Opening on Christmas 1881, the Bird Cage never closed until 1889 as Tombstone became a ghost town when water seeped into the mines. It was considered the meanest establishment in the town, with 26 reputed killings.
The New York Times called it the "wildest, wickedness night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast."
Much of the Bird Cage's interior remains intact; the best preserved historical site in Tombstone. (The original O.K. Corral was destroyed in a 1882 fire.)
Many well known artists appeared on stage at the Birdcage including Lotta Crabtree, Eddie Foy, Lillie Langtree and Lola Montez.
I own the original of this photo; a miniature, one third the size of a post card. It is badly defaced, blotched and stained. It took many, many hours to digitally restore it.
@2009 David Lee Guss Birdcage Theater, Tombstone, Arizona, ca.1934-2008