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Legends Letter

October, 2004


Well, really big changes are on the home front! I guess you could say that I'm reaching for the "big banana!" Yup, for those of you that know me, or have been hanging around the newsletter long enough, you might have been aware that for the entire time I've been building this website over the last year, I've also had a "real job."  Well, not anymore!


Must be doin' something right around here, cuz Legends of America is now getting more than 100,000 visitors a month. Opting for what I love, and opting out of having a heart attack, I made a very hard decision. Without a regular income, and with the Legends' General Store just getting started, I should be more frightened by this than the many ghosts that I've bumped into lately. No! I will not be afraid! No banana splits for me -- just bananas! Somewhere along the line I heard something that went like this... "do what you love and the money will follow." Actually, that might have been a book title. In any case, Legends of America and our on-line retail outlet, The Legends' General Store, is now a full-time endeavor. So, stay tuned as you watch the website continue to grow and develop.


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


Springfield, Illinois -Home of Honest Abe


Featured Book- RV Camping in State Parks


Roadside Attractions


Saloons of the Old West


La Llorona - The Weeping Ghost of the Southwest


Coming Next Month:


A Lil' More California

Seriously back on Route 66

More quirks and fun facts


A Few Great Halloween Links:

Pumpkin Carving 101

Halloween Howlers




New Additions to Legends of America



Boo!! Yep, it's Halloween and you will see its influence in both the website and the newsletter this month.


Do you remember that we featured the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri last month? It's supposedly one of the top ten most haunted places in America. Well, shortly after I updated all of you on this scary Bed & Breakfast in the newsletter, I got an invite to tour the historic building with local St. Louis historian, Joe Gibbons, who has studied the Lemp Mansion for more than ten years. The tour began with just three of us, but in no time at all, visitors of the restaurant and B&B soon joined us to experience several uncanny events, as well as a plethora of odd photographs. See our visit to the Lemp Mansion by clicking Here!


Getting into the spirit, we also visited another small town in Missouri that some say is a portal to the spirit world. Windyville, Missouri is also a ghost town. Interested in both ghosts and ghost town s, it was a great ride!


Along the ghostly trail, the Legends' General Store has begun to carry the books of White Chapel Press, which add some fifty ghostly tales to our inventory. Scary stuff - check out some of these great titles: Haunted St. Louis, by Troy Taylor, Strange Highways by Jerry D. Coleman, Illuminating the Darkness - the Mystery of Spooklights by Dale Kaczmarek, and many more.


No, we didn't forget that we are travel minded and have recently added a lil' bit of Idaho to our growing list of western states that we write about. Adding just a few lost treasure stories to the beautiful state of Idaho, you can also find some fun facts and trivia and a coupla quirky places to see along your roadside trip.


Always focusing on Route 66, there's bunch more stuff here for Mother Road enthusiasts including Lebanon, Missouri, the history of New Mexico's piece of the highway, El Reno, Oklahoma - the home of the Oklahoma Land Rush and the The Haunted Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, California.


However, I've primarily been focused on the Legends' General Store to provide lots of new products that hopefully you will enjoy. Working with creative talent, you can now see the written works of Troy Taylor for spooky stuff, Mike Marino for highway legends, and Roundabout Publications for all manner of travel guides and books. We are also featuring the works of several artists, including Tracy Teeter's original art, Largo's western sculptures, Ashley's folkart beaded crosses, and Ken Turmel's Postmarkart. These one of a kind artistic products are a great addition to our new "Art Gallery."


We are continually working to add great products to the Legends' General Store. If you are, or know of, creative talent, just let us know, as we are aggressively expanding our inventory. The next thing you know, your work just might be featured at the Legends' General Store.


Oh, yeah, and I'm still on a postcard frenzy. In just the last two days, I've added more than 100 new postcards. If you are a postcard collector or just want to see some great scenes, check them out!


In the meantime, I better hit the asphalt. See ya next month!


What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


A very well done site that I will visit often. I'm rapidly becoming a NM history buff and I'm sure to find much of interest here. - Stan


Un petit coucou et un grand bravo pour ce site qui est fabuleux !!!! (English Translation: A small cuckoo and a great cheer for this site which is fabulous!!!!) - Max


What's to say? I am a "old west buff" fascinated w/everything about it. Jesse James, the Earps, Wild Bill Hickok, and my personal favorite, Doc Holliday. I will visit Tombstone one day (in this life) if I can ever talk my husband into it. He thinks he knows it's haunted. So, I love the site. It's very informative, and when I take my trip to Tombstone, (I would love to Dodge City as well). I will visit some of the places on your site. Thanks for that info. - Cheryl


I am on your website almost daily. I print the stories of Central City and read them over and over at bed time. I know the history of Central City better than most people that live there, and I can only dream of the day I can live there. But until then, your website is the closest thing I can come to until then............ I just wanted to say Thanks! - Lois


Your site has me wanting to hitch my trailer and head out west....So much beautiful country. I would love to find a ghost town, stand in the middle of the road, close my eyes and go back in time and hear the hustle of life back then...that's my dream. - Gerry


Great material! Being a Sooner (born and bred), I especially enjoy the Oklahoma inputs. Nostalgia, nostalgia. Living on the East Coast for several years, I appreciate the history and photos and stories you have produced. We held an Edmond High class reunion in 2000 in the round barn in Arcadia, Oklahoma you've printed. Thanks. - Larry



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Featured Travel Destination  



Springfield, Illinois - Home of Honest Abe - Not only is Springfield, Illinois a Route 66 city, it is also home to Honest Abe Lincoln. Preserving Abe's history and his tomb, this progressive state capitol continues to grow, while still paying homage to its rich history. Springing up as little more than a supply stop along the the road between St. Louis and Chicago in 1821, the burgeoning settlement wasted no time establishing the proverbial trading posts and taverns. These were soon followed by additional businesses, streets, schools, and churches.


In 1837, due in large part to the political maneuverings of a young politician named Abraham Lincoln; the state capitol was moved from Vandalia to Springfield. Lincoln soon set up his law practice and continued his career in politics in the new state capitol. This, as we all know, would springboard him to presidency.


After having lived in Springfield for almost a quarter of a century, Abraham Lincoln stood on the platform of the train station on February 11, 1861, bidding goodbye to Springfield in a voice filled with emotion. Little did he know that he sould never return to Springfield during his lifetime.


Springfield today offers a number of historic treasures, including the State Capitol building, Abraham Lincoln's long time home and burial site, examples of preserved nineteenth century architecture, and a wealth of Route 66 icons for the Mother Road enthusiast. Plan to take your time when visiting Springfield, Illinois as the city has much to offer the historic minded traveler.



Questions For Our Readers


Okey, dokey, now that I can focus full-time on the website, I'm looking for some input from my readers. Bottom line is, it really doesn't matter what I think, what do you think?


If you have a moment to spare, I'm hoping that you might zap me an Email responding to some of these questions:


1. The website is getting large -- are you still able to find what you are looking for?


2. What part of the website do you like the best? What would you like to see more of?


3. Do you have any suggestions for things to add or change?


I would really appreciate any comments you might have. Thanks bunches!!! Email me at: kathy@legendsofamerica.com


Featured Travel Guides and Books



Never losing sight of our "reason for being" -- "A Travel Site for the Nostalgic and Historic Minded," we have partnered with publisher, Roundabout Publications to provide a variety of travel books. Yup, as great as the legends are, ya still gotta get there! From Rest Areas and Welcome Centers, to National Park Service Camping Guide, to Riding the Rails, these great travel books will provide detailed information about your travel destinations. Check out all of our great travel guides by clicking Here!


RV Camping in State Parks by D.J. Davin

In this new directory, you'll learn about state parks that have camping facilities suitable for RVers. Over 1,500 state parks and recreation areas in 49 states are included.

A summary for each state tells you how many state parks have RV campgrounds, and the amenities generally available. You'll also find contact information, including phone number and web site, for each state so you can obtain brochures and more information.


From the Legends' General Store

Tracy Teeter's Original Art

Tracy L. Teeter is an amazing self-taught artist who applies her immense talents with pen and ink, pencil, watercolor and colored pencil to subjects of animals, Native Americans, and more.

Tracy's original art can only be found in a few exclusive specialty shops in Kansas and Colorado and right here at the Legends' General Store.



This collection no longer available


Roadside Attractions



Old Idaho Penitentiary - If you want to see how the convicts lived, check out Idaho's first territorial prison in Boise, Idaho, which has now become a tourist attraction. The old prison, built in 1870, grew from a single cellhouse into a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a high sandstone wall. Housing more than 13,000 prisoners during the 103 years it was open, the old penitentiary will provide you a literal taste of how it felt to be one of the outlaws who "didn't get away." Closing on December 3, 1973, the prison was soon placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is a fascinating Boise, Idaho tourist attraction that offers one of the most informative prison tours in the West. The prison is open to visitors to walk through the courtyards, the cells, the gallows and the "coolers" where prisoners were sentenced to solitary confinement.


Rhyolite, Nevada Bottle Building - In 1906 in the old ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada a man named Tom Kelly, a saloon owner, built a house out of bottles because lumber was scarce at the time. Reportedly he used some 50,000 beer, whiskey, soda and medicine bottles to build the structure which still stands today. The Bottle Building is owned by the Beatty Nevada Improvement Association for maintenance as a historical site. You can still see this quirky piece of architecture in the fascinating ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada.


Have you got a great tale about the Mother Road, a Ghost Story, a legend in your state, or a photograph you would like to show on our site?

Send it on!! We'll be happy to feature you on Legends of America.  Send us an E-mail or submit your story on- line by clicking HERE



Hey, if you like the newsletter, forward it on to your friends!!

They too can receive updates when we add new content, provide product specials from our Legends' General Store, and more! Click HERE to sign up for the newsletter.



The Old West



Saloons of the Old West - One cannot conjure up an image of the Old West, without picturing the inevitable saloon. In your mind, you immediately see a building, complete with a wooden false front, a wide boardwalk flanking the dusty street, a couple of hitchin ' posts, and the always present swinging doors. This image is, no doubt, followed by a cowboy pushing through the entryway as he made his way to the long polished bar in search of a whiskey to wet his parched throat.


In those hard scrabble days, the whiskey served in many of the saloons was some pretty wicked stuff, made with raw alcohol, burnt sugar and a little chewing tobacco. No wonder it took on such names as Tanglefoot, Forty-Rod, Tarantula Juice, Taos Lightning, Red Eye, and Coffin Varnish.


Eventually, there was every type of saloon that one could imagine. There were gambling saloons, restaurant saloons, billiard saloons, dance hall saloons, bowling saloons, and, of course, the ever present, plain ole ' fashioned, "just drinking" saloons. They took on names such as the First Chance Saloon in Miles City, Montana, the Bull's Head in Abilene, Kansas and the Holy Moses in Creede, Colorado. In many of the more populated settlements, these saloons never closed, catering to their ever present patrons 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some didn't even bother to have a front door that would close.


Such an important part of the Old West, our Saloon pages on Legends of America, are some of the most popular on the entire website. If you haven't strolled in for a literal taste of this American icon, be sure to mosy up to the bar by clicking here!


Visit the Legends' General Store for great travel books and guides, vintage postcards, original art, gift ideas, and unusual, hard-to-find Rocky Mountain Items.


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The Legends' General Store is the retail outlet for Legends of America.

28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Shawnee, KS 66216





Our Guarantee: Your satisfaction is always guaranteed at the Legends' General Store!

If you're not happy with our exclusive products, we will happily refund your money, no questions asked!



Ghosts and Mysteries



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.



Bumper Sticker Wisdom


Life is a Witch, and then you fly

BEWARE!! This vehicle makes sudden stops at haunted houses!


Ghot Ghosts?


My other vehicle is a broom stick!

Ghost Hunters Do It In A Cemetery




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 2004 by Legends of America. Our reader's e-mail addresses are never sold, rented or otherwise made public.


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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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