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Legends Letter

June, 2006

3rd Anniversary Edition


Kathy WeiserHey Pardners!  I'm writin' from the road, sitting in a condo overlooking the beautiful Moreno Valley in northeast New Mexico. We have already moved through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where we did a little family stuff before making our way here.  Got hitched on Monday night so I'm officially on my honeymoon!! 

Figured, I better get this out to all before we get too far into our 14 day trip, or you wouldn't see a June Newsletter at all.


There's more good news for this month too!!  Legends of America is celebrating its 3rd Anniversary. Believe it or not, we've been out there for 36 whole months.  Seems like a blur to me, but I think we've finally got enough of a niche, that we're here to stay!


In honor of our birthday, we're doing a "best of the best" from the last three years. Looking into all of our past newsletters, you'll see some of the articles that our readers found to be their favorites.


Unfortunately for any of you who might be making orders from our Legends' General Store, the whole "staff" (me and Dave) are out, and we ain't carrying all that inventory with us, so your orders may be delayed. 


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.   


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


Ghost Towns


Route 66 Festival


Ghosts & Mysteries


Coming Next Month:



Slices of Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.



New Additions to Legends of America



Well, though we've been pretty busy getting ready for the trip and the wedding, you'll still see quite a bit of new material this month, the largest of which, are these comprehensive lists of Old West People.  With plans to have the most complete lists on the Web Wide World, you see a good start on Old West Vigilantes, which includes Missouri Bald Knobbers, Montana Vigilantes, the San Francisco Vigilantes of 1851 and Vigilantes of 1856, the Shelby County, Texas Regulators, and more Texas Vigilantes.  You'll also see the Complete List of Old West Outlaws, which will never probably completely complet, but there's a bunch of 'em.

Then there's even more lists of Old West personalities, on these lists: Gunfighters, Explorers, Lawmen, Native Americans, Outlaw Gangs, Scoundrels, Soldiers, Trail Blazers & Cowboys, and Women.  These lists are a ongoing work in progress, as the names grow every day, so check back often.


We've also added the new Legends Travel Center where you will find booking services for anything from airfare, to last minute trips, hotel deals, dude ranch vacations, campgrounds, Caribbean cruises, and more without ever leaving Legends of America's pages.


For more on the Old West, see the Old West Photo Gallery, which includes scenes from the Old West from gold miners, to cowboys, outlaws, and trains. Also check out one of the greatest lawmen who lived during the Wild West days in Indian Territory - U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.


Our Native American pages have been updated with the  Mandan, Hidatsu, and Arikara tribes, as well the first Plains Indian War - the Arikara War


Finally, here a couple of historic sites to see - The Black Hills of South Dakota and Bent's Fort National Historic Site in LaJunta, Colorado.


Guess I better mosey on!  Until next month, Happy Travels!!



Old West Factoids:


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


In the days of Wild Bill Hickok, Abilene, Kansas saw shootings almost daily, such as the wild gunfight in a local bar when one gunman refused the drink of another.  Another gunfight occurred when one drunken cowboy rode his horse atop a pool table.



Bumper Sticker Wisdom 


Nothing gets me in the mood like a man doing my dishes.


The phrase you're groping for is "yes, dear."


I'm the boss, my wife said I could be.


Featured Travel Destination 



One of the most popular "haunted" destinations that we've ever visited from September, 2004


The Haunted Lemp Mansion in St Louis, Missouri


Said to be one of the ten most haunted places in America, the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri, continues to play host to the tragic Lemp family.  Over the years, the mansion was transformed from the stately home of millionaires, to office space, decaying into a run-down boarding house, and finally restored to its current status as a Bed and Breakfast Inn and Dinner Theater. 


The Lemp family built a fortune in the late 1800s with a large brewery in St. Louis.  However, over the years,  the patriarch of the family, as well as three of his children,  would take their own lives with a gun.


Today, it is said that apparitions are seen within the old mansion, voices are heard, glasses will often lift off the bar and fly into the air by themselves, and numerous other strange events occur with regularity.


We recently heard from one of our readers who stayed at the Lemp Mansion but insists that he and his wife were so disturbed by some of the spiritual shenanigans that they will not return.


More ...



From Legends' General Store



Discoveries...America, Texas DVDVideo Store - Legends of America and the Legends' General Store has collected a number of DVD's so that you can check out your destinations before you travel.  Sixty minute videos will provide you with historic treasures, cultural icons, natural wonders and portraits of Americans from coast to coast revealing the heart & spirit of the U.S. 



Discoveries...America, Arizona DVD  Discoveries...America, Nevada DVD  Discoveries...America, South Dakota

The Old West



Probably our most popular newsletter article ever appeared in November, 2004.


Old West Words & Phrases - What in the world is a bazoo, a berdache, crowbait, or a hoosegow?  What about a benzinery, a pecker pole, a curly wolf, or a poppet?  What would you rather be? -- "roostered" or "above snakes?"  Well, depending on your point of view, you might want to be both!  When is a coffee boiler not something to make coffee in?  When you're in the Old West!!  Back then, a shirker or a lazy person was often called a "Coffee Boiler," 'cuz they'd rather sit around the coffee pot than pitch in and help. 


Are you ever watching an old western or maybe reading an Old West book, and just can't figure out what in the world they're talkin' about.  Then you go look it up in a dictionary and, of course, it isn't there?  Well, we've compiled a whole list of these old time words, so now you'll know. 


You know, the weirdest thing is, I grew up in West Texas and I was using a lot of these words when I was "between the hay and the grass," and many of them, I continue to use  today.  Now, I'm either showin' my age, or perhaps just ignorance, but geez, I sure already knew what a lot of those words meant.


Come to think of it, back when I was working in New York City here a few years back, I now understand why those folks didn't think I was "cuttin' too much of a swell" when I first met them.  Shoot, they'd come into my office and ask me to go to lunch maybe, and I'd say somethin' like, "I'm fixin' to finish this up, I'll be there directly."  Then, they'd just stand there with a look of "shindy" on their face and "shin out."  I'd go meet them for lunch and they'd be long gone.  Well, I "pulled in my horns" and didn't "take on" about it, and after a time they began to "cotton to" me.  Ended up working in "the old states" for about eight months.


Go figure.






Featured Book:


The Real Wild West by Michael WallisThe Real Wild West, by Michael Wallis

Although not as renowned as Buffalo Bill Cody, Joseph Miller and his brothers were in many ways as impressive as impresarios. Their Wild West shows, which competed with Cody's show and the Ringling Brothers' circuses, featured talent like Will Rogers and Tom Mix and significantly influenced American mass entertainment. In The Real Wild West, Michael Wallis makes a case that the Millers didn't just invent the romantic West but lived it as well.


Ghost Towns



Evidently I'm not the only one who is inexplicably drawn to graveyards, as this little piece drew a lot of attention in February of last year.


Cemeteries - Outdoor Museums of the Forgotten Past - What is it about old graveyards that inexplicably draw me to them?  Is it my inherent nostalgic way, sense of history, the monuments themselves, or simple curiosity? 


Flying down a winding Missouri road in the Ozarks, I glimpse from the corner of my eye a headstone peeking through the trees.  The truck comes to a screeching halt, making a swift u-turn in the middle of the highway, almost mindless to oncoming traffic. 


Parked at the side of road, I sit quietly studying the old graveyard.  Several crumbling headstones rise from overgrown weeds and grass, all but obliterating the memory of those long past.  I curse the fact I havenít brought along my camera.  The obsession to take pictures of these timeless monuments is as strong as the need to stop.


It is an early spring morning, and my jeans are quickly soaked by the morning dew of the tall grasses surrounding the burial place.  I pass a small sign: "Kreizel Family.Ē  I know some people in the area by that name.  Are these long forgotten pioneers somehow related?  In the small graveyard, there are about ten headstones bearing the faint marks of those living more than a century ago.  I can see from the dates that they lived through the time of the Civil War when this part of Missouri was a war-torn battlefield.  Who were these people?  What stories would they tell of their lives, their families, their hopes and their dreams?  I look at my watch; an hour has passed as Iíve contemplated these unknown faces.

I have another obsessive desire to make headstone rubbings.  You know, the process where you place a piece of paper against the headstone and rub a soft lead pencil or crayon against the engraving.  Though, I have not resorted to headstone rubbings as of yet, these too, will no doubt, become a part of the graveyard fascination at some point in time.  But, what will I do with these these rubbings?  Hang Doc Hollidayís epitaph upon my living room wall, place Wild Bill Hickokís engraving in a scrap book, or more likely, let them pile up in the basement with a growing collection of old bottles, magazines and other memorabilia from lives lived decades ago?  This obsession is getting out of hand.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, Iím just sure that I will somehow find a hidden secret in these historic and often dignified reminders of our past.  Carvings and epitaphs tell me a bit about a person that might otherwise not be remembered.  These people existed, they were once vibrant and alive with wives and husbands that cared for them, children they doted upon, and they lived through ordinary every day struggles as we do, feeling sorrow and happiness during their lifetimes.

Now, they are but a name on a headstone, if the monument has survived.  But, at least for a moment, they are thought of, if unknown, in the minds of the many like me who are drawn to these outdoor history museums.



What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


I couldn't help but notice, that it was YOU that took all those excellent photos! And Time Magazine, doesn't employ you as a staff photographer....why?  What's wrong with those guys? Your photos, are just-flat awesome.  Paul, June, 2006

I sent your link to about 40 friends, they are all reporting on how much they love the site, and how they are using it for their historical research, photos and genealogical work.  It is really a good site, and you have a great eye for photos.  Thanks for all your hard work.  Pat, Pahrump, NV, June, 2006

Hi, I've recently been watching the HBO series Deadwood and it brought on an interest of that era. I just wanted to thank you for the great website and information. I look forward to exploring all the links, it seems to bring the old west to life :)   Paul Lambert Charlotte, NC, June 2006  

Tell us what you think!

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Route 66


Albuquerque Route 66 Festival - Next weekend!!  Planning on being there?  There's lots of stuff going on like a car show, a neon cruise, music and entertainment, lots of Route 66 vendors, and more.  If you're going to be there look for me in my cowboy hat on Saturday, I'll be running around there somewhere.

For more information on the festival check out it out at: 2006 Route 66 festival.

With a history dating back some 12,000 years, Albuquerque is a mecca for not only Route 66 buffs, but for anyone who loves history. Providing a number of attractions such as Old Town, the Sandia Peak Tramway with its awe-inspiring overview of the city, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Albuquerque Museum, and much more.  For Route 66 enthusiasts, a trip down Central Avenue at night is a trip back through time, as you view the numerous neon lights sparkling along Route 66 Back in the 1950's there were more than 100 motels on Albuquerque's Central Avenue and in the summer, it was hard to find an open room.  Many of these vintage Route 66 can still be seen such as the De Anza Motel, the Royal Motor Inn, the Town Lodge Motel, and the Aztec Motel, all built in the 1930's.  Check out Nob Hill, built in 1936-47, and the Lobo Theater and Lobo Pharmacy & Bookstore (originally Barber's El Rancho Market), both built in the 1930's.

Downtown, there are several buildings that were highlights in the 1940s and 50s era, including the Sunshine Building (built in 1923-24), the First National Bank Building (1922), the Rosenwald Building (1910), and the KiMo Theater (1927). Other sites west of Old Town include Lindy's Restaurant (1929), Maisel's (circa 1940), and the El Vado Motel (1937). Continuing your journey, head north on I-25, take the Algodones exit and return south via NM Highway 313.  Original Route 66 is now Fourth Street, Isleta Boulevard, and New Mexico Highway 314.

Maybe I'll see you there!


Outhouse Joke

A woman living in a rural area wanted to have an outhouse that wouldn't stink. She advertised it in the local papers for a contractor that could build such a structure.

After some time, a contractor applied for the job and guaranteed that the outhouse would not have any odor. He got the job.

Sometime after completing the construction, the man got a frantic call from the woman, "You'd better get here fast! That outhouse has a terrible smell!"

He rushed over, went to the outhouse, poked his head through the door and exclaimed,

"No wonder it stinks! You pooped in it!"

Ghosts & Mysteries



One of the best ghost stories of the Old West and one of our most popular pages on the website - La Llorona from October, 2004.


La Llorona - The Weeping Woman of the Southwest - The legend of La Llorona (pronounced "LAH yoh ROH nah"), Spanish for the Weeping Woman, has been a part of Hispanic culture in the Southwest since the days of the conquistadores.  The tall, thin spirit is said to be blessed with natural beauty and long flowing black hair.  Wearing a white gown, she roams the rivers and creeks, wailing into the night and searching for children to drag, screaming to a watery grave.


No one really knows when the legend of La Llorona began or, from where it originated.  Though the tales vary from source to source, the one common thread is that the spirit is of a doomed mother, who drowned her children long ago, now spends eternity searching for them in rivers and lakes.


After we wrote our version of  La Llorona, we have since heard other versions from our readers. Check out Nisi's version of La Llorona in California and Elizabeth's Weeping Woman story in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


More ...




From Legends' General Store


Route 66 Postcard Route 66 Postcards - Legends of America and the Legends' General Store has collected numerous postcards for our Route 66 enthusiasts.  To see this varied collection, click HERE!


We've just got in a bunch of new ones!  Check em' out!


Barstow Station, California  Chicago Navy Pier




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.






This newsletter is copyrighted 2006 by Legends of America

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otherwise made public.






Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355



Kathy Weiser





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