Florence, Arizona: Tom Mix Death Site

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Address:
Highway 79 South, Florence, AZ
Directions:
Hwy 79 between mile markers 115 and 116, 16 miles south of Hwy 287 (Florence) and 24 miles north of Hwy 77 (Oracle Junction).
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Tom Mix Death Site. Tom Mix Death Site
Hollywood cowboy Tom Mix sure could handle a horse. Unfortunately, he couldn't handle a car quite as well. Roadsideamerica.com Report...

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Tom Mix Death Site

The site will tell you "he left this earth on October 12, 1940", but it won't tell you he was driving a yellow 1937 coffin-nosed Cord. Fails to mention that he was doing about 75 on what was then a dirt road (after a night of drinking and gambling at the Santa Rita Hotel in Tucson) and came upon a normally-dry wash at MP 115.

But, a monsoon to the east had sent a cascade of water down overnight and made the wash, wash out.

He almost hit the county road crew that was there to fill in the now-gaping ditch. The car dove into the ditch and did a number of endo's. Broke his neck.

The metal cutout on the monument is of Mix' movie horse "Tony, the wonder horse". The metal work is courtesy of the inmates at Florence State Penitentiary. They have had to make at least three; people keep taking the Tony the wonder horse cutout!

[Jerry Kraemer, 01/24/2003]
bullet holes in the Tom Mix Death Site Monument. Tom Mix Death Site

My father, Wally Brown, forwarded me a few pictures of the Tom Mix Death Site Marker located outside of Florence, Arizona. It looks like the Arizona locals have been using the Death Site Marker for target practice. Having lived in Arizona, I can say there are many people out there who just can't resist the urge to shoot at something, and since shooting a cactus is illegal (especially at saguaro) road signs and other metal objects usually take the brunt of this weird rage. The Death Site Marker could use a new coat of paint as well.

The plaque at the base of the Death Site Marker reads:

"Jan. 6 1880 - Oct 12. 1940 - In Memory of Tom Mix - Whose spirit left his body on this spot and whose characterization and protrayal in life served to better fix memories of the Old West in the minds of living men."

[Greg Brown, 02/10/2002]

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