Monday, May 16, 2011

My Town Monday: Wyatt Earp in San Diego, CA

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (1848-1929) was born in Illinois and died in Los Angeles. He has a reputation as the Old West's "toughest and deadliest gunman." ( Most people associate him with the bloody gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona on October 26, 1881. During this 30-second, thirty-shot showdown, Wyatt and his brothers, Virgil and Morgan, along with Doc Holliday took on the cowboys, Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury. Billy Clanton and the two McLaury brothers died. Click here for the details of the fight.

What many people may not know is that Wyatt Earp operated four saloons/gambling halls in San Diego between 1887 and around 1896. The establishments were located in our
Gaslamp Quarter, called the Stingaree District back then. Patrons were offered games of faro (a card game), blackjack, poker and keno. Earp often made $1,000 in profit per night! His most famous gambling hall was The Oyster Bar. One reason for The Oyster Bar's popularity was The Golden Poppy, the brothel upstairs, where each room was painted a different color and the lady of the room wore a matching dress. The Oyster Bar was located in the Victorian building at the current address of 835 Fifth Avenue. Visit here now for a steak dinner at the upscale George's on Fifth.

What was life in San Diego like back in the day when Wyatt Earp lived here? According to Adalaska Pearson of the San Diego Historical Society's 1928 description, it was "crazy with gambling fever developed from fortunes made in real estate, saloons and gambling houses...Crime was rampant. Murder, theft, robbery, fights and general licentiousness was the order of the day, hold-ups were a daily occurrence." (

Oh, so not much has changed. (Kidding, Mayor Jerry Sanders!)

Check out these interesting My-Town-Monday posts from fellow bloggers!

Jim Winter hails from Cincinnati, OH with a post on the National League's Big Red Machine.

Robyn of You Think Too Much has some great thoughts on her local library in Madison, IN

From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Barbara Martin steps back in time for a look at wall, window and floor coverings in 1906.

Debra of From Skilled Hands has some beautiful photos of spring which has sprung in the Village of Peninsula, OH

Clair Dickson's been up in the Pictured Rocks area of Northern Michigan, snapping pictures of Wagner Falls.

I'm this week's hostess. If you throw up a My Town Monday post, let me know here or on the official My Town Monday blog, and I'l link to you on both. Have a great day!



Anonymous said...

Cool,I'll have to check it out some time.I don't like very much history but this sounds interesting.(:

LynNerd said...

Very interesting post, Barrie. Wow, that Wyatt was something else! $1,000 in one night was huge bucks back then. The Oyster Bar and brothel sound like a great setting for historical fiction, which I don't write, but it sounds intriguing.

Barbara Martin said...

Well, he's not the first lawman to be involved in illegal activity. Interesting stuff to note, Barrie, and great filler for writers.

Anonymous said...

I read I SO DON'T DO FAMOUS and i LOVED it(:
It was hilarious and sweet at the same time.What's the next book called?


Sarah Laurence said...

Interesting post. There's been an ongoing battle in Maine over gambling. It brings other crime with it. I can see you writing historical fiction.