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Legends Letter January, 2013

Snow near Warsaw MO, Dec 2012, Dave AlexanderTime to Bug Out!  Kathy and I like to reserve our more lengthy travel for the winter months.  Neither one of us are huge fans of toe biting cold, and so far looks like we're getting out of town about a month late.  You can bet next year we will plan our trip a little closer to New Years.


We have a pretty ambitious schedule, which is always flexible and may change, but if your interested to follow along, be sure to catch our updates on Legends' Travel Blog. Here's the first installment for this trip with itinerary.


South Bound - Heading to Mississippi Louisiana  and other points south on a history tour.


We hope to be leaving or have already left by the time you are reading this. Weather so far is cooperating, but not for long.  Typically where we are going doesn't have too bad of winter weather.  However, the beauty of having a travel trailer is, if it does get nasty for any extended period, we can simply pack up and move.  Hope we don't have to though, there's a lot of history down there that we need to cover, including New Orleans.  By the way, we purposely made plans for our arrival there "after" Mardi Gras.


In the meantime the new year has brought some minor adjustments, changes and plenty of technical challenges, but we are roaring into our 10th year on the World Wide Web with excitement regardless.


Our "Rocky Mountain General Store" has a new name.  It's now simply "Legends' General Store".  Read more about that HERE. We also made a decision to close down our forums.  That was a tough one, but it boiled down to the fact that we could not give it the proper attention it needed to be up to our own standards. 


And as a side note, we've been hearing from several of our readers about their concerns over a new show on the Discovery Channel called Ghost Town Gold. Kathy and I haven't seen it, but it appears the argument is that they are "encouraging" people to scavenge Ghost Towns for western memorabilia.  Now, that flies in the face of our own beliefs, as we still adhere to the Ghost Town Code of Ethics. But some argue back that the materials at these Ghost Towns belong in the market, where they are safe, and not rotting in the middle of no-where.  What are your thoughts on this?  Would love to hear what our readers think.  Reply to this email, or post on our Ghost Towns of the American West Facebook Page and let's get a discussion going. You can read about the show, and a few of the back and forth arguments in the comment section, in this "Denver Post" article HERE.


Happy New Year!  2013 is really an exciting year for us, as this June will mark our 10th Anniversary on the World Wide Web. We will relive some of our more memorable travel moments here in the newsletter throughout the year.  In the meantime, happy trails to everyone and we'll see you on the road.   Dave Alexander - Driving Miss Kathy and dog handler.   Ps. You asked yourself, how are they going to run Legends' General Store while their gone? Well now, that is going to be a trick.  Photo Prints take care of themselves through our processor.  Same for Gift Baskets, DVD's, CD's and several other items that ship directly from the manufacturer.  However the rest we either have to delay shipping or take with us.  So today I get to figure out how to pack several thousand postcards, along with some of our better selling books.  Sorry, Tin Signs didn't make the cut, but you can still order them. We'll offer either discounts or refunds to any orders that will be delayed.    Now, let's get Packin!  

Legends Travel Blog

In this Edition:


New Additions and Featured Stories


Featured Travel Destination - Columbia, CA


Route 66 History - Normal and Bloomington


Old West Wisdom


Featured Product - Valentines Day Gifts


Feedback and Suggestions




More to See:


Legends General Store - Supporting our website since 2003


Legends Photo Prints - Our growing gallery of Vintage and Modern images available in various print sizes. Shop, or just enjoy browsing.


Legends Travel Blog - Follow us on our travels and catch special announcements.


Legends Facebook Page - Daily posts of all things American History.


Ghost Towns of the American West Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Ghost Towns.


Native American History Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Native American


Vintage Photos of America Facebook Page


Legends on Twitter


Legends of Kansas - Our website dedicated to the state Legends was born in.






New Additions and Featured Stories  

December is always an interesting month as Kathy starts throwing new material my way by the stacks.  She's coming off spending way to much time in the store getting ready for holiday sales and feels a need to "catch up" on stories once we get through the peak of the holiday rush.  This last holiday season is no different, so there are bunches of new stories on Legends to tell you about.

Here's what has been added since our December News Letter.

Rocky Springs - Bandits and Bibles on the Natchez Trace - Once a prosperous town of more than 2,500 people, Rocky Springs is home to only a single church and a cemetery today.

Samuel “Wolfman” Mason Takes On the Natchez Trace – Getting his start as an honorable man, Samuel Mason served as a militia captain in the American Revolution. Later, however, he would turn pirate on the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers and lead highwaymen along the Natchez Trace.

A witch dance.Witch Dance of the Natchez Trace - Just south of Tupelo, Mississippi is a sign on the Natchez Trace Parkway which reads “Witch Dance.” The very name conjures visions swirling black capes, eerie moonlight in a shadowed forest, and a cauldron of bubbling potion over a roaring fire. Was it so?


Legends and Mysteries of the Natchez Trace - Often referred to as a mysterious pathway, the Natchez Trace makes its way from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi, providing exceptional scenery, thousands of years of American History, and dozens of legends – hence, “the mysterious pathway.” These legends include tales of buried treasure , ghost stories , outlaws , witches , and more.


Mississippi History, Travel Destinations, and LegendsMississippi People, Places and Events - As we prepare to travel to the Magnolia State, you'll see a number of new stories on Mississippi.


The Natchez Tribe - A Sociably Advanced People - The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi. The name, belonging to a single town, was extended to the tribe and entire group of towns.


Mound Builders of Mississippi - Although the first people entered what is now the Mississippi about 12,000 years ago, the earliest major phase of earthen mound construction in this area did not begin until some 2,100 years ago. Mounds continued to be built sporadically for another 1800 years, or, until around 1700 A.D. Over hundreds of years, there were thousands of mounds constructed for various purposes.


Pennsylvania Legends - People, Places and Events of the Keystone State Officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania , it is nicknamed the Keystone State because of its central location among the original 13 colonies.


Trails Across Pennsylvania - Numerous trails had already been blazed by Native Americans long before Europeans set foot in the commonwealth. After they did; however, the trails got bigger, smoother, and longer, as new settlers needed to move horses, cattle, wagons and supplies.

Fort Hanna's Town todayForts of Pennsylvania - Continuing to add to our long list of forts across the nations, check out over a dozen in the Keystone State.

The Role of Astronomy and Mythology In Native American Culture - Before the age of global positioning systems or compasses, people looked to the stars to find their way. And before civilizations knew what stars were, people formed their own beliefs about their significance.


Jackson - The Other Detroit - During the formative years of the American automobile industry, an untold number of progressive thinking American cities vied for the title motor city in the hope of striking industrial gold. Counted among the leading contenders was Jackson, Michigan.


Ottawa Chief Pontiac - Masterminding a Rebellion - Called Obwandiyag by his people, Pontiac was a great leader of the Ottawa tribe and became famous for organizing Pontiac's Rebellion (1763–1766).


Pontiac's Rebellion Against the British - When the British took control of the Old Northwest following the French and Indian War, Ottawa Chief Pontiac masterminded and led a rebellion against the British.


Fort Duquesne, Pennsylvania - Pittsburg's Golden Triangle - Established by the French in 1754, this post was situated at the junction where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form the Ohio River, in what is now downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

French and Indian WarThe French and Indian War - By the middle of the 18th Century, the power of France had been extended over a great part of North America. The first efforts toward the settlement of the Mississippi Valley were made by the French at several of its remotest points on the Great Lakes, on the Wabash River, at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and on the Mississippi River, where their settlements extended across the Mississippi to St. Genevieve, and St. Louis in present-day Missouri; on the Mexican Gulf, at Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama; and on the Lower Mississippi River at New Orleans, Louisiana.

Fort Antes, Pennsylvania and the Big Runaway - The home of Colonel John Henry Antes, a member of the Pennsylvania Militia, this fort was surrounded by a stockade. Built in about 1777, it was situated on the east side of Antes Creek, overlooking and on the left bank of the West Branch Susquehanna River on a plateau in Nippenose Township in western Lycoming County.

Fort Necessity - Defending Against the French Hoping to defend against an imminent attack by French soldiers, a young George Washington built a fort of necessity in May, 1754. Not a a typical military fort, it was small and simple, even for a wilderness fort.


Fort Bedford, PennsylvaniaFort Bedford, Pennsylvania - Supplying Forbes Road - A French and Indian War-era British military fortification, this post was located in what was first called Raystown, Pennsylvania which was first settled in 1751. Later, the settlement was renamed Bedford.


Tragedies of Gold Seekers - Sudden riches often lead to madness, say old prospectors. Often, the mere idea that he has acquired a vast fortune unsettles a man's mind. Also, tragedy in some dreadful form often stalks at the elbow of those searchers for wealth in the hills whose picks have tapped deposits of extraordinary richness.


The National Road - First Highway in America - By the early 19th century, the wilderness of the Ohio country had given way to settlement. The road George Washington had cut through the forest many years before, called the Braddock Road, was replaced by the National Road.


Columbia River below the Cascades, 1901An Early Sketch of Oregon - The western coasts of North America were first partially explored by the Spaniards in the century succeeding the discovery of America. Their explorations were later followed by the English. In 1578, Sir Francis Drake ranged this coast from 38 to 48 degrees. This region was called by the English, New Albion.


Exploration of America - Making it easier for our readers to find things, a new category which groups our Explorers and American Exploration in one place.

A Century of Exploration - Exploring the New World - Tales of triumph and defeat during the 16th Century exploration of America, from the book An American History by David Saville Muzzey, published in 1920 by Ginn and Co.


A Sketch of the Early "Far West" - Twenty years after the great event occurred, which has immortalized the name of Christopher Columbus, Florida was discovered by Juan Ponce de Leon, ex-governor of Puerto Rico.


The Rocky MountainsDiscovery of the Rocky Mountains - When France was mistress of half of North America the dream of the many bold spirits among her explorers and voyageurs was the finding of a northwest passage to the Western sea, as they designated the Pacific Ocean, and to this end, they devoted much valorous effort.


FDR delivers infamy speech to Congress, December 8, 1941

Infamy Speech - Thought to be one of the most famous American political speeches of the 20th Century, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Infamy" speech to Congress on December 8, 1941, was in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii the previous day by the Empire of Japan.


There's plenty more coming, so check back often on our "What's New" page HERE.

Old West Wisdom

Never hire people you drink with.

When a bad man dies he either goes to hell or the Pecos.

Go after life as if it's something that's got to be roped in a hurry before it gets away.

Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.

There are more horses asses than horses.

A good run is better than a bad stand.

The length of the conversation don't tell nothin' about the size of the intellect.

A halo only needs to drop a few inches to become a noose.

More Old West Wisdom HERE.

Legends Photo Prints include vintage and new photos



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Visit the Rocky Mountain General Store 

Featured Travel Destination  

Columbia, CaliforniaBack in 2009 we took a memorable trip out to California and ran into some Ghost Town gold of our own.


Columbia got its start in March, 1850 when Dr. Thaddeus Hildreth, his brother George, and a couple of other prospectors made camp near here. In just two days, they hit a bonanza and the gulch yielded more than $4,500 in gold ore. News like that doesn’t take long to spread and the area was soon flooded with thousands of miners hoping to find their fortunes. Within no time, a tent and shack city was formed called Hildreth's Diggings. The site was later called American Camp before it was changed permanently to Columbia.

Within weeks, the town boomed to a population of about 5,000 people, exclusively men for the first year. That changed in 1851, when the local community brass band heralded the arrival of the first white woman in the camp. Though the camp was booming, it almost died a certain death in that first year, as water was in short supply. Having no natural streams and with water crucial for placer mining, the miners scrambled to find a solution. 


In June, 1851, the Tuolumne County Water Company was established bring water into the area. Unfortunately, the rates were very high; however, the town endured. By 1852, the town sported eight hotels, more than 20 retail stores, four banks, two firehouses, a newspaper, three churches and over 40 saloons and gambling halls. During this time, most of the tents and shanties were replaced with wooden structures and streets were laid out. Known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines,” the town provided all types of entertainment to the many miners of the area. But, like other boisterous mining camps, it was not always known as a peaceful town, as residents often took the law into their own hands and a number of men were lynched. At, its height of prosperity, Columbia as California's second-largest city and was even considered briefly as a site for the state capitol of California.


However, in 1854, a devastating fire destroyed six city blocks in Columbia, destroying everything in Columbia’s central business district except one brick building. The residents soon rebuilt some 30 buildings; this time with brick produced locally and reinforced with iron doors and window shutters. Bricks were also laid on the buildings' roofs to add additional fire protection.


That same year, the Columbia and Stanislaus River Water Company was established to build a 60 mile aqueduct to supply the mines. Though it would be several years before it was completed, the estimated cost involved was thought to be more feasible than the high rates paid to the Tuolumne County Water Company to haul the water in.


In July, 1855 the New England Water Company began to pipe water into the city for domestic use and fire fighting purposes. Seven cisterns, each with a capacity of about fourteen thousand gallons, were built under the streets. Amazingly, these early pipes were utilized until 1950, and some of the cisterns, continue to store water for fire fighting today.



Read more about Columbia California HERE.


You can see more about our 2009 trip out to California in the Blog among a few other posts in August of 2009 HERE.



Featured Product:

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas!
Valentines Day Gift Ideas
From personalized items to Gift Baskets, check out these Gift Ideas for Valentines Day from Legends' General Store.


What our readers are saying about Legends Of America.


This is the best program I receive on my computer. Thank you so much - Richard (Newsletter Reader)


I'd lkie to thank you for your efforts in producing such a website. I've always been fascinated with the history of the west, as I grew up in the east and always wanted to 'wander west' as a child - Jack

Very interesting site. Since I am an 80 year old senior I [love] treasure stories of the past and am fascinated by old ghost towns. I visited Jerome, Arizona years ago before people started moving back in. Keep up the good work - Dave, Texas


I was searching for outdated laws in Oklahoma and came across this website. I found it to be enlightening and interesting. - Barbara, Oklahoma.


Read more feedback here in our Guest Book.

Route 66  

First Steak N Shake, photo courtesy Steak N ShakeDid you know that the first "Steak N Shake" was on the Mother Road?  

Before entering Bloomington, you will first travel through Normal, Illinois, though over the years the two cities have virtually merged. As you travel Route 66 you’ll have to watch carefully to observe where Normal ends and Bloomington begins.


Normal, Illinois


In 1854 the town of North Bloomington was platted in an area that was commonly known as "The Junction,” at the intersection of the Illinois Central and the Chicago & Alton railroads. This parcel of land belonged to Joseph Parkinson, after whom Parkinson Street was named. Though platted, the town was not developed until three years later when Jesse Fell began to build in an area that lay northeast of the original plat. Fell is referred to as the "founding father" of Normal, as he soon became a central figure in the town’s development. Early industries in the town included nurseries, horse breeders, and canneries.

In 1857, Governor William Bissell signed a bill to create a "normal” school, which was the term used for schools established as teachers’ colleges. Jesse Fell took up the campaign for Bloomington and obtained financial backing for the school. Abraham Lincoln, in his capacity as an attorney, drew up the bond guaranteeing that Bloomington citizens would fulfill their financial commitments. The University first held classes in Bloomington while the campus was being built north of the town.

Continue Reading about Bloomington and Normal HERE.

Did you know? That you can see daily stories, from the Old West to Route 66, on our Legends Facebook Page? With our Good Guy and Bad Guy of the week spotlights, travel destinations and Quirky Saturday, it's a daily dose of Legends sure to please!


Follow Legends' travels on our 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-Alexander


Dave Alexander
Owner/Operations Mgr.


Email - Kathy
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