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Legends Letter

February, 2007

 

Kathy Weiser

Hey, friends and neighbors, another newsletter coming at cha! With these freezing temperatures we've been having in Kansas, this kid ain't moving outside the house so I've had a whole lot of

time to write and to check into stuff. If you haven't visited lately, you'll see that the extra time is paying off in lots of new articles, bunches of new postcards, books, and some changes to the website.

 

The biggest change you'll see to the website is a new menu at the top of the page. This has allowed us to include a lot more information available at a touch. The website has become so large that I know you can sometimes get lost, so we're really hoping that this will help out. If you can't see the menu, it utilizes code called javascript. So, if your browser is set to "not display" javascript, you won't be able to see it. Change your settings, and viola! -- it will be there. Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions.

 

Another change you will see is that photo enlargements are not always opening up in a new window. We figure you know how to use your "back" button on your browser and all those windows can get in the way. This is a gradual process, as there are more than 10,000 photos on the website, but the plan is that all photos will open in the same page.

 

Well, as you can see, cold weather is keeping me in and I'm being too technical, so we'll get on to the good stuff.

 

In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!

 

Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor

 

 

 

 

In this Edition: 

 

New Additions

 

Featured Travel Destination

 

The Old West

 

Featured Book

 

Ghosts & Mysteries

 

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Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

 

Out of my mind. Back in five minutes

 

Time is the best teacher; Unfortunately it kills all its students!

 

I used up all my sick days so I called in dead!

 

New Additions to Legends of America

 

 

Really focused on the Old West, you'll find a bucket-load of new articles on everything from outlaws to lawmen, to Texas Treasure Tales.

 

Check out our new Old West Feuds and Range Wars. If the Old West wasn't filled with violence enough -- stemming from Indian raids, numerous outlaws, and the ever-present vigilantes trying to control them, then another common event was the frequent feuds, range wars, and political conflicts that created yet more bloodshed in the Wild West. Here, you'll find the Mason County War in the Texas Hill country, the Johnson County War that came to a head between the cattle barons and small ranchers in Wyoming, the

Pleasant Valley War between  the cattle-herding Grahams and the sheep-herding Tewksburys in Arizona, and lots more.

 

We've also added up some new gunfighters and outlaws, such as that dastardly Robert Ford who killed Jesse James. You'll also see

Tiburcio Vasquez, who led a gang of desperados throughout California for more than two decades before he was caught and hanged. You'll find several several articles that were written by Bat Masterson back around the turn of the century on people he actually knew such as lawmen, Bill Tilghman and Ben Thompson, and gunfighter Luke Short. We figure Bat can tell it better than we can. And, you'll also find an article on Masterson, himself, written at about the same time, by his editor.

 

I'm thinking "warm" for travel destinations so there's a couple of new ghost towns in southern New Mexico including Shakespeare and Steins. While you're in the area, you ought to go ahead and cross over into Arizona where you can check out the old Fort Bowie National Historic Site, which commemorates the story of the bitter conflict between the Chiricahua Apache and the United States military. Since you're so close, be sure to run on down to Fairbank and Tombstone, with lots of ghost towns in the area.

 

On the Native American front, you'll find Battles & Massacres of the Indian Wars. Though there were hundreds of battles across the American West, here is a summary of some of them, including: The Battle of Cibecue in Arizona, the battle at what is now the Lava Beds National Monument in California, the Battle of Washita where Black Kettle and his band were  massacred, and many more. You'll also find that our List of Old West Indians has many updates, plus full articles on Cochise, the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, Black Kettle, and Quanah Parker.

 

Well, I think that's enough "new" for now, so I'll be mosyin' on.

 

 

From Legends' General Store

Vintage Photographs of the Old West - From our personal Photo Print Shop, order prints that provide dramatic glimpses into the rich heritage of the American West.

    

  

 

Old West Factoids:

 

In Deer Lodge, Montana a cowboy evangelist angered over a snoring parishioner once fired a bullet over the head of the dozing man.

 

Though Judge Isaac Parker sentenced 156 men and four women to death on the Fort Smith, Arkansas gallows, no women actually died by the hangman's noose.

 

When John Wesley Hardin was awakened by snoring in an adjacent hotel room, he fired his six-gun through the wall in the direction of the snores, thus curing the man of snoring, and everything else, for that matter.

 

Featured Travel Destination 

 

 

Route 66 in California

 

California's ribbon of the Mother Road stretches from the Colorado River near Needles, all the way to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica. Traveling through deserts, mountains, ghost towns, metropolitan areas, and beach communities, California's 320 miles of the Mother Road provide a wide variety of geography, cultures, architecture, and photographic opportunities.

Like other states, many of the vintage icons along the old Mother Road have been obliterated in California, by the bustling population's desire to build "new and shiny," especially in the cities, where you will need to search a little harder to find the Route 66 era views. Put on your "patience” hat as you head into the second largest city in the United States and give yourself plenty of time, but persevere, as the historic views are well worth it.

You will begin your trek across California at Needles, which provides a peek of several vintage motels before you move into the Mojave Desert and the lonely ghost towns of Goff, Essex, Chambless, Amboy and Ludlow before rejoining I-40. 

Take a side trip to the historic ghost town of Calico on your way into Barstow. In Barstow, you can still see many vintage icons, including the El Rancho motel which was constructed from railroad ties, and the restored Harvey House Hotel and depot which houses the Route 66 Museum. 

On your way to Victorville, take a peek at the Exotic World Museum, a tribute to burlesque, at nearby Helendale, and another Route 66 Museum once you enter Victorville.

As you continue your journey into the San Bernardino Valley, you will quickly know that you are entering the sprawling Los Angeles proper; however, San Bernardino provides a view of several vintage businesses as well as the world's first McDonalds, which is now a museum. And, don't miss the infamous Wigwam Motel on the border between San Bernardino and its suburb Rialto,  that once rented its rooms by the hour with its sign displaying "Do It In a Teepee."

Continuing on through Fontana to Rancho Cucamonga, don't miss the old 1920s gas station, and the Route 66 Visitors Center and Museum.  As you pass through Upland, grab a buffalo burger at the landmark Buffalo Inn, before making your way on to Pasadena.

From here the original road survives for 80 miles through Los Angeles and its suburbs, where it is known variously as Foothill Boulevard, Colorado Boulevard, Huntington Drive, Sunset Boulevard, and Santa Monica Boulevard until you reach the western end of the Mother Road at the Santa Monica Pier.

 

Check out the historic 1913 Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, continue to downtown Los Angeles, where you can see dozens of historic buildings, and move on through Hollywood and Beverly Hills for a peek at the "stars" before finally reaching your Santa Monica.

 

More on California Route 66

 

Featured Map:

 

Route 66 eight state map seriesThe Route 66 Map Series -  Created by Mother Road Experts Jerry McClanahan and Jim Ross, the Route 66 Map Series, consisting of a separate fold-out map for each Route 66 state, provides an easy-to-follow through route and clear, simple directions to keep you on the right track as you take the historic journey down America's legendary highway. Each map is generously illustrated with original nostalgia art by McClanahan, and text by Ross includes the history of the road, tips on finding abandoned segments, and information pertaining to each state. These eight maps are an absolute must for every Route 66 cruiser.

New - $9.99 - Retails for $12.95 -  Item #bk154

 

What our readers are saying about Legends of America:

 

Just thought I'd send you a line while spending another evening browsing through the wonderful links on your website. This is one of the most interesting and intriguing websites I have seen about the Old West. I can't seem to leave it alone when I know I should be looking up other things on the web. Thanks for entertaining my evenings.

-- Debbie, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 

I really enjoyed viewing the [Native American] proverb sections along with the historical photos. - Valerie

 

I've seen the movie Cars and inspired me to search up more info about "Route 66". This site had a lot of ghost towns to look at, its a lovely site!!!

 

 

Tell us what you think!

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The Old West

 

 

Cowboy on horseCowboys on the American Frontier

From the book The Passing of the Frontier, A Chronicle of the Old West, Emerson Hough tells us about the frontier cowboy in 1918.

The Great West, vast and rude, brought forth men also vast and rude. We pass today [1918] over parts of that matchless region, and we see the red hills and ragged mountain-fronts cut and crushed into huge indefinite shapes, to which even a small imagination may give a human or more than human form. It would almost seem that the same great hand which chiseled out these monumental forms had also laid its fingers upon the people of this region and fashioned them rude and iron-like, in harmony with the stern faces set about them.

There was no prouder soul on earth than the cowboy. He was proud of being a horseman and had a contempt for all human beings who walked. On foot in his tight-toed boots he was lost; but he wished it to be understood that he never was on foot. If we rode beside him and watched his seat in the big cow saddle we found that his high and narrow heels prevented the slipping forward of the foot in the stirrup, into which he jammed his feet nearly full length. If there was a fall, the cowboy's foot never hung in the stirrup. In the corral roping, afoot, his heels anchored him. So he found his little boots not so unserviceable and retained them as a matter of pride. Boots made for the cowboy trade sometimes had fancy tops of bright-colored leather. The Lone Star of Texas was not infrequent in their ornamentation.

The West has changed. The curtain has dropped between us and its wild and stirring scenes. The old days are gone. The house dog sits on the hill where yesterday the coyote sang. There are fenced fields and in them stand sleek round beasts, deep in crops such as their ancestors never saw. In a little town nearby is the hurry and bustle of modern life. This town is far out upon what was called the frontier, long after the frontier has really gone. Guarding its ghost here stood a little army post, once one of the pillars, now one of the monuments of the West.

 

More ...

 

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Old West Wisdom

 

You can't keep trouble from visitin, but you don't have to offer it a chair.

 

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

 

Don't worry about biting off more than you can chew. Your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger than you think.

 

 

 

Ghosts & Mysteries

 

 

The Ghost of Armbruster Pike

As one might expect, historic places are often haunted, and there are lots of places in the Old West where legends abound of ghostly apparitions. One little heard of tale that mirrors the famous Donner Party tragedy was another group led by a man named Armbruster Pike. This group of pioneers were following the Donner Party, but were several weeks behind them. The same blizzard which stranded the Donner Party in the Sierra's, likewise hit the Pike party, who had missed the Overland pass cutoff and were now in the vicinity of Mooney Basin in Nevada.

The Pike Party, like the Donners were also forced to cannibalism. Once all food supplies disappeared and their livestock were eaten, Pike was one of the first to go. It is unknown whether Armbruster Pike was murdered, and his legs were cooked up, or he lost both of his legs due to frostbite. What is known, is that ever since that horrible winter, the ghost of Armbruster Pike has been seen off and on over the years. A ghost that is always described as being hunchbacked with long scraggly white hair and beard, and no legs.

Mining activities have been going on in the Bald Mountain region since the late 1800's. The remains of two ghost towns are in these mountains. One old settlement called "Joy" lies within the upper reaches of Water Canyon and another -- Bald City, is in upper Mahoney Canyon.

In this area there were numerous tales of those who had seen the wandering Pike spirit as well as stories of miners just disappearing, and never being found again. One of a miner whose body was found, but his head was missing.

During the 1980's, modern mining activities began at Bald Mountain and "new" miners continued to experience the "legend" of Armbruster Pike when they suspected the spirit of unexplained equipment failures and have seen a ghostly apparition wandering the area at night.  More ...

 

Did You Know?

 

Ghosts want to be noticed.

 

Spirits often don't know that they are dead.

 

Ghosts hang out in cliques with other ghosts.

 

Ghosts can smell things and love the smell of lemons.

 

These Ghostly "Facts" and more can be seen HERE!

 

 

 

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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

 

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Kathy Weiser

Owner/Editor

   www.legendsofamerica.com

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