11:00 – 11:20 First train robbery re-enactment
– 11:30 – 12:00 Jeff Milton one-man show
– 12:00 – 12:45 Tour of the historic town site
– 12:45 – 1:30 Lecture by Dr. Seymour
– 1:30 – 1:50 Second train robbery re-enactment
2:00 PM: Event ends – exhibits close
Fairbank Reunion. We will host a reunion of the “Fairbank Families.” Come meet some of the former residents and listen as they share their memories. These folks can truly say “I remember when…”
Fort Huachuca’s B Troop will have an encampment, complete with horses, equipment, the ladies auxiliary, ceremonies and a cannon (boom!).
Power from the Past will demonstrate antique farm implements, some steam-powered. Another exhibitor will show mountain man and black powder technology. Chris Schrager of the BLM will make adobe blocks.
Representatives from local attractions, including the Coronado National Forest, Amerind Foundation, Sierra Vista Historical Society, Friends of Brown Canyon Ranch, and others will be on site. The FSPR will have an exhibit on the wildlife of the River.
A youth scavenger hunt will be held to encourage fun interaction with all that the event has to offer.
We will have four local authors on hand: Betty Escapule, “The Five Fosters,” Charlie Escapule, “Growing up Around Tombstone,” Suzanne Arnold, “Hereford: The History of a Forgotten Frontier Town” and Joyce Aros, “The Cochise County Cowboys” and “Murdered on the Streets of Tombstone”. Dr. Seymour will also sign copies of her book on the battle, “A Fateful Day in 1698.”
Big Woody’s will be our food vendor and EarthPicks of Cochise County will provide live music. Picnic tables are available.
Parking at Fairbank is limited. Overflow parking will be available at Tombstone Territories RV Park, 2.5 miles west of Fairbank on Highway 82. A free shuttle will carry you to the town site and back between 9:00 and 3:00.
For more information on this event, please visit our website at www.sanpedroriver.org. or call (520) 508-4445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.