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Legends Letter

April, 2007

 

Kathy Weiser

Boy, oh boy, oh boy! It's 70 degrees outside and that does wonders for my spirit, not to mention giving me an itch to travel that just has to be scratched. 

 

I've been trying, planning, scheming, and begging a couple of different friends to take a leisurely little trip from Kansas City to Tombstone, Arizona by way of Route 66. I've never been to Tombstone! It feels as if my knowledge base has a cavernous void and I just can't say I'm a Wild West enthusiast, much less an "expert," if I've never walked those same dusty streets as did the Earps, Doc Holliday, and the Clanton Gang. This idea to go to Tombstone pretty much germinated with the first snow. What a fantasy - southern Arizona in the winter. Hiking sleeveless, knowing my family is back in Kansas bundled in hats, coats, and mittens. I would have felt pity for them, of course. But plead, wheedle, beg and scheme as I might, I couldn't get anyone to go! Darn their "real" jobs, darn their family obligations, darn their own businesses. What do you mean, you can't take two weeks off to travel a little ole' 3,000+ mile trip? Alas, this self-employed girl who's job IS to travel, just didn't want to make that long trip by myself. So, I pouted as I watched the snow fall and the streets ice over through the window in my little office. I MUST somehow figure out how to get to Tombstone! Well, it's not going to happen in the middle of winter and it's not going to happen the way I planned it, but I'm going!

 

Husband Dave is at a convention in Las Vegas this week. He has one of those "real" jobs, you know. Hmmm .... that's kind of close ... not too far ... around the corner from Tombstone, huh? Well, ok, my mind works in mysterious ways. Ok Dave, you go to Las Vegas and do your "conventioning." A couple of days later, I'll fly into Phoenix and do a few of days touring on my own. While I'm in the area, I just gotta run up to Sedona, Jerome, and Prescott. That neighborhood must have about a bajillion ghost towns, not to mention a couple of ancient Indian ruins.

 

Then, Dave, you just take a puddle jumper down to Phoenix and join me, ok? Then, we'll go to Tombstone! Plus, we'll see a whole bunch more ghost towns and other interesting nooks and crannies along the way. We'll make a circle trip from Phoenix to Tucson, and Tombstone, then a little side jaunt across the border into New Mexico for a couple of great ghost towns - Steins and Shakespeare, then mosy back northeast through Fort Bowie and Globe, before hopping a plane back to Kansas City. How does that sound, Dave? Ok! We're on our way and I can't wait. Stay tuned for bunches of great photos and more tales of Arizona.

 

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 - Dodge City

 

The Old West - Vigilantes

 

Featured Book - Route 66 Package Deal

 

Ghosts & Mysteries - Spirits of Route 66

 

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Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

 

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

 

When you are not looking at it, this sentence is in Spanish.

 

My mind works like lightning, one brilliant flash and it's gone

 

 

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New Additions to Legends of America

 

 

The Old West wasn't just filled with outlaws, it was also filled with scoundrels. Check out our new story on one of these many rouges - Lou "The Fixer" Blonger, King of the Denver underworld crime ring. But, before the "Fixer" came along, there was Soapy Smith, the undisputed King of the Frontier Conmen - from Texas, to Colorado, to Alaska. While these two scoundrels were operating their shell games and cons in Colorado, the governor came down hard, resulting in a fascinating story of the Denver City Hall War. If you still haven't had enough of these scoundrels, be sure to check out our ever growing Scoundrel List.

 

Our newest "main page" is Historical Text. While we've been posting lots of stories over the last several years that were written by the very people that lived during the days of the Old West, there was no way for you to find them. This new Historical Text page will point you to those historic articles, and, there's more. While doing the research for our many stories, I constantly run into newspaper accounts of the actual events. To start with, you will find Dodge City Historic Text - six pages long!!  That was one wild town back in the late 1800's and the newspapers had a bunch to say about it!   Stay tuned as we continue to add up these "real life" accounts of our already published tales.

 

In preparation for my Arizona trip, you'll already see a couple of tales on ghost towns. Why would I write them before I go, you might ask? Helps me when I'm there not to miss anything. Then, just come back and update the tale with new information and my own pics. See one of the greatest ghost towns in Arizona - Jerome and, if you like a different point of view, check out the Ghosts of Jerome. It's apparently very haunted. Also see another ghost town -- that of Bumble Bee and stay tuned for updates and new Arizona ghost towns next month.

 

Well, if you've been hanging around for any time at all, you know that I'm enamored with words - most especially Old West quotes, definitions, and slang. While stumbling on to a most interesting book, I found even more information about the Evolution of American English. Almost from the time that the first Englishman set foot upon American soil, our language began to evolve. Explains a lot about how come we Americans speak English in a different manner than do others.

 

Last, but not least, is our newest collection of Saloon Style tin signs. We've got a bucket load of folks that are wanting saloon style decor. The Saloon Photographs are going nuts, so we've now added a whole line of beer, whiskey, and tavern style signs!

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

 

 

From Legends' General Store

Saloon Style Nostalgic Tin SignsSaloon Style Tin Signs - Decorate with saloon-like decor with these nostalgic tin signs. Find saloons, restaurants, liquor and beer, including Budweiser, Coors, and more. All signs are made of heavy gauge metal and have rolled edges for safe handling.  Great for hanging or framing!

Nostalgic Saloon Sylte Tin Signs  Saloon Style Nostalgic Tin Signs

 

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.

 

A cowboy once made the mistake of arguing with a trapper over whether wildcats had long tails or not. The trapper settled the argument by displaying his skills with a Colt .45 revolver. The coroner's decision was that any Hombre who was crazy enough to call a long-haired, whisky-drinking trapper a liar had died of ignorance.

 

When Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their journey of the West, he believed that prehistoric animals still lived in the unexplored regions.

 

Featured Travel Destination 

 

 

Dodge City, Kansas - A Wicked Little Town

"Kansas has but one Dodge City, with a broad expanse of territory sufficiently vast for an empire; we have only room for one Dodge City; Dodge, a synonym for all that is wild, reckless, and violent; Hell on the Plains."

-- A Kansas Newspaper in the 1870's

 

Of all the Old West towns that immediately jump into our minds, Dodge City is one of the firsts. This was one wild town in the late 1800's and continues to offer up a a wide array of legends, lore and history to travelers in western Kansas. Once called home or visited by such notables as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate, and Clay Allison, this old town had a reputation for being the most wicked town in the Old West.

 

It all began when Fort Dodge was established to protect the many travelers along the Santa Fe Trail. Nearby, a small settlement of little more than a tavern and a couple of homes were built in what would become Dodge City. When the railroad made plans to  move into Dodge, a group of businessmen organized the Dodge City Town Company in 1872 and began the planning and development of the town site. 

 

With a railhead closer to Texas and the thousands of cattle that needed to sent east, Dodge City became a fast and furious town. In the burgeoning settlement, there was initially no law enforcement and Dodge City quickly acquired its infamous stamp of lawlessness and gun slinging. As the many buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters, and soldiers streamed into the settlement after long excursions on the prairie, they quickly found the saloons, and the inevitable fights ensued.  With the gunfighters dying with their boots on, Dodge City developed the Boot Hill Cemetery, which was used until 1878.

 

During these booming years of Dodge City fame, it was called home to some of the most famous of the infamous names of the Old West. In addition to Wyatt Earp, Doc, and Big Nose Kate, there were dozens of others who made names for themselves on the frontier including Bat Masterson, Luke Short, and Bill Tilghman as well as lesser known figures with crazy names, such as "Dirty Dave" Rudabaugh, "Cockeyed Frank" Loving, Hoodoo Brown, and "Mysterious Dave" Mather, all honing their gunfighting skills in Dodge. Of those who didn't, they often made a permanent home at Boot Hill.

 

Newspapers ranted and raved about the lawless town out on the prairie, one calling it the "Deadwood of Kansas."

 

Once the railroad moved to Texas and the buffalo were gone, Dodge City became a quiet community.

 

See More:

 

Dodge City -- A Wicked Little Town

The Beginnings of Dodge City - A 1913 account from the former mayor.

Dodge City Historical Text - Accounts of Dodge City from newspapers and letters.

Populating Boot Hill - Another 1913 account from the former mayor.

 

What our readers are saying about Legends of America:

 

I think it is a great site. My husband and I are fascinated with ghost towns and I was looking some up so we could see some. I came across the St. James Hotel. It said it is haunted and has a lot of activity going on still. I also liked reading about the story behind the hotel and the city of Cimarron, New Mexico.
- Mandy Frey

 

I am driving Route 66 on a motorbike in September and was checking out all websites........ found this site.......no more checking, great work by whoever !

-- Neil O Sullivan

 

A few years ago I decided to try to get to all 50 states before I turned 50 (2/10/2010) and as of today I have 8 to go. Next month I'm traveling through Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. Wish I had found this site long ago!!! Great Job! -- Susan
 

Tell us what you think!

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Questions From Our Readers:

 

We have a question about Route 66 maybe you can help us with.  We know there is a Highway 66 that runs through Rockwall, Texas, just east of Dallas.  Do you know how, or if, that  66 is part of the famous Route 66?

 

Answer: Highway  66 that runs through Rockwall is a Texas State Highway. It was never part of the "famous" Route 66, which was a federal highway and ran only through the Texas panhandle.

 

 

The Old West

 

 

Vigilantes of the Old West

 

In the Wild West, where law was often non-existent, it was common for  vigilantes to take "enforcement of the law," as well as moral codes, into their own hands. The term vigilante stems from the its Spanish equivalent, meaning private security agents.

 

Vigilantes were most common in mining communities, but were also known to exist in cow towns and in farming settlements. Most often, these groups formed before any law and order existed in a new settlement. Justice included whipping and banishment from the town, but more often – offenders were lynched. Sometimes; however, vigilante groups formed in places where "authority” did exist, but where the "law” was deemed weak, intimidated by criminal elements, corrupt, or insufficient.

Many times the vigilantes were seen as heroes and supported by the law-abiding citizens, seen as a necessary step to fill a much needed gap. Though this was usually the case, sometimes the vigilance committee began to wield too much power and became corrupt themselves. At other times, vigilantes were nothing more than ruthless mobs, attempting to take control away from authorities or masking themselves as "do-gooders" when their intents were little more than ruthless or they had criminal intent on their own minds.

While there were hundreds of various vigilante groups throughout the Old West, you will find articles on several here, including the Committee of 101 that formed in Skagway, Alaska, primarily to rid the town of the Soapy Smith and his gang of con men. Also see the fierce Missouri Bald Knobbers, who formed when lawless took over after the Civil War and ended up being lawless themselves. The Montana Vigilantes hanged Bannack Sheriff Henry Plummer in 1864, who they said was the leader of a group of road agents called the Innocents. However, history now tells us, that Plummer probably had no hand in the crimes, and it was the vigilantes themselves who were guilty of the rampant thievery and murder in Montana.

More ...

 

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Old West Wisdom

 

The easiest way to eat crow is while it's still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.

 

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

 

The man that straddles the fence usually has a sore crotch.

 

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Ghosts & Mysteries

 

 

Ghosts of Route 66

If it's old, if it has an interesting history, it is most often, allegedly haunted. This also the case of the historic Mother Road - Route 66. We think of this historic road as a pleasure trip for those many who had discovered vacations in the 1940's. But, it was also a road of "trauma" for many, especially during the depression when those traveling this vintage path searched desperately for a better outcome. In the dust bowl 1930's thousands of families hit that pavement to escape an oblique future.

In any event, seemingly some of these folks, as well as others that predated the existence of the famous highway, apparently continue to lurk along this vintage path.

In Illinois you will find a number of ghosts in Springfield, most especially that of our long dead President Lincoln. Also lurking at the Inn at 835 is harmless woman who continues to look after her old home. Continuing on to Missouri, St. Louis provides numerous peaks into the paranormal including a number of ghost stories and legends. At the Lemp Mansion, which is not on Route 66, but close, the ghostly happenings have put the inn on the list of the top ten most haunted places in America. Continuing through Missouri will find a strange tale of a long dead Indian at Jerome, ghosts at the Wilson Creek battle ground near Springfield, and an unexplained Spook Light near Joplin.

In the short 13 miles that Route 66 crosses Kansas, Fort Blair in Baxter Springs, once the site of several Civil War skirmishes evidently continues to host some lost soldiers.

As the traveler continues on Route 66, he or she might encounter ghosts at a number of places in Oklahoma including the Tulsa Little Theatre, in Bristow, and at the newly reopened Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.

More tales of strange occurrences, including dancers coninuting to enjoy the Big Band sounds can be found at the Natatorium in Amarillo, Texas. In New Mexico, you will find two of the most haunted cities in the U.S. - Albuquerque and Santa Fe, who have so many lurking spirits, we can't begin to even mention them.

Stay in the many hotels along Arizona's stretch of the road and you might meet a spirit at the Oatman Hotel, Hotel Weatherford or  Monte Vista Hotel in Flagstaff. If that's not enough spooky places for you, we have an entire list of Haunted Hotels in Arizona!

 

You have almost reached the end of the Mother Road once you cross the California line, but the ghosts are still with you at the Suicide Bridge in Pasadena and the haunted Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica

 

Be careful where you "lurk" during your Route 66 travels - there may be more than you see!.

 

More ...

 

 

 

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Did you know?......

 

San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

 

You may not fish on a camel's back in Idaho.

 

At 8,000 feet deep, Oregon's Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America.

 

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

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

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Kathy Weiser

Owner/Editor

   www.legendsofamerica.com

Email

 

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