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Legends Letter

April, 2004


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We've got the fever!!  Spring fever, that is. Last month, in our neck of the woods, there were more cold days than not, but on the few days when the mercury on that rusty thermometer broke 50º, we were outa here!


Sticking to places closer to home, we've been day-trippin' every chance we get -- checking out some historic military forts, researching a few more haunted places, and as always, chatting up the locals. When it was too cold to get out, we've been catching up on some past adventures, loading up bunches of new pictures, building some new area directories, and developing a new logo.


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. And, because it has been so popular, we have added a website within the website that focuses on the the Old West, its history, and its flavorful personalities. In fact, this will most likely become its own site soon, as we have registered the domain name -- "Old West Legends." Stay tuned.


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


Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor





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In this Edition:


New Additions to Legends


Leadville, Colorado - Cloud City, USA


Featured Book-Off the Beaten Path


Elizabethtown, New Mexico


The Old West


Train Robber - Black Jack Ketchum


Legends' General Store


Haunted Forts of Kansas


New Additions to Legends of America  


Sticking to places closer to home, we explored the life and history of Jesse James and found that though this fellow has a very large folklore following, he was also a very dangerous dude. Before his outlaw days, James was involved in the whole Bleeding Kansas Border Wars, which, of course, led us down another path to the Lawrence, Kansas massacre and the Haunted Eldridge Hotel. Stay tuned, the history on Bleeding Kansas is too fascinating to ignore. We'll be adding that soon.


We also found that the Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri is said to be haunted, so we added that story, which led to us thinking about other hauntings. So, we "revisited" Central City, Colorado where we found several Gilpin County ghostly spirits, as well as a couple of haunted hotels in Estes Park, Colorado that just had to be added.


Continuing to bump into things along the way, we have added a bucket load of content including a new ghost town that we ran into -- LeHunt, Kansas; we added a treasure trove of stories on finding lost caches in New Mexico and in Missouri; took an adventure to Fort Scott, Kansas, which is a great historic city, by the way; and really expanded our Old West Cookin' pages to include Old West Remedies, Dutch Oven Cooking and Campfire Cooking.

What our readers are

saying about Legends of America:


I teach 3rd grade in McPherson [Kansas] and one of my reading groups is reading a story called Wagon Wheels. It is a story of one family's journey to Nicodemus [Kansas.] Your website helped us to explore and learn more about the history of Nicodemus! Thank you!

-- Janet


This is a very informative site and kept my interest for hours. Thank you. -- Jessica


I love to read about ghost towns and hauntings. Love your site!! -- Cassie


Very nice collection of New Mexico history. -- Victor

Featured Travel Destination   


Leadville, Colorado -- Cloud City, USA

Leadville, Colorado, often called "The Two Mile High City" and "Cloud City," is the highest incorporated city in the world at 10,430 feet. Located at the foot of two of Colorado's highest peaks - Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, Leadville is one of America's last remaining authentic mining towns.

Established in 1859 when gold was discovered in nearby California Gulch, Leadville was once called home to Doc Holliday and the infamous Horace and Baby Doe Tabor. When silver was discovered in the area, the town boomed and by 1893 the population was almost 60,000, but in the same year it began to die when the United States moved to the gold standard.

In 1895, past its heyday and struggling,  Leadville attempted to attract visitors by building a mammoth Ice Castle to draw sightseers, create jobs and rescue the town's flagging economy. The biggest ice structure ever built in the United States, the Crystal Castle encompassed 58,000 square feet.

Today, this historic town is filled with pristine old buildings, small town hospitality, a host of museums. Just outside of town is the wonderful Route of the Silver Kings, a gravel trek outside of Leadville that will lead you to a number of abandoned mines and historic buildings.

You can read the whole story of Leadville, Colorado by clicking HERE.

What do you think??

Recently, we got an e-mail from one of our readers who obtained an old tin-type that looks like it could possibly be the Dalton Brothers. We agreed to put a copy up on our pages and ask you what you think? Take a look and zap us an e-mail.

Click HERE to see the enlargement and several comparison photographs.

Update: Sorry, the owner sold the picture, so it has been taken down

Featured Travel Guides and Books  


Off The Beaten PathOff the Beaten Path -- by Reader's Digest


A guide to more than 1,000 scenic and interesting places still un-crowded and inviting. The Reader's Digest editors have searched the highways, back roads, and byways of America to find the most appealing and unusual out-of-the-way places. Includes 380 color photographs of natural and man-made wonders including scenic attractions, wildlife preserves, quiet woodlands, pristine lakes and streams, historic villages, ghost towns, and much, much more. Legends' General Store has both new and used versions of this great book.


Adventure isn't hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life -- facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and in the process, discovering our own unique potential.

--John Amatt organizer and participant in Canada's first successful expedition to the summit of Mt Everest.

Ghost Towns



Elizabethtown, New Mexico


At one time Elizabethtown boasted 7,000 people. Now, its few remaining buildings look silently over the beautiful Moreno Valley, hanging on to nothing more than its memories.


In 1866, gold was discovered in the area and nearby Baldy Mountain was crawling with prospectors on what was once the largest land grant in U.S. History. The town quickly boomed and shared its history with notorious visitors such as outlaw Black Jack Ketchum and gunslinger Clay Allison. Unfortunately, when the gold played out, so did Elizabethtown.


Almost entirely gone, E-Town, the name given to it by the locals, was saved by one of the descendents of an original resident and now features a museum, tour and video presentation. But, there is nothing about Elizabethtown that feels as if it is a commercial "tourist trap". Several ruins of the original town remain, as well as the old cemetery which looks out upon the beautiful Moreno Valley.


You can read the whole story of Elizabethtown, New Mexico by clicking HERE.

NEW!! Area Directories!

Are you a business from Northeast New Mexico. Or, from any other area that we currently write about?

We have just added to our pages Area Directories that provide information on attractions, lodging, dining and more for our readers.

For our readers, check out these directories for a quick reference guide to the places that we include in Legends of America

For businesses, you can check our Area Directories for accuracy and add or make changes to your listing right on-line.


The Old West  



Old West Legends is really growing due to its popularity. When it comes to history, we obviously have a fascination with the Old West. So, Legends of America is working to add more stories every day. Recently, we've added Here Lies the Legends - pages that describe how these historical figures died and their burial places. We've also added a couple of lady outlaws including Belle Starr, and a woman who probably wasn't an outlaw at all, but has unfortunately been portrayed as such -- Cattle Kate.


We've also recently formed a partnership with True West Magazine, who we utilize extensively in our research for our Old West articles. For over 50 years, this great magazine has been writing about the West, but when we contacted them about representing their magazine on our website, this was a new concept for them. Legends of America  is their first website partnership and we hope you will support us both.


Read all of our Old West Legends stories, by clicking HERE.



Outlaws and Gunslingers



Train Robber Black Jack Ketchum


Black Jack Ketchum was notorious in northeast New Mexico during the late 1890s. Black Jack and his gang had taken a liking to robbing trains between Folsom and Des Moines, New Mexico. At the same time, they were known in the area as well-mannered young men, riding good horses, flashing plenty of money, and claiming to be cowboys. Often they arrived at local functions where the women were enraptured by their manners, frequenting several establishments in Elizabethtown and Cimarron, New Mexico. Not until later, when they were captured, did townspeople learn these young men were actually members of "Black Jack" Ketchum's outlaw gang.

Tried and convicted, Black Jack was hanged on April 26, 1901, a big attraction in the small town of Clayton, New Mexico. However. the town of Clayton had no experience in hanging and due to a mishap with the rope, he was decapitated.

Read the whole story about Black Jack Ketchum by clicking HERE.



Death on the Gallows - The Story of Legal Hangings in New Mexico, by West Gilbreath

In the Old West, execution was a common form of punishment, and until 1923 hanging was the most common form of execution in New Mexico. West Gilbreath has documented New Mexico's legal hangings, and a few illegal ones, to tell the story of how dozens of hardened criminals, and perhaps a few innocents, were dropped from the gallows and jerked to their final reward. (out of stock)

Legends' General Store


The Legends' General Store has partnered with several vendors to offer products that we think will be of interest to our customers. In addition to our exclusive travel books and postcards, we now display a wide variety of turqouise jewelry, and great products from the History and Discovery Channels.


We hope you will support the website by visiting the Legends' General Store and our affiliate partners.


Recently, we have removed ALL shipping and handling charges from postcards!

From Legends' General Store

Postcard-O-Mania - Literally, thousands of postcards from across the U.S. See Route 66, the Old West, Native Americans, and all the states.

Route 66 Postcard

Ghosts and Mysteries



There is just no researching historic places without bumping into a few ghost stories. Most recently, we spent some time at several of the Old Military Forts of Kansas, which are just filled with ghostly legends. Fort Leavenworth, the oldest military post west of the Mississippi River, is said to also be the most haunted fort in the nation. We also added some haunting material on Fort Scott, Fort Dodge and Fort Riley. Given their violent histories, it is not surprising that these historic forts include a few ghostly visitors. 

To read more about the Haunted Forts of Kansas, click HERE.

New Button  Hey, check this out!!

We got a phone call the other day from the Sci-Fi Channel!! They are looking for leads to any paranormal story with "Proof-Positive" evidence. Do you know of such a story? If you do, perhaps you and Legends of America could get "newsworthy" by helping out the Sci-Fi Channel. Zap us an e-mail if you know of a story!

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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