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Legends of America - A Travel Site for the Nostalgic & Historic Minded
Legends Letter March, 2014


Abandoned Building in Cross Timbers, MO. Photo by Ella Nobo

An abandoned car sits in the ruins of a building in Cross Timbers Missouri.

Photo by our grand daughter Ella Nobo.



So, what do you do when the weather finally starts warming up enough to get out of the house and office? You do some day tripping of course!  While old man winter continues to cling on now and then, recent warmer weather and the passing of the Spring Equinox pushed Kathy and I away from our keyboards for a couple of adventures nearby. 


Old Monument in Benton County MO grave yardOne of those day trips took us to the Butterfield Trail here in Benton County Missouri, where we revisited an historic cemetery, took some cool shots of abandoned barns and visited a ghost farm. It provided much relief to our claustrophobia and I think the dogs appreciated getting their noses out of the neighborhood for a while.


The trip was short but got our minds going in fresh directions, shaking out the cobwebs that have formed from staring out the window at the cold lake.  We called it our "Sunday Tour of the Dead".   Yeah, we need to get out more.


I skipped out on the second recent trip as Kathy planned a "girls day out" for our grand daughters from Lawrence, Ks.  We took advantage of Ella and Graci's spring break to snag them back to Missouri, during which Nana planned an all day excursion for picture opportunities of "abandoned Missouri".  They didn't have to go far to find what they were looking for, and it seems that the girls have developed some of Nana's quirky eye for photo ops.


In this Edition:


New Additions


Featured Travel Destination - Garnet


Old West - Belle Starr


Featured Product


Feedback and Suggestions




More to See:


Legends General Store - Supporting our website since 2003


Legends Photo Prints - Our growing gallery of Vintage and Modern images available in various print sizes. Shop, or just enjoy browsing.


Legends Travel Blog - Follow us on our travels and catch special announcements.


Legends Facebook Page - Daily posts of all things American History.


Ghost Towns of the American West Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Ghost Towns.


Native American History Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Native American


Legends Photo Prints Facebook Page


Legends on Twitter


Legends of Kansas - Our website dedicated to the state Legends was born in.




Legends is now on Pinterest!

Legends on Pinterest

Photo Art - Giglee Prints and Canvas Wraps

A door in Fristoe Missouri. Photo by Graci Nobo

Nana's love of doors and windows rubbed off on Graci Nobo,

who took this picture in Fristoe Missouri.


This was followed by a night out in the travel trailer.  We were going to actually take the trailer over to Truman Lake and find a spot, but with cold weather that night we decided to keep it parked at "Fort Alexander RV Park." 


That meant that Papa Dave was designated Park Manager, and let me tell you, those gals can be a bit demanding.  What do you mean you need water?  And what part of "the RV Park Store is closed" do you not understand.


One look from those eyes is enough for Papa Dave to give in to most demands though, and I played my part in spoiling them rotten before shipping them back to Kansas.


These small day outings haven't been our only escape recently.  In late January, Kathy got a call from a television production company wanting to do an interview in Parson's Kansas about the Bloody Benders. Thought we would make it a week long travel excursion, but mother nature got in our way so we just stayed for a couple of nights.  One before the interview, and another to let a winter storm get passed us. 


Vivian Vance Promotional Poster 1948It was a fun trip as we made new friends at the Cherryvale Historical Museum.  It was there we learned that Cherryvale is famous for more than the serial killer Bender family.  In fact, there are a few famous characters from this small Kansas town.  Like Mary Louise Brooks, born there in 1906, who would go on to become a trend setting star of the silver screen in the late 1920's.  Her bobbed hairstyle would become very popular with women.  Then there is Vivian Vance, born in Cherryvale in 1909, who would go on to fame as Ethel Mertz, Lucille Ball's sidekick in "I Love Lucy".  Vance continued to return once in a while to her roots in Cherryvale until her death in 1979.


But one that I found even more interesting was the uncelebrated author of our very own Pledge of Allegiance.  In 1892, as a high school teen in Cherryvale, Frank E. Bellamy wrote a 500-word patriotic essay, part of which is the original version of the Pledge, and instruction on saluting the American Flag.  His "Salute to the Flag" was was submitted to the popular scholastic publication "The Youth's Companion" as part of a contest, which won him first place and a small cash prize that same year. Although it was recited by many, Bellamy would not see his Pledge become the official Pledge of the nation before his death in 1915.  In fact, it wouldn't become official until June of 1942 when Congress included the Pledge to the Flag in the United States Flag Code.  Of course his original Pledge has been altered a little, changing his words of "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States of America" in the early 1920's, and then adding "under God" in June of 1954. Because "The Youth Companion" only credited anonymous as the author, Bellamy wouldn't be widely recognized as the author of the Pledge of Allegiance until 1995, when after some disputes, Cherryvale resident and Bellamy historian LaVerna Huneycutt set the record straight.


It was pretty darn cool running into that tidbit of American History, and we truly appreciated our private tour while there.  Be sure to check out the Cherryvale Museum if your ever in the area.  They are located at 215 East 4th Street in historic Cherryvale Kansas.


Oh, and by the way, Kathy did a pretty good job on that television interview, and we are under the impression that parts of it will be used on a cable show later this year or early next on Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel.  We'll keep you posted.


Dave Alexander - Sugar King to grand girls (who knew they can actually bounce)


Kathy Weiser-Alexander during Production Shoot in Parsons, Ks

Kathy Weiser-Alexander takes "cheese" to a whole new level during her interview about the Bloody Benders.

New Additions  


Hudson River Valley, New York by John Collier, 1941, colorization by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.A Touch of Color - Kathy's had her "right brain" in gear toward photo's in this new gallery in our Photo Print Shop. Taking some vintage, and some more recent photos and adding a small touch of color to each.  Be sure to check out this "growing" gallery, which includes other works by David Fisk, and give us some feedback.


Battle Horseshoe Bend, New York Public Library, 1847. Battle of Horseshoe Bend - In the Spring of 1814, a deadly and decisive battle would occur on the Tallapoosa River in Alabama, killing more Native American's in a single battle than any other in the history of America. It would also result in the end of the Creek Civil War, and lead to the State of Alabama. (200th Anniversary March 27, 2014)


Shootout at the Pembina Post Office - Author Jim Benjaminson takes us to Pembina North Dakota and a dark day in November 1878 when the effects of the Sam Bass gang rippled into this tiny border town.


George Washington Carver - Scientist, Educator, Inventor - Born to slave parents, George Washington Carvers thirst for knowledge and love of nature would leave an incredible legacy on the agricultural community of the United States.


UPDATE: Fort Caroline may not be in Florida after all. New evidence points to ruins found on the Georgia Coast.


For more "What's New" on Legends Of America click HERE.


Native American Wisdom

What the people believe is true. - Anishinabe

All dreams spin out from the same web. - Hopi

Cherish youth, but trust old age. - Pueblo


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Featured Travel Destination  

Garnet Montana Ghost Town, 2008, Kathy Weiser-AlexanderGarnet - Montana’s Best Kept Ghost Town Secret

By Valerie Mellema


Exploring ghost towns is a fun, entertaining way to relive aspects of the American West. Some ghost towns in the American West such as Oatman, Arizona are not only inhabited, but make the most of their opportunity to capitalize on their town’s former glory. In other cases, ghost towns truly are empty and totally uninhabited, aside from archaeologists and occasional tourists passing through. Such is the case high in the hills of west central Montana, where the historic ghost town of Garnet is located.


If you’ve been to any of Montana's other well-known ghost towns like Virginia City or Bannack, you’ll find Garnet just as intriguing if not even more so.

It is situated in a remote valley located at the head of First Chance Creek, 6,000 feet up in the green pine forested mountains east of Missoula. Garnet has an isolated feel to it and is not heavily touristed or commercialized. As you might expect (especially when you see it), Garnet has a reputation of being a haunted ghost town.

Garnet dates back to the turn to the 20th century. It was named for the semi-precious garnet rock first mined there before gold was found. Like most mining towns, Garnet wasn’t built to last, yet over a century later, buildings lacking foundations still stand.

Placer mining was practiced around the area later to be established as Garnet in the 1860s, and gold was found at the First Chance Gulch in 1865. Miners worked about 50 mines in the vicinity. Garnet dates back to 1895, but it wasn’t until an abundant strike at the Nancy Hanks Mine that the town began to boom. In 1896, the Nancy Hanks Mine produced $690,000, and the boom continued throughout the 1890s as mining companies rolled into Garnet. 

Based on the wealth it was producing, you can get a good idea of what life there must have been like when Garnet was thriving. Garnet had four hotels, four stores, two barbershops, a butcher shop, a doctor’s office, laundry facilities and thirteen saloons.

Continue reading HERE



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Old West  

Belle Starr, Female Outlaw

Belle Starr - The Bandit Queen


"I regard myself as a woman who has seen much of life." - Belle Starr stated to the The Fort Smith Elevator about one year prior to her death.


Belle Starr was born Myra Belle Shirley in a log cabin near Carthage, Missouri on February 5, 1848 to "Judge” John Shirley and his third wife, Elizabeth Pennington. Her father was the black sheep of a well-to-do Virginia family who had moved west to Indiana, where he married and divorced twice. His third wife, Eliza, was on the Hatfield side of the feuding Hatfield and McCoy families.


After they married, the Shirleys moved to Missouri in 1839, where John prospered raising wheat, corn, hogs and horses in Jasper County. Myra’s older brother, John Allison "Bud” was born to the Shirleys in 1842, and a younger son, Edwin, in 1850. The next ten years were a financial success for the Shirleys who had two more sons.


In 1856, they sold their land and moved to Carthage, Missouri, where they built an inn, a tavern, livery stable and blacksmith shop—their businesses taking up almost an entire city block. John Shirley had become a respected member of the burgeoning county seat of Carthage.


At first, Myra Belle lived the life of a spoiled, rich girl, attending the Carthage Female Academy, where in addition to the basics, she was taught music and classical languages. She was a bright student, with polite manners, and a talent for playing the piano. However, she also liked to flaunt her status a "rich girl” and liked having an audience. She also loved the outdoors, where she spent many a day roaming the countryside with her older brother Bud, who taught her how to ride a horse and handle a gun.

However, her life changed dramatically when the Kansas-Missouri Border War broke out. Jasper County watched both armies pass through time and again, forcing residents to take sides, and making neighbors into bitter enemies. Irregular bands of "Jayhawkers" and "Red Legs" laid waste to Missouri communities in support of the Union.

Continue reading HERE.

What our readers are saying about Legends Of America.

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A wonderful website. Amazing pictures and endless information. Thank you for this gem of a webpage! - Traci in Tennessee




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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-Alexander


Dave Alexander
Owner/Operations Mgr.


Email - Kathy
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