Tours

History

Shakespeare has had several names through the years and only acquired its present one in 1879 at the beginning of its second mining boom. It is located here because there was a small but reliable spring located in the arroyo west of the town. The reliable water sourceView looking Down Avon Aveattracted many people, Indians who ground mesquite beans left their metates scattered about, probably a few Spaniards stopped by, and then some of the Forty-Niners who were taking the southern route to the gold fields of California, watered their stock at this little spring. About 1856 a building was built here by the Army, evidently to serve as a relay station on the Army Mail line between Fort Thorn on the Rio Grande and Fort Buchanan, south of Tucson. This spring served as an alternate stopping place for the San Antonio and San Diego mail line but was bypassed by the first Butterfield coaches. However before the Butterfield quit running in 1861, they had moved the road back up in the hills and had built a square adobe stage station here. During this time the spring was sometimes called Mexican Spring according to old timers.  More....

Outlaws and Lawmen

The annals of Shakespeare's history have no tales of fearless lawmen stalking the streets in search of wrongdoers. According to old timers, there was no law here at all-just the agreed upon rule that "if you killed someone you had to dig the grave." This kept down indiscriminate shootings. During the days of the Silver Strike and the Diamond Swindle, the silver mining company from San Francisco had on their payroll some Texas boys whose job it was to keep order and to guard the company interests mainly by preventing independent miners from staking claims. Though the Company sometimes called these fellows "Vigilantes," others just called them "Hired Fighting Men." More....