United Country Layne Properties

Pearce/Sunsites Arizona & Cochise County: Area History

Nearby Tombstone attests to the national fame of Cochise County as a historic
haven for outlaws and famed lawmen in the late 1800s.

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Pearce derived its name from John Pearce, a rancher, who struck gold here in 1894. For a time his mine produced more gold than any other mine in the Southwest. Eventually Pearce sold his mining claim and peak mine production was reached in 1896. Even so, the mine was worked until 1904 when shaft cave-ins forced it to be shut down. Although it reopened a year later, the boom was over.
       
Cochise County was named after the famed Apache Chief "Cochise." This was the homeland of the Chiricahua Apache until they were relocated to Florida and then eventually to Oklahoma and New Mexico. Cochise Stronghold, in the Dragoon Mountains, is a part of the national forest and contains the lost burial site of Cochise.
  
The rugged stronghold shows why soldiers stationed at Fort Bowie, Fort Huachuca and the Butterfield Stage stop found the Apache Indians so elusive. And, of course, a trip to Boot Hill in Tombstone attests to the national fame of Cochise County as a historic haven for outlaws and famed lawmen in the late 1800s.
   
About 2 miles south of Sunsites is the old mining town of Pearce, founded in 1893 and the last of Arizona's gold and silver stampede towns. The Commonwealth Mine made Pearce a boomtown with a population of 3,500. The mine at the time produced more gold than any other mine in the Southwest.
 
   
Although Pearce is considered a ghost town, there are still several families living there. The original school is in use today, with recent additions. A scattering of deteriorating adobe and frame buildings remain in Pearce as well as the old cemetery.  Ghost Town Trail begins at Pearce and winds its way through the ghostly remains of Courtland and Gleeson, then on to Tombstone, "the town too tough to die."
    
Now, the area draws sightseers, campers, hikers, nature lovers, artists and photographers. Many movies have been filmed in and around this area.
 
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United Country Layne Properties - Pearce / Sunsites Arizona
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