About Gammons Gulch and its Founder’s Jay and Joanne
John (Jay) Ashley Gammons owner and founder of Gammons Gulch was born in Woonsocket Rhode Island in 1947. His parents owned a Guest Ranch then, but do to the ill health of Jay’s mother they were forced to move West. In 1950 they settled in Arizona with Jay attending grade school in Tombstone, Arizona and where Jay’s father worked at odd jobs until he was hired on as Chief of Police in Tombstone from 1954 to 1956.
Jay’s father went on to work for Pima County as a Range Deputy where he would also serve as Security for movies when they filmed in the area. His father eventually became John Wayne’s personal body guard when Mr. Wayne worked in the area. As a boy Jay would accompany his dad and occasionally be an extra in the movies. Jay has appeared in films such as Rio Bravo, McLintock, El Dorado and many more. In his teens, we would assist as a body guard for stars including Ava Gardner. These experiences stirred young Jays’ interest in film production and coupled with his blooming love of the history of the Old West prompted Jay’s dreams of owning and operating his own movie location set.
In the early 1970’s Jay Gammons was exploring the high desert of Cochise County and found himself on an old dusty road North of Benson when his found the ideal piece of land where he would make his dream come true of owning his Old West Town. Turning to his companion, in a state of excitement, he proclaimed “ wouldn’t that be a great place to build a ghost town?”. Jay promptly bought the 10 acre site and set forth to build this now infamous location and museum.
The town was where Jay lived and built his town, his accommodations were rather basic in the beginning but slowly and surely the town started to rise from the beautiful desert floor as Jay spent many years constructing and traveling all over the country collecting items for the buildings and town.
On Valentine’s day 1992 Jay met his now wife Joanne and together with the help from friends and donations of artifacts, built an impressive town, movie set and museum attraction. Gammons Gulch is set in a time between the 1880’s and the early 1930’s and is open to the public for tours, a location for movie productions, and events such as weddings and other large corporate theme parties.
Gammons Gulch has an complied and impressive list of events, films, tours and special parties from visitors all over the world since they opened their gates in 1994.
Gammons Gulch has become part Ghost Town, part Movie Set and full time home to Jay and wife Joanne. They have watched the Gulch grow from a Ghost town into a Living Town straight out of the Old West. But as Joanne says, “We ain’ t no Dodge City”, just a quaint little town you would have found as you came over the Mountains. This impressive location and attraction is full of hometown charm and hospitality complete with a Saloon with a honky-tonk piano! The only kind of beer your going to find in this Saloon is Root Beer, so the little ones can enjoy it along with the Adults.
Filming at the Gulch
A visitor gets the impression and feeling of being transported to a different time and place. Rather like a time machine….. it is without a doubt a real experience and should not be missed by anyone visiting the area.
What Our Visitors Have to Say:
Our neighbors and ourselves went for a short tour of southern Tucson area, The highlight of our trip was the “Gammons Gulch” Tour. The amount of personal dedication and work getting all that was needed for a genuine movie set was incredible including all the amazing antiques. Jay is a different breed in that he was directly involved in the movie industry and has a personal mission to keep history alive. Thanks Jay for a great visit and for your personal recap of your experiences and the incredible sounds of your Piano, Banjo and Harmonica.
F & J Thompson