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Legends Letter

October, 2007


Kathy Weiser

Boo!!! Ok, a day late and a dollar short, but Happy Halloween anyway. Ok, ok, I can be a witch sometimes. Just ask that lady at the Fort Smith, Arkansas Visitor Center that I ran into last week. I just really didn't want to take no @!*$ tour and didn't have the time. I just wanted a map and some brochures. Actually, the visitor's center is quite a nice place, located in the only old brothel in the U.S. to be on the National Register of Historic Places. But, it was 3:00 o'clock and I had the fort and the courthouse on my agenda. But, dragged on a tour we were; however, when she started on a five minute presentation of how the trap door on the gallows worked, I took my leave. She probably thought I was witchy, but I had places to go and photos to take.


So, you'll see some Arkansas stuff coming up real soon. Trying to "time" the autumn turning of the leaves in Arkansas was a bust, as it has been unseasonably warm, so I didn't get a lot of great fall photos. However, we did make some fun stops. Starting at our lake house in Warsaw, Missouri, we repeated just a bit of Route 66 from Springfield to Joplin - you'll see lots of new pictures for that stretch of the road. Then, we made our way down to Fort Smith. Did you know that Judge Isaac Parker and his executioner, George Maledon, hanged 79 men on the gallows when Fort Smith had jurisdiction over lawless Indian Territory?


Then off we went to Hot Springs - very cool place. A whole block of these extravagant old bath houses. Quite the resort back in its heydays. Then, northbound looking for color on the trees on the Scenic 7 Byway. Didn't get that, but did see some other neat stuff (at least in my books.) Darn, Booger Hollow is a "ghost town," but still got photos of the double decker outhouse. And, later a view of a "ghost amusement park" at Dogpatch, USA. Looks like it was a pretty fun place at one time.


Then off to Branson, Missouri. What a zoo!!! If you're looking for entertainment, they've got it all, but I can't imagine what kind of a crowd they have in the summer, when traffic was bumper to bumper in October. And, no bus or trolley!! What's wrong with those people managing the town's tourism? Eeeewwwwww, that got me witchy all over again. In any case, I got over it and we saw the sights of Branson, as well as a tour of Silver Dollar City.


Stay tuned as we write up a little more of Arkansas.


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 - Fort Smith, Arkansas

The Old West - U.S. Marshals

Featured Book - Ghost Hunters Guide Book

Quirky Road Side Attraction - Exotic World





Hardwater Soap

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New Additions to Legends of America


Well, as always, we've gotta bunch of new stuff for you and in celebration of Halloween, you'll see several new ghost stories for haunted places along Route 66. At the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena, California, tales abound of people having died there, particularly a girl who allegedly slit her wrists in the bathroom before making her way up to the balcony and bleeding to death. Another story tells of a man who went insane in the projector booth. These two characters as well as a phantom cat are said to haunt the old theater, which unfortunately, has closed its doors

after 81 years, shutting out its customers, but probably not its ghosts.


At another Rialto Theatre, this time in Joliet, Illinois, more ghosts are said to lurk. This 1926 theater, called the "Jewel of Joliet," not only continues to host hundreds of customers; but also a

nameless spectral woman who is thought to have been an actress who performed at the theatre many years ago. Two more spirits, one male and one female, are sometimes spied in the auditorium’s balcony. According to the legend, the pair fell to their deaths from the balcony, and like others who have died in tragic accidents, they just won’t move on.


More ghostly encounters can also be found at the Belvidere Mansion in Claremore, Oklahoma and the Bissell Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri. While not right on Route 66, but pretty darned close, the ghost town of Calico, California lives up to its description with a couple of lurking spirits.


While you're at it, revisit some of our most popular Route 66 ghosts at Suicide Bridge in Pasadena, California, the Haunted Kimo Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Museum Club's Unearthly Guests in Flagstaff, Arizona, and one of the ten most haunted places in the nation - the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri.


And, if you like these tales, stay tuned, as my second book is due out later this year. Co-authoring with the famous ghost story writer, Troy Taylor, Wierd Route 66 will be filled with the bizarre as well as ghost stories of Route 66.


For all of you that have that have expressed an interest in our wacked out bumper sticker wisdom, we've added a whole bunch of them up for you to order HERE! Our Graphic Products Store is new, but keep checking back as we add lots of Old West and Route 66 products, from t-shirts to prints, to coffee mugs and more.


Finally, on an administrative note, I've been bogged down with adding a new shopping cart for the Legends' General Store that will feature Google checkout in addition to Paypal. I know, a lot of you get "witchy" about Paypal - that's why we're making the change. But, with all our inventory, this is taking quite a bit of set-up time, and not allowing for much writing time.


Stay tuned next month as I re-travel Route 66 from St. Louis to Springfield.


Gotta get goin!!




Bumper Sticker Wisdom 



It's a dog eat dog world... And I'm wearing milk bone underwear!



Order bumper stickers HERE!


From Legends' General Store

Postcard-O-Mania: From postcards of the Old West to Route 66, people, animals, and soon, every state in the union, you'll find hundreds of both new and vintage postcards HERE!

Route 66 Postcard





Did you know?......


"Tow Mater" in the movie Cars was inspired by a 1951 International boom truck in Galena, Kansas. The inspiration for the colorful character still sits on Route 66 at the 4 Women on the Route restored KanOtex Service Station.


At one time camels were used to transport goods across Arizona.


To drive from Los Angeles, California to Reno, Nevada the direction traveled is to the west.


Featured Travel Destination 



Fort Smith National Historic SiteFort Smith National Historic Site - On the isolated edge of the American Frontier, Fort Smith was established on Christmas day, 1817. Under the command of Major William Bradford, the soldiers’ initial task was to keep the peace between the Cherokee and Osage tribes. However, this function was short lived and the fort closed seven years later.


However, that was not to be the end. Two years after Arkansas gained statehood, an act of Congress approved a second fort in 1838. Designed as a massive fortification, the army was not nearly so enthusiastic for the rebuilding of the fort as were the politicians. Due to this reason, labor difficulties, and budget overruns, it would be eight years before it was completed.

When the war was over; however, the post began to lose its usefulness and within five years both Officers’ Quarters were destroyed in fires. In the summer of 1871, U.S. Army troops left Fort Smith for the final time.

However, the facility was not to be vacant for long. When the federal court was relocated to Fort Smith from Van Buren, it took up residence at the old fort. The federal court had jurisdiction over Indian Territory which had become filled outlaws who thought the laws did not apply to them.

Judge Isaac Parker arrived at Fort Smith on May 4, 1875 and for  the next twenty-one years, served as Judge, later earning the nickname of "Hanging Judge" for the number of death sentences he handed down. With the coming of federal courts in Indian Territory , Fort Smith's jurisdiction ended. Judge Parker died two months later.

Today, Fort Smith has been designated as National Historic Site, which includes the remains of the two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

If it's Old West reputation isn't enough, the old courthouse is said to be haunted by none other than Judge Parker himself. Allegedly, many of those executed on these historic ground are also said lurk on the property.


More ...



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The Old West



U.S. MarshalU.S. Marshals - The U.S. Marshals were created more than 200 years ago in 1789, when a congressional act also established the federal judicial system. Given extensive authority to support federal courts, congress, or the president, these marshals and their deputies have served subpoenas, warrants, made arrests, and handled prisoners for more than two centuries.


The Marshals have also taken the responsibility for a number of other tasks over the years, such as taking the national census through 1870, distributing Presidential proclamations, registering enemy aliens in times of war, and capturing fugitive slaves. Particularly during the days of the Old West , a number of individual Deputy Marshals became instant heroes when they captured or killed notorious outlaws such as Bill Doolin, "Tulsa Jack" Blake, Bob Dozier, the Rufus Buck Gang, and many more. Later, they helped suppress the Pullman Strike in 1894, enforced Prohibition in the 1920's, and protected athletes in Olympic Games hosted on U.S. soil.


Some of the most famous U.S. Deputy Marshals of the Old West included such men as Bud Ledbetter, Frank Dalton (the older brother of the Dalton Gang members,) Bill Tilghman, "Heck" Thomas, Chris Madsen, and Bass Reeves

In the past two centuries more than 200 U.S. Marshals and their deputies have given their lives in the line of duty. Though ever evolving, the U.S. Marshal Service continues today, enforcing the laws and executing the orders issued by the courts.

On our Old West Lawmen pages you'll find the most comprehensive list of western sheriffs, policemen, and U.S. Marshals on the web.


More ...



Old West Factoids:


From 1873 through 1896, eighty-six men were executed on the gallows at Fort Smith.


The last Old West outlaw of renown to die "on the job" was Henry Starr, who began his career as a bandit in 1893 and led a gang of mounted outlaws for more than twenty-five years. Starr’s career finally ended on February 18, 1921, when he was shot to death trying to rob a bank in Harrison, Arkansas.


During the Old West times a gunfighter was also known as a "leather slapper," a "gun fanner," "gun trapper," "bad medicine," "curly wolf," and a "shootist."


The telephone was invented in 1876. The first community to have a telephone after the White House telephone was installed was Deadwood, South Dakota.


You can't keep trouble from visitin, but you don't have to offer it a chair.


Quirky Roadside Attraction



Exotic World Burlesque Museum


In the middle of nowhere, just outside of Victorville, California is the "town" of Helendale and its most famous attraction – Exotic World. Once the private residence of famed dancer Jennie Lee, Exotic World is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to preserving the art and artifacts of the golden age of Burlesque.

While many retired dancers of this era kept their "risqué" pasts quiet -- Jennie Lee, founder of the League of Exotic Dancers and former "Bazoom Girl" (a moniker she earned for effortlessly twirling tassels on both her bosom and behind), decided to buck convention and put her past on display. Literally.

Jennie's collection of Burlesque memorabilia made its debut at the "Sassy Lassy" nightclub in San Pedro, California, which she co-owned with her husband, Charlie Arroyo ("The Singing Cowboy"). When Jennie fell ill with breast cancer, she and Charlie moved out to an abandoned goat farm in the middle of the Mojave Desert, promptly evicting the farm's four-footed tenants in favor of creating a suitable space for her ever-expanding collection.


Following her death in 1990, Jennie's friend and fellow Burlesque veteran Dixie Evans quit her job and moved out to the ranch to help transform Jennie's collection into "Exotic World, Home of the Movers & Shakers' Burlesque Museum & Striptease Hall of Fame." As news of the museum continued to spread, people from all over the world started to send additional items, and the museum eventually took over the entire farm.


Update: The museum has closed and this page removed



Featured Book:


Ghost Hunters Guidebook by Troy Taylor


Do you believe in ghosts? Want to know how to find them? This guidebook contains not only step-by-step guides to conducting paranormal investigations and info on ghost photography, but material on looking for ghosts, the myths and mysteries of investigations, and more!


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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







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