The Church complex is located at the corner of Sixth and Safford Streets (one block from the historic district) and consists of five buildings:


The original one and a half story adobe church-rectory was dedicated January 1, 1881, the first church building of any denomination in Tombstone. It faces south towards Safford Street with a medium pitched gable roof and gable dormers. Originally, the thick adobe walls enclosed two rooms used for church services on the first floor, and two rooms used as a rectory on the second floor. A narrow, winding stairway provided access to the second floor. The original doors were of wood panel design and featured highly detailed Victorian hardware often found on buildings of this age. Originally, the building had a full width, three bay porch with a second floor veranda guarded by a railing. In 1882 an addition was made to the north elevation, which was the rear of the building, in a rectangular shed-roofed form with a porch on the east side.

Through the years, the exterior wall surface has been re-stuccoed at least twice, and two layers of modern stucco are in evidence. At some point between 1900 and 1945, the full porch was removed and replaced with a gabled entry cover. This porch was also subsequently removed. On the interior, a partition dating around 1882 was made on the first floor to provide more privacy for use as a rectory only and closets were framed in on the second floor in more modern times. A modern furnace was installed with ductwork in plain sight, and the interior has been modernized and updated to facilitate the current use as church offices. The exterior of the building has been painted and restored, the foundation shored up, and the original wood shingles on the roof have been covered with new asphalt shingles. Sacred Heart Church recently restored the veranda and porch using historic photographs as a model.

Today, this fine, beautifully restored old building is a proud bearer of the title "Tombstone's first church building", dedicated January 1, 1881.


The old 1882 church building exhibits some Gothic Revival elements. The church is a single story rectangular building with a high-pitched gable roof and is distinguished by its Gothic style arched wooden windows. The church was originally built on the corner of Sixth Street and Safford, facing Sixth Street. The walls were of boards and battens over wood framing. The high-pitched roof, decorated at the ridge with a Gothic cross, was covered in wood shingles. The entry featured a pair of wide wooden doors with a Gothic-arched panel section as a transom. A separate bell tower was added in 1883 next to the northeast corner of the building. A 610 lb. Bell, manufactured in 1883 by Rumsey Mfg. Company of St. Louis, Missouri, was placed in the bell tower. The interior design of the church was simple with floors covered in wood strip flooring. The walls were plastered except for wood wainscoting. The ceiling was covered in tongue-and-groove boards. Around 1925, the board-and-batten exterior walls were sheathed in stucco. In 1946, this building was moved a few hundred feet west to its current site and placed on a new foundation to make room for the new 1947 church building. It faces east toward Sixth Street. In 1946 the entry was reduced in size and an addition was made to the west side of the building to house a new kitchen for the building's new use as the church hall. The bell tower was demolished in 1946, but the bell was retained for later use in the 1947 church. A later corrugated metal roof has been added over the wood shingles.

Today, the 1882 church building—the oldest wooden church building still standing in the State of Arizona--is in a wonderfully restored condition, retaining most of its original interior and exterior elements. The kitchen and bathrooms were recently remodeled to enhance the building's continued use as the church hall where meetings and many festive occasions continue to take place.


In July of 1947, construction began on the new church building that sits at the corner of N. Sixth Street and Safford, facing south toward Safford Street. Father Thomas Doyle, who served Sacred Heart as pastor for twenty-seven years, directed the building of the new church. Tucson architect, Terry Atkinson drew the plans for the new church of concrete block construction in a Modern Spanish/Modern Mission style design. The building's exterior was stuccoed over the concrete blocks. It had a gabled roof of corrugated metal, and a simple bell tower on the north elevation. Church members donated several stained glass windows in memory of loved ones. Large double entry doors of heavy pine adorned the front of the church. The interior is of simple design with heavy pine ceiling beams and pine doors and trim throughout.

The building today, both exterior and interior, is basically the same as in 1947, with original doors, windows, exterior stucco over concrete block, corrugated metal roof and simple bell tower, now housing the 1883 bell. Between 1989 and 1991, a small addition was made to the north elevation of the church increasing the size of the altar and adding a storage room. The fifty-six year old church remains in continuous use for church services, baptisms, weddings, and other formal church events.


The classroom complex, built in 1965, consists of two classrooms for C.C.D. classes and a large storage room. In 1991, new shingles were put on the roof. Many children from Tombstone have learned about the Lord and his teachings in these classrooms. More renovations were made from 1999 to 2003.


Father Thomas A. Doyle had the new rectory built in 1972. This is our newest building, being the home of only the last six priests. From 1999 to 2003 repairs and renovations were made to the rectory.


Situated on the north side of Sacred Heart's 1947 building are two historic rose trees. These trees were originally planted as shoots sometime in the 1880s by the Giacoma-Costello family at the entry to their Tombstone home that faced Sixth Street. After the family donated their property to the church, Father Thomas Doyle began tending the roses. With the help of his parishioners, Father Doyle built a wooden trellis support system under the trees to hold their ever-increasing weight and size. He also built a memorial wall under the canopy to display memorial plaques of decreased members of the parish.

Today, each of the two rose trees are almost five feet in circumference at the base and together provide a canopy that covers over 2500 feet of garden area. After the original wooden support system rotted with the weather, it was replaced in 2001 with a new 4x4 support system. The old memorial wall was also restored with new plaques. A stone altar is also under the Rose Tree. Many parish celebrations take place in the beautiful Rose Tree Courtyard, including a ceremony in 2002 when the State of Arizona proclaimed all three church buildings and the Rose Tree Courtyard, National Historic Sites as designated by the U. S. Department of the Interior.


When the Rose Tree property was deeded to the Church, Father Doyle not only took care of the rose trees but also established over time an altar and two memorials dedicated to past parishioners by family members. There was also another memorial, with a statue of St. Jude, established next to what is now the Parish Offices in memory of a deceased parishioner.

These memorials were vandalized and destroyed over the years. Also numerous plaques thanking parishioners for their donations and services to our Church had accumulated, both in the Church and in the Parish Hall.

It was decided to establish a permanent Memorial Wall under the Rose Trees to honor all those parishioners who had given of their time, talents, and money over the many years. A new statue of St. Jude now is the focal center of this memorial. All of the existing plaques were then moved to the Wall and protected by a heavy Plexiglas shield. There is now enough room to add other plaques as is warranted.



 Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
P.O. Box 547
Tombstone, AZ 85638-0547
Phone: (520) 457-3364
Fax: (520) 457-0017



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