Arizona November 28, 2016
These 10 Places In Arizona Will Show You What Life On The Frontier Was Like
I don’t know about you but I grew up on a steady diet of Western films and I always wondered what life would have been like in Arizona’s territorial days (1863-1912). It was a time of major change in the region: the land was purchased from Mexico, there was an influx of American settlers, and Indigenous people saw their way of life change drastically. If you were ever curious to learn more about what this lifestyle was like more than a century ago, you might want to check out these fascinating places in Arizona where you can learn about frontier life right here.
1. Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, Bisbee
Were you ever curious about what life was like in the most productive copper mines in the state? Visiting this museum will give you a small glimpse into the history.
Address: 5 Copper Queen Plaza, Bisbee
2. Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg
The so-called Dude Ranch Capital hosts this museum that shows off western history both locally and nationally. The museum also hosts a bi-annual cowboy poetry festival where you can listen to poetry about the rural experience in the West.
Address: 21 North Frontier Street, Wickenburg
3. Hubbell Trading Post, Ganado
This is the oldest operating trading post in the state and a beautifully preserved one! You can take a tour of the premises, purchase goods, and watch live demonstrations take place.
Address: 1/2 AZ-264, Ganado
4. Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum, Jerome
There’s no doubt - Jerome has had quite the colorful history and just one way of gaining a sense of life here during Arizona’s territorial days is by checking out this small museum. You’ll get to see and read of life for everyone living in this old mining town, from the miners to businessmen to laundry workers to even the "ladies of the night."
Address: 200 Main Street, Jerome
5. Museum of the West, Scottsdale
This museum doesn’t focus on just Arizona; it highlights the West’s history in 19 states through a wide variety of art and artifacts.
Address: 3830 North Marshall Way, Scottsdale
6. Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock
One of the perspectives that often gets lost or distorted in the history of the West is that of the Indigenous peoples. Located on the Navajo Nation, this museum has exhibits that show not only what life was like during those tumultuous times for Navajo people but also how that has shaped the culture to today.
7. Pioneer Living History Museum, Phoenix
What makes this museum stand out are the volunteers who provide live demonstrations of what life what was like in Arizona’s frontier in addition to a number of preserved or reconstructed buildings dotting the land plot.
Address: 3901 West Pioneer Road, Phoenix
8. Pipe Spring National Monument, Fredonia
The frontier in Arizona wasn’t just filled with cowboys and miners; Mormon settlers were widespread through the state and this is just one of the many testaments they left behind while traveling from Utah down into Arizona’s nearly unknown wilds. It operated as a ranch, fort, rest stop, and refuge between the 1850s and 1890s.
Address: 406 North Pipe Spring Road, Fredonia
9. Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott
This open air museum in Arizona’s former state capital is composed of historic buildings, artifacts from our state’s territorial days, and re-enactments.
Address: 415 West Gurley Street, Prescott
What article about Arizona’s frontier would be complete without a mention of Tombstone? There’s no one place that you need to visit here; instead, take your time wandering through the entire town by walking along Allen Street, visiting the old courthouse, and checking out Boot Hill.
Want to check out some other historic places in Arizona? Read our article,
These 10 Hidden Gems In Arizona Hold Historic Keys To The Past, to get ideas for your next travel opportunity.