Fairbank is a "ghost town" located within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA), along the San Pedro River. Its life as a town began with the construction of a railroad in 1881, and it soon became an important depot as well as the closest railroad stop to Tombstone, then one of the largest western cities (15,000 in 1882).
Originally called Junction City, Kendall, then Fairbanks, it was officially named Fairbank on May 16, 1883. The name refers to N.K. Fairbank of Chicago, who helped finance the railroad.
The town, was built on an old Mexican land grant, the San Juan de las Boquillas y Nogales, which was bought by the Boquillas Land and Cattle Company in 1901. The company evicted all potential land owners, but continued to lease the mercantile building and a few residences well into the 1970's.
The Bureau of Land Management acquired the land that was once the Mexican Land Grant in 1986 as part of the San Pedro Riparian NCA. Today the area is open for the public to enjoy. Take a self-guided tour around what was once a thriving boom-town of the wild west!
- The Adobe Commercial Building (# 4 on map) was recently stabilized by the BLM. By 1883, it consisted of a general store, a post office and a saloon.
- The Montezuma Hotel was constructed in 1889. It was just south of the Adobe Commercial Building, where HWY 82 is now. See if you can find portions of the old foundation.
- The Small House (#3) was built in 1885. It is a example of a once common house type of which few are left. It had been divided into two rooms.
- The Schoolhouse (#1) was constructed in 1920 with gypsum block made in Douglas AZ. It was in use through the 1930's.
- The House (#5) was built in 1925. The porches were originally screened, and later infilled in 1954.
- The Stable and Outhouses (#2,6,7) date to the early 1940's during a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project that operated out of Fairbank.
Be on the look-out for historic points of interest . . . But note: It is illegal to remove any historic (older than 50 years) artifacts from public lands. Please leave everything in its place.
Thank you for your help in preserving our historic resources!
See Fairbank Historic Townsite map. For further information concerning the Fairbank area, please contact the Sierra Vista office (520-439 6400).
Additional information and photos of Fairbank from ghosttowns.com
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
Manager: Dennis Sylvia, Acting
1763 Paseo San Luis
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-4611