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Pasquale Nigro
(1843-1908)

Pasquale (or Pasqual) Nigro, saloon owner and mineral collector in Tombstone, Arizona, was born in Italy in December 1843. He arrived in US in 1866, and traveled to California, where he had a store in Los Angeles in 1876. He moved to Tombstone, Arizona, by 1880 and opened a saloon. It seems possible that the spectacular comet of September 1882 inspired him to rename his place the Comet Saloon—a name which first appears in the Tombstone Epitaph in December 1882. He very successful, and was said to have "counted his money by the basketful" in 1884. Although there are no newspaper available from 1883 to 1884 that might reveal how that wealth came about, it was almost certainly from mine investments or prospecting.

In any case, in the first newspaper still surviving he advertised his Comet Saloon, located on Allen Street between 6th and 7th Streets in Tombstone, beginning on 28 August 1885 (The Daily Tombstone)—it boasted a fine billiard table. Someone tried to burn down a building he owned in the middle of the night (Daily Tombstone, 12 Dec 1885), but the arson attempt failed, and the culprit was caught.

As of March 1886 Nigro owned the Margarita mine near Tombstone. In October 1887 he was fined $50 for "keeping a dance house" (presumably his saloon, which ran afoul of a peculiar ordinance perhaps designed to discourage prostitution). In October 1891 he was arrested for smuggling 40 gallons of Mescal from Sonora into Arizona (he was apparently not convicted by his peers and patrons, who probably appreciated his efforts). In June 1894 he was jailed for not paying for the liquor license on his saloon in Bisbee, claiming he was broke. Unfortunately he was in arrears in 1892, and consequently some of his property in Bisbee was sold at a Sheriff's sale for $810, and the saloon he owned there (purchased 1891) was also sold. Meanwhile he purchased additional lots in Tombstone.

Around 1897 Nigro moved to Globe, Arizona, where he had acquired a saloon and rooming house by 1901; it was destroyed by fire on July 4, 1901 but it was insured, and he elected to rebuild. In September 1901 he sold claims near Globe for the enormous sum of $25,000, and used some of the money to expand his real estate holdings in Globe, including the Pasquale Nigro restaurant. He acquired other mines including the Little Man claim in the Summit District, which he then sold in 1904 for $7,500.

In 1905 he had three of his houses in Globe wired for electric lights, and owned an entire "block" on Broad Street plus other lots. In January 1906, wishing to retire from business, he sold all of his Globe property for $65,000, but couldn't resist buying more mining claims. He died wealthy at age 65 on January 4, 1908 in Globe, as a result of injuries suffered in a runaway accident. At the time he owned the Eagle Saloon in Globe, as well as the Pinyon, Young Quail, Cataract, Metropolitan No. 4, Epley, Holmes 1-5, and Lotus 1-3 claims. According to the 1900 Census, he had two sons, Raffaele and Michele Nigro.

Despite having moved to Globe, Nigro had maintained his ownership of the Comet Saloon in Tombstone. Following his death the Tombstone Epitaph (30 August 1908) mentioned the "elegant little mineral cabinet belonging to the Comet Saloon," proprietors being Italian immigrants Frank Payla and Barney Andrino . Payla and his previous partner, Fritz Carlevato, had begun working at the Comet Saloon in the mid-1890s, probably around the time Nigro moved to Globe. Andrino later took over Carlevato's position in the saloon. Who among these men built the Comet mineral collection is unclear, bit Nigro should probably receive the credit.

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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Pasquale Nigro The Daily Tombstone, September 17, 1885.
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