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Legends Letter

June, 2005

2nd Anniversary Edition

 

Kathy Weiser

Summer's Here!!  Let's trade in the black felt for the straw and start doin' some traveling! 

 

This last month saw me in Nevada, Arizona and just a little piece of California. Dave, my fiancé and partner, has a "real job" that took him to a Las Vegas convention.  I tagged along for the "free" hotel room and the opportunity to explore another piece of the west.  Renting a car, I hit the road, returning to Las Vegas at the end of each day dusty and exhausted, and with little desire to pass along any of my hard earned cash to the many casinos of Las Vegas.

 

Riding along with me was another "free" member of the team, my friend Amy Stark.  Geared up with a brand new camera, she was able to take some wonderful photographs of Las Vegas at night.  Check out the new Las Vegas Photo Gallery.  Thanks Amy!!

 

Even though I was there in December, we made another trip to the Grand Canyon because I wanted to see it while it was warm.  That was a "just barely" though, as the next day it snowed!! It was warmer back here in Kansas City, and ohmagosh, I didn't pack for that kind of weather.

 

All in all, however, it was a great trip and you'll see lots of new photographs on our Arizona and Nevada pages as well as several new stories.

 

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

 

 

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In this Edition: 

 

 

New Additions to the Website

 

Las Vegas, New Mexico - More Wicked Than Dodge City

 

Featured Book- Mammoth Book of the West

 

Ghosts Of the West

 

Ghost Town - Goldpoint, NV - Waxing & Waning Through Time

 

 

Coming Next Month:

 

A lil' more of the Lone Star State

 

A Few New Treasure Tales

 

Route 66 complete end to end

 

New Additions to Legends of America

 

 

Well, of course you're going to see some new places in Nevada.  Not only did we visit several ghost towns, which were some of the best I've ever been to, by the way, but I also did the research on the history of Las Vegas, Nevada.  While taking a virtual tour, be sure to check out the new ghost towns of Gold Point, Nelson, and Goldfield, as well as updates to Rhyolite and Delamar, Nevada, as well as Chloride and Mineral Springs, Arizona. An interesting tidbit that we picked up while in Nelson, Nevada is that Eldorado Canyon where Nelson is located, is supposedly  haunted by canine spirits.  The locals call them the Helldogs of Eldorado Canyon.  Yup, we've got a lot of ghost stories on the website, but this is a first for ghostly dogs.

 

I also have been continuing my virtual journey along the old trails of the American West and have added up the Santa Fe Trail, as well as The Cherokee Trail of Tears.  Along the Santa Fe Trail I "met" up with Kit Carson and an "old friend" -- Lucien Maxwell, owner of the largest land grant in U.S. history.  While I had already written about Maxwell and the land grant, I ran across a story of an 1800's Santa Fe Trail Driver that wrote a story that provides some personal anecdotes about Maxwell.  Check out Lucien Maxwell by a Santa Fe Trail Driver.  Also see Tales of the Santa Fe Trail, which describes many of the pioneer experiences along the old road, as well as Cowboys on the American Frontier, that describes the life of the cowboy in the nineteenth century.

 

While I was writing up Las Vegas, Nevada, I also decided to add a little bit about Las Vegas, New Mexico.  A little bit?  No, as always, doing the research on a Wild West town takes me down all kinds of roads.  Described as the worst of the worst of the Old West towns, Las Vegas, New Mexico presented all kinds of outlaws including the Dodge City Gang, who terrorized the city of Las Vegas for two years, beginning in 1879.  I promised you last month more outlaws, but ohmagosh, I never thought I'd find this many in a small town in New Mexico.  You will now see not only members of the Dodge City Gang, including Las Vegas Justice of the Peace, Hyman G. "Hoodoo Brown" Neill, Marshal "Mysterious Dave" Mather, policeman John Joshua (J.J.) Webb, and hard case "Dirty Dave" Rudabaugh; but also Billy the Kid.  This whole "bumping" into more stories, also led me to lawman Pat Garrett, and Fort Sumner, which was the destination for the Navajo Long Walk, led by explorer, Kit Carson when the Navajo and Apache were forced onto the reservation in 1864.

 

Speaking of Indians, I also ran into an Indian outlaw called the Apache Kid who was said to have been the fiercest Apache next to Geronimo.

 

As I continued to travel the Old Trails of the West, I couldn't help but to bump into the tragic story of the Donner Party stranded in the Nevada Sierras, Buffalo Bill Cody, the Cheyenne, Apache, Blackfoot, and Arapaho Indians, as well as a "new" story written in 1897 about the Plight of the Buffalo.

 

Along another vintage path -- that of the Route 66, I finished up the end of the trail including Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Santa Monica which completes California's ribbon of the Mother Road.  And backing up just a piece, you'll now see  another ghostly stretch of Route 66 near San Jon, New Mexico as well as the very old city of Santa FeRoute 66 still has a few gaps in Illinois, but you can plan on seeing those soon.

 

 

What our readers are saying about Legends of America:

 

What a cool website.  As a fan of the HBO series, Deadwood, I became interested in the true history of that South Dakota mining town, and your site really delivers the goods.  The pages that describe historic figures and events in Deadwood, and compare the series' fiction with the actual facts were especially useful.  I had no idea that characters like Al Swearengen and Charlie Utter were real people, and settings like the Gem Theatre and Bella Union Saloon were real places!  I also thoroughly enjoyed the American History, Ghost Towns and Photo Galleries sections.  Thanks for an extremely entertaining and informative website. - Lisa

I was sent an email with a link to your sight. I truly enjoyed the article on Litchfield, Illinois.  I look forward to future newsletters. Thanks for the story!!  Kris Skinner, Tourism Coordinator, City of Litchfield

Wonderful site, great info. I love anything to do with the Old West and have vacationed at some of the spots you mention in the newsletter. Keep up the good work. Travel safe. Your site is awesome - Rob

This site is not only beautiful but informative. It is a resource of so many good pieces of Native wisdom. Thank you for sharing this with others. - Caroline

 

 

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Featured Travel Destination 

 

 

Las Vegas, New Mexico   - Located on the edge of the eastern plains of New Mexico, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Though not as well known as other Wild West towns, such as Dodge City, Deadwood, and Tombstone; Las Vegas, New Mexico, is said to have been the worst of the worst of the Old West Towns.

 

Created by a Mexican land grant in 1935, Las Vegas became a popular stop along the Santa Fe Trail, as it was the first town of any size after 600 miles of travel from Kansas.  Tensions in the area became tight between the Anglos, the Mexicans and the Apache Indians who roamed the land long before there was a settlement.  To add to an already distrustful environment, in came outlaws, bunko artists, murderers and thieves, becoming so common that the eastern part of Las Vegas became utterly lawless.

 

It was during these notorious days of Las Vegas' history that the town was called home or visited Doc Holliday, Big-Nose Kate, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Rattlesnake Sam, Cock-Eyed Frank, Web-Fingered Billy, Hook Nose Jim, Stuttering Tom, Durango Kid, Handsome Harry the Dancehall Rustler, Vicente Silva and his gang, and Belle Sidons (alias Monte Verde).

 

To combat the lawlessness, vigilantes soon formed in great numbers and hangings became common upon the town plaza before Las Vegas settled down into the sleepy little village that it is today.  Though long past its Wild West days, this historic town of some 15,000 souls is one of New Mexico's lesser-known tourist destinations that provides an extremely rich history with much to see and do.  Over 900 buildings in Las Vegas are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  With the old Spanish colonists and the European immigrants, the city provides a myriad of architectural treasures that give Las Vegas its special charm.

 

Questions From Our Readers

 

I was wondering if there was a show about this and where and when it would be on?  Thanks, Mary

 

Answer:  Don't I wish!  I think it would be a great idea and in the back of my mind, I secretly hope that maybe someday there will be a TV show.  But, right now, there's just little ole' me and this great big website.  Yes, I have BIG dreams!

 

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My husband and I are going to travel Route 66 next summer by means of motorcycle and camper.  Is there anything we should know before we set out? Is there plenty of campgrounds along the way? Areas we should avoid?  Thanks, Andrea and Barry
 

Answer:  Good news Andrea and Barry!!  You asked the perfect question.  The new book that I have been writing on Route 66 is specifically for the RV Traveler!!  Due out in a couple of months, stay tuned and will give you information on how to order the new book.

Featured Guides and Books

 
 

Mammoth Book of the West by Jon E. LewisMammoth Book of the West by Jon E. Lewis

Jon E. Lewis vividly depicts the pioneers, the onrush of the cattle barons, the coming of the lawmen and the tragic demise of the Plains Indians.  Heroes and villains - including Sitting Bull, Doc Holliday, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Crazy Horse and Custer - are often revealed in startling new light, and a host of minor characters are rescued from obscurity.  One, the Californian gunfighter Walter J. Crow, killed more men in "gundowns' than Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok combined. 

 

Bumper Sticker Wisdom

 

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

 

Forget about World Peace.....Visualize Using Your Turn Signal!

 

I'm always like this. Why do you ask?

 

There are two kinds of drivers; those who make dust & those who eat it.

Ghostly Legends

 

 

Ghosts of the West - Along our travels, digging through history, we always find "ghosts" of the past.  Sometimes, these are just legends, at other times, these places are actually haunted, as testified by many a traveler.

 

One of these places, is Santa Fe, New Mexico, the second oldest city in the United States.  Here you will find numerous restaurants, hotels and business in the Old Town area that have a long history of hauntings. Visit the Grant Corner Inn or the Mission of San Miguel for a peek at these ghostly spirits.  At the La Posada Hotel, the wife of the former owner reportedly loved the place so much she never left.  Nearby at the La Fonda Hotel, the it is said to be haunted by a number of spirits, including a man killed in a gunfight and another who committed suicide.

 

In Goldfield, Nevada sits one of the most haunted places in America - the Goldfield Hotel. Though closed for more than fifty years, this old place reportedly hosts a number of ghostly spirits, including its original owner George Wingfield.  Though there are several ghosts that are said to haunt this historic building, the most famous is a prostitute that Wingfield supposedly made pregnant and tied to a radiator.  When she gave birth, she was killed and her baby thrown down a mine shaft.

 

Believe it or not.

 

 

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Legends of America is

heading to ......

 

 

June:  Headed to Texas. Look forward to a lil' more of the Lone Star State next month.

 

This Summer:  Nebraska and South Dakota

 

 

Ghost Towns

 

 

Gold Point, Nevada - Waxing & Waning Through Time - Absolutely one of the best ghost towns I've ever been to, Gold Point is "off the track" and preserved extremely well by one of it's area residents.  Beginning as a mining town in 1902, like so many of the ghost towns of the West, it once supported supported 1,000 people along with numerous businesses, including 13 saloons and 225 wood frame buildings.

 

Unfortunately, the town's original founders didn't find the boomtown they had hoped for, as the silver found in the beginning  proved to be short lived.

 

However, in 1905, the Great Western Mine Company began operations about a half mile southeast of Gold Point and before long, discovered a rich silver vein which brought a stampede of miners back to the camp.  In addition to the rich silver ore, gold was also mined in limited quantities.  Over the years, the silver began to play out and most of Gold Point's residents moved on.

 

But Gold Point wasn't done, as a miner found a rich discovery of gold in the Great Western Mine, which once again revived the town in 1927.  It was after this discovery that Gold Point enjoyed its longest period of success, at a time that the rest of America was suffering from depression.

 

But once again, the rich minerals would begin to play out, though mining continued through the 1960s.  In 1967, the post office closed forever, now standing as a testament to this once flourishing town, seemingly frozen in time.

 

Today, the town is called home to only about a dozen residents, who have privately restored and preserved the town. 

During its heyday, Gold Point produced more than a million dollars in gold and silver, with the Great Western Mine extracting more than $500,000 in gold.

A Coupla Quirky Places To Check Out:

 

Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum, Plano, Texas

 

Tasty and Fanciful Pez Museum in Burlingame, California

 

Yaba-Daba-Doo - Bedrock City, Arizona

 

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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

660-723-2550

 

Kathy Weiser

Owner/Editor

   www.legendsofamerica.com

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