The area known as Gleeson was initially settled as a mining camp called Turquois (without the 'e'). It was named after the mineral which had been mined by Native Americans in the area. In the late 1800’s after most of the hostile Apaches had either been killed or forced elsewhere, prospectors and miners moved in and took up the turquoise mines. Tiffany & Company of New York even operated a turquoise mine here for a few years. The Turquoise post office was established on October 22, 1890, and lasted only a few years until September 17, 1894.
In 1900, an Irishman and local miner John Gleeson registered a copper claim and opened the Copper Belle Mine. On October 15, 1900, the town of Gleeson was officially born when the Postal Service opened a post office in the town. A number of other mines opened in the area. These were the Silver Bill, Pejon and Defiance claims. During this time, the town supported about 500 people, mainly in the copper mining business. In 1912 a fire consumed 28 buildings and the town was rebuilt. Copper production boomed to supply demand World War I and the town swelled to over 1000 people.
During the prosperous times, the town had a school, hospital, theater, and a dozen restaurants and bars. Gleeson also had a large Mexican population. This was because they were allowed to work underground (for which the wages were higher), unlike Bisbee, where Mexicans could only work the lower paying jobs on the surface.
In the 1930s, the price of copper fell and the mines played out. The Gleeson post office closed on March 31, 1939.
If you want more information about getting to Gleeson, click here.
Gleeson's Jail has been rebuilt and is open to the public on the first Saturday of every month. Click here for more information.
A western movie was made in 1938 called "The Mysterious Rider" (AKA "Mark of the Avenger") that shows Gleeson at the time. You can find the entire movie here. I haven't watched the entire movie, but it did look like you could see the jail at about 48 minutes from the beginning.