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The Legend of the Swamper


Many years ago, in the late 1800’s, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was once The Grand Hotel. It was the largest and tallest building located between St.Louis and San Francisco, had rooms for 50 guests and upstairs dining room, which seated 150 people. The Grand Hotel hosted such infamous personalities as Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, the Clantons and the McLaury’s.

In this hotel, the janitor (who was also the odd job man) was known as “The Swamper”. He was a trusted and honest worker who was given his accommodations as part of his hard-earned pay.

The Swamper had his own special bedroom, located in the dark basement of the hotel. It was his own special, private haven where he could enjoy peace and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the hotel’s many guests. Within his private domain, where no guest was invited, he also kept his secret passion for silver.


The basement was far enough below the surface of the groud to afford entrance into the catacomb mine shafts that ran underground beneath the hotel, as well as most of Tombstone. The Swamper spent many painstaking hours over a period of years tunneling an entrance into the mine shaft. When the digging was completed he could gain access to a thick vein of silver, where he mined, ounce by ounce, the glorious silver nuggets. This mine entrance is still a prominent feature of the Big Nose Kate’s Saloon basement.

It is still unknown if The Swamper spent his silver of if he horded it in an unknown niche on the premises of The Grand Hotel. However, several workers of the now Big Nose Kate’s Saloon will swear they have seen a ghost wandering the halls and the stairs. Photographers have caught the ghostly image on an unknown being on a photo, as well as on the postcard of the saloon’s interior.

It has been reasoned that the ghost is indeed The Swamper and that his afterlife is being spent protecting the silver that may perhaps still be buried somewhere in this legendary building.