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Legends Letter

January, 2006

 Kathy Weiser

Happy New Year One and All!!


Hope the holidays were wonderful for all of you.  But for me, I'm kind of glad they're over, so I can get back to hitting the road and adding up a whole bunch of new stories.


Well, if you followed along last month, you knew it wasn't perhaps the best one in the history of Legends of America, when the website went down for a week and I lost all my email.  (if you're not familiar, you can find the whole sordid story on my blog.) 


Well, the good news is:  I have a brand new hosting provider with much greater reliability, lots of new "tools," and cheaper to boot! 


In the meantime, the worst of the whole ordeal was the impact it had on some of you.  Orders received during that week just never went out as I never received the notification.  Just yesterday, I sent a package that was far overdue and I only knew because they emailed me.  To those of you who this affected, my sincerest apologies.  If anyone else made an order that they never received, please contact me.


Another terrible result of this fiasco was that I lost all my email communications, some of which I really wanted to respond to and update my pages with new information.  These included an update on the Whiting Brothers Stations from a family member, a wonderful story of La Llorona in Mexico, a ghostly tale in San Antonio, and many more.  Please resend those stories, comments, and photographs if I never got back to you.  I am so bummed!


I got a bunch of support letters from many of you and you cannot imagine how very good that felt at a time that it seemed as if I was losing a businesses that I have put so much into. Thanks to everyone!!


Ok, moving on!  Last month saw us in California, which was a great reprieve as on the day we left, we plowed through 12 inches of snow and 10 degrees to get to the airport, but our spirits were lifted when we were rewarded with a balmy 65 degrees upon our arrival.  In any event, you'll see some new stories and lots of new photographs of the Golden State.


With out new tools, the new Guestbook allows you to upload photographs and make comments to other posts. Check it out. 


If you're new to Legends of America, we focus on travel destinations that appeal to the nostalgic and historic minded.  Not really interested in the glitter and glitz of the big cities, we hunt out those places with a little "elbow room," lots of history, and hidden attractions.   


I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!


Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor





In this Edition: 


New Additions


Cripple Creek - World's Greatest Gold Camp


Saloon Style Photographs


Questions From Our Readers


Featured Book - EZ66 Guide For Travelers


Old West Facts & Trivia


Calico, California - Revived From a Desert Grave




Saloon Style Photographs - When readers visit our Saloons of the Old West article and our Saloon Gallery, we get dozens of emails from people who want to decorate a room in a saloon style atmosphere.  Now, you can find some of those Old West type advertisements that no doubt dotted the walls of these historic drinking places.  Check out our brand new Whiskey, Women & Vices Photo Gallery!




New Additions to Legends of America



After my trip to California, I decided that I really hadn't done justice to California's piece of the Route 66 pavement.  Therefore, you'll see the Golden State expanded to include the

Inland Empire on Route 66, which highlights visits through the Los Angeles suburbs of Rialto Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga Upland, Claremont, Pomona, and La Verne.  You'll also see the San Gabriel Valley and the history of San Dimas, Glendora, Azusa, Irwindale & Duarte, Monrovia, and Arcadia. 


We also made a visit to the historic ghost town of Calico, California - an absolutely wonderful adventure.  You'll read more about that great place on our Featured Ghost Town below.


For those that wait with bated breath for the next series of ghostly legends, you'll find several new tales in our Ghosts of the Cripple Creek Mining District article. Cripple Creek, Colorado is said to be one of the most haunted cities in America. Read about Maggie's ghost at the Colorado Grande Casino, Stinky's ghost at the Hotel St. Nicolas, little 6-year old Lilly at Buffalo Bill's Casino, a flirtatious former owner at the Imperial Hotel, Miss Kitty at the Palace Hotel, and a whole bevy of disembodied apparitions at the Victor Hotel.  Also, thanks to our reader, Mike Warden, we have his personal experience of a "real" Haunted House in Cripple Creek.

Crystal BallAlso, for our paranormal enthusiasts, you'll see the "Can You See Ghosts" Test which will assess your abilities and awareness of spirits around you; as well as articles entitled Are Psychics Real? and Ten Common Dreams Revealed.


And, finally, expanding our Legends, Myths & Campfire Tales of the  American West, we've dug up including Besieged By Starvation, The Broad House, The Death Waltz, The River of Lost Souls, and The Spook Of Misery Hill.

Questions From Our Readers


Question:  I get lots and lots of questions from readers about how to deal with ghosts, strange paranormal events, funny things in photographs, etc.


Answer:  I really like to write stories about ghostly legends and tales of strange occurrences.  However, I am not an expert at these types of happenings.  I have been asking them to post their questions to our Ghostly Legends Forum so that they might get an answer from our other readers.  If you have any experience or knowledge in this area, check the forum and see if you can help.



Just For Fun!!


Bumper Sticker Madness


Outhouses of the American West


The Quirky American West


"Can You See Ghosts" Test



Featured Travel Destination 



Cripple Creek - World's Greatest Gold Camp

In the high country beyond Pike's Peak, is the Cripple Creek Mining District, dotted with historic mine shafts, head frames, and tumbling down miners cabins. Not only might a visitor find a "taste" of gold fever in this historic district, but just might  experience the hair rising on the back of their necks as they "bump" into one of the many ghosts that reportedly roam the area.

The first discovery of gold in the Pikes Peak region was made in 1874 when a man named T.H Lowe picked up some rich ore in a meadow near the present site of Cripple Creek.  Excited, he quickly organized a prospecting party to search the nearby gulches.  Though they found a little gold, there was not enough to warrant mining and they soon departed.

It would be another ten years before gold in the area was heard of again.  In the spring of 1884, word spread that a man named Chicken Bill was taking nuggets out of the ground by the handful.  Three thousand men quickly swarmed the area to find absolutely nothing.  Soon, it was discovered that the nuggets produced by Chicken Bill were from a salted mine and the disappointed miners quickly left in search of more profitable opportunities.


However, in December, 1890 a man named Bob Womack really did discover gold, but miners were slow to respond remembering the hoax of six years prior.  By the summer of 1891 Wommack struck a very rich vein and hurried to Colorado Springs to celebrate.  In a drunken stupor the foolish man sold his mine for $500 cash.  Word then spread and men began to stake claims all over a six mile square area surrounding what would soon be The Cripple Creek Gold Camp.


Soon, however, the gold would begin to play out and by 1920 there were only about 40 mines operating and production had been reduced to four million dollars.  The 1930's saw a brief revival of mining, but this too waned and by 1945 there were less than 20 mines operating with only about one million dollars in gold produced each year.


To read more about Cripple Creek's illustrious history click HERE!  If you would like to know more about the ghosts that allegedly roam this historic city, click HERE!



What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


Holy Moly Kathy, I've been on your Route 66 tour for day and a half........WOW, it's the most fun I've had in months. Love your pages, and believe they will boost many to read. BRAVO! for your efforts!  -- Sherry

WOW, six hours reading later, I started reading about the wild west, because i was watching an episode of Deadwood (HBO) and I  wondered if the place really existed, and low and behold, not only did it really exist, but some of the characters are (loosely) based on real people. I am off to start reading again. This site is tops!  - Gary O'Rourke, United Kingdom

Howdy Folks - You sure have an amazing web site. So much to read and see. The old west from 1850 to about 1920 is my favorite time. God bless America and thanks for being our neighbor. - Richard Kettlewell, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Tell us what you think!

Sign My Guestbook  View My Guestbook 


Featured Guides and Books



EZ66 Guide for Travelers by Jerry McClanahanEZ66 Guide For Travelers, By Jerry McClanahan

This is the ultimate guide for finding and exploring the route driving from the West or the East. Created by noted Route 66 authority, Jerry McClanahan, its maps and directions are comprehensive yet easy to follow. The spiral bound guide stays open to the pages you are reading while you are driving. Also includes attractions, tips, other sources, and games. Convenient 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 200 page format. The guide is updated regularly.


Bumper Sticker Wisdom


If life were logical, men would ride side-saddle.


I am not young enough to know everything.


The Old West



Old West Facts & Trivia - Did You Know?

Well, if you've been "around" for any amount of time, you know that I'm seemingly obsessed with facts.  Though often useless bits of information, I just think they're fun!  So, for our Old West enthusiasts, here are a few interesting tidbits:

The term "red light district" came from the Red Light Bordello in Dodge City, Kansas.  The front door of the building was made of red glass and produced a red glow to the outside world when lit at night. The name carried over to refer to the town's brothel district.

Rumor has it that the tradition of spreading saw dust on the floors of bars and saloons started in Deadwood, South Dakota due to the amount of gold dust that would fall on the floor. The saw dust was used to hide the fallen gold dust and was swept up at the end of the night.

The Infamous Dalton Gang only operated for one year and five months, beginning with a train robbery in Wharton, Oklahoma on May 9, 1891 and ending at the shootout at Coffeyville, Kansas on October 5, 1892.

Clay Allison, after sitting in a dentist’s chair in Cheyenne, Wyoming , forcibly pulled one of the dentist’s teeth when the doctor drilled on the wrong molar.  He would have continued pulling the dentists teeth, but the screams of the dentist brought in people from the street.

Black Jack Ketchum was the only person ever hanged in Union County, New Mexico.   According the annals of American Jurisprudence, he was the only criminal decapitated during a judicial hanging.  The only other recorded example was in England in 1601.

The Pony Express was in operation for only nineteen months from April 1860 through October 1861.  The Pony Express carried almost 35,000 pieces of mail over more than 650,000 miles during those nineteen months and lost only one mail sack.  The typical Pony Express rider was nineteen years old and made $100-$150 per month plus room and board.

These are but a few of the interesting facts of the Old West .  Click HERE to see them all.

Featured Site:  Would you like to showcase your travel destination in the American West?  Be it a city or a place, just click here to see how to make that happen.  If your city has historical value and great places to visit, your town could be featured on our home page and in our newsletter.  Just zap us an Email.



Video Store - States Across the American West

If you would like to see a preview of your travel experience in the American West, check out our travel videos!

Discoveries...America, Arizona DVD  Discoveries...America, Colorado DVD  Discoveries...America, Nevada DVD   


A three legged dog limps into a saloon and steps up to the bar.  The bartender gives the dog a long nasty look... then says, "Whatchawant?"  The dog looks around the saloon, turns back to the bartender and declares:
"I want the man who shot my Paw."

Ghost Towns


Calico, California GraveyardCalico, California - Revived From a Desert Grave

Not only is Calico a fabulous ghost town, but we think it is one of the best tourism values in the State of California!!

It all began in 1875 when roving prospectors first found silver on the south slope of the Calico Mountains.  As word got out, more and more prospectors came to the area, making small silver finds and filing claims.  In the spring of 1881 came the discovery of the Silver King, Calico’s richest mine and the town boomed.

During its heyday, the district produced $86 million in silver, and $45 million in borax.  However, when the price of silver dropped in the mid 1890's, Calico became a ghost of its former self.  

In 1950 Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park bought the town site and began restorations.  Though the original town site has been mostly rebuilt by new and restored buildings, one-third of the town is original and the remaining newer buildings were carefully reconstructed to recreate the spirit of Calico's Old West past.  In November 1966, Knott donated Calico to San Bernardino County, and Calico now operates as a one of the many San Bernardino County Regional Parks.

Though Calico is no longer a crumbling ghost town thanks to Walter Knott, it most definitely gives the visitor a feel of what life might have been like during those old mining days.  The false front stores and saloons, towered by the craggy mountains above and overlooking the desert valley below, provide an otherwise, unobtainable, glimpse into Calico's rich history.


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Dave and I are dwarfed in a chair at the Big Texan Steak House in Amarillo, Texas.



Legends Blog!

Feedback and Suggestions



We always appreciate feedback about the website and our newsletter.  Do you have a suggestion about content that you would like to see, or perhaps, would like to contribute a photograph or a story?  We would love to hear about it!  We also want to hear about suggestions for improvement.  See a link that doesn't work or a picture that doesn't appear -- please let us know.  Just drop us a line at our  Email address and tell us what you think.






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Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355



Kathy Weiser





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