SPRINGS, Colo., Oct. 16 (AP) - Over the years, history buffs have
learned a lot about the gunslinger Doc Holliday by visiting the Glenwood
Springs graveyard where he is believed to be buried.
A monument at Linwood Cemetery has offered such details as when
Holliday was born - 1852 - and the place of his birth, Valdasta, Ga.
Visitors also learn that he attended Baltimore Dental School, and that
he died in a Glenwood sanatorium.
Trouble is, all this information is wrong.
The first hint might come from the fact that there is no Valdasta,
Ga., although there is a Valdosta. But the problem goes beyond the
spelling: Holliday actually was born in Griffin, Ga. And he was born in
1851, not 1852.
Furthermore, he went to school at the Pennsylvania College of Dental
Surgery. That's in Philadelphia, not Baltimore.
And he died at the Hotel Glenwood, before Glenwood Springs even had a
sanatorium. "To our knowledge it was not a sanatorium," Cindy Hines, the
director of the Frontier Museum, said of the hotel. "He just happened to
have had a room there."
Though these errors are literally set in stone, that is not stopping
the museum from setting the record straight. On Wednesday, the museum
and City of Glenwood Springs oversaw the replacement of the monument
with a more accurate version.
Ms. Hines said the new monument is a recycled old headstone more
representative of Holliday's time.
The stone is of an obelisk style, four-sided, with a rounded top, and
sits on a base. On the front, it bears Holliday's full name (John Henry
Holliday), and dates of birth (Aug. 14, 1851) and death (Nov. 8, 1887).
The back says "Doc Holliday," and in the style of the time lists his age
when he died as "36 years, 2 months, 25 days."
Ms. Hines said it was understandable that the old monument contained
misinformation. The original monument apparently was erected in the
1950's, when there was perhaps just one book written on Holliday, and
little other good research available, she said.
After the stone fell victim to target practice and other wear and
tear, it was replaced in the 1980's, but the information was not
changed, she said.
In the years since, interest in Holliday has surged, thanks in part
to "Tombstone" and other movies about him and his fellow gunslinger
Wyatt Earp. The museum's archives now get a lot of use by historians and
others interested in Holliday, and Ms. Hines believes Holliday's
monument is the third most visited tourist spot in town, after the Hot
Springs Pool and Glenwood Caverns.
Ms. Hines said all that visitation made it all the more important
that Holliday's monument put out accurate information about him.
The museum and city are returning the old monument to the company
that provided it. "We don't want to keep it around," Ms. Hines said. "It
just confuses matters."