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November 30, 2015

Kansas Rail Towns and Little House on the Prairie

Happy Holidays Ya'll! No matter your religion, beliefs and traditions, we wish you all the best this season brings, and hope that it brings you joy.

Kathy and I had an early Thanksgiving with family in Lawrence, Kansas, enjoying the grandkids, kids and pot roast. We don't get to the "city" much, so we always hit a grocery store while there, just to experience things we don't get here in Warsaw. Found a great deal on Crab Legs, so after returning home, that's what we had for our actual Thanksgiving meal for two. We'll hold the Turkey for Christmas this year.

While there we did manage a day trip over to Junction City, Kansas, via back roads and ghost towns. I'll be sure to include more on that adventure soon. First though, I promised the second part of last month's adventure to Wichita and back.

Our journey home in late October to Missouri, from Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, was planned with an eye on Kansas ghost towns, near ghost towns, and a quick stop at the Little House on the Prairie Museum. What we found were a lot of towns established with the anticipation of the railroad in the 1880's. There were a lot of photo opportunities as well, and between the two of us, Kathy wound up with over 2,500 to choose from. So she spent a week going through and loading up additions to our Kansas galleries. This blog will cover only a portion of the trip home, but you'll get the idea of what you see in this part of the Land of Ahh's.

After a gorgeous Kansas sunrise, we left our campsite at Santa Fe Lake, and headed East. Along the way, just outside of Augusta, we made a quick stop at Henry's Sculpture Hill.

Artist Frank Jensen bought "the Hill" in 1986, just outside of Augusta, as a place to work on his cast iron art, made out of old farm machinery. He named his place "Henry's Sculpture Hill" in honor of famed author David Thoreau who wrote in Walden, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." Indeed, Jensen does have a different beat than most, and it was a great stop (although we didn't catch them open, and were only able to get some shots from outside the fence). *note, more about the trip and photos in the blog & galleries via link provided below.

Continue Reading about the ghost towns, near ghost towns and the Little House on the Prairie Museum  in our Blog Kansas Rail Towns and Little House on the Prairie

Dave and Kathy


More "What's New" on Legends of America

Here's the latest additions and updates at Legends Of America"

Old Franklin & the Start of the Santa Fe Trail - Franklin, Missouri was the starting point for the first Santa Fe caravan of pack mules led by Captain William Becknell in 1821. Today this once prominent city is nothing more than a marker.


Castle Mirage, Death Valley, Digital compositionThe Queen of Death Valley - Shoshone legend tells of a Queen's greed that led to a lush valley being turned into 'ground afire', and her alone in a half finished castle that can sometimes be seen on the horizon.


William Becknell blazes the Santa Fe TrailWilliam Becknell - Father of the Santa Fe Trail - Known as the 'Father of the Santa Fe Trail', Captain William Becknell was the first to blaze the path. He was also a frontiersman, trader, soldier, and politician.


The Negro Motorist Green-BookRoute 66- A Nostalgia Not Experienced By All (Crucial Role of the Green Book) - While many remember the Mother Road with nostalgia and fond memories, for Americans of color it wasn't the same. Thankfully they had Victor Green and the Green Book


Bavaria, Kansas - Ranching on the Santa Fe Trail - From our Legends of Kansas website. An unincorporated community located about nine miles southwest of Salina Kansas, Bavaria was originally known as Hohneck (or Honek), for the first settler, Ernst Hohneck, who came to the area in 1865. It is a ghost town today.

A rusty truck in Elk City, Ks. Photo by Dave AlexanderElk City, Kansas - From our Legends of Kansas website. Situated in the northwestern part of Montgomery County at the confluence of Duck Creek with Elk River, Elk City began as a trading post established by John Kappell in early 1868 when the area was still part of the Diminished Reserve of the Osage Indians.

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


A Pioneer Christmas

It's a Legends' Tradition to share the story of a Pioneer Christmas

Old West Christmas

By the mid 1800s the American Christmas tradition included much of the same customs and festivities as is does today, including tree decorating, gift-giving, Santa Claus, greeting cards, stockings by the fire, church activities and family-oriented days of feasting and fun.

But, for those in the Old West, far away from the more civilized life of the east, pioneers, cowboys, explorers, and mountain men, usually celebrated Christmas with homemade gifts and humble fare.

Christmas for many in the Old West was a difficult time. For those on the prairies, they were often barraged with terrible blizzards and savage December winds. For mountain men, forced away from their mining activities long before Christmas, in fear of the blinding winter storms and freezing cold, the holidays were often meager. But, to these strong pioneers, Christmas would not be forgotten, be it ever so humble.

Determined to bring the spirit of Christmas alive on the American frontier, soldiers could be heard caroling at their remote outposts, the smell of venison roasting over an open hearth wafted upon the winds of the open prairie, and these hardy pioneers looked forward to the chance to forget their hard everyday lives to focus on the holiday.

Continue Reading A Pioneer Christmas

Save 15% on Everything in Legends' General Store and on Prints in Legends' Photo Print Shop.  Just use coupon code LOA15

15% off applies to sale merchandise too!

From Personalized* Glassware and Wall Art, to Nuwati HerbalsDVD's and CD's and much more, our General Store has you covered for that unique gift.  (*Personalized/engraved orders must be placed by December 10 to ensure delivery in time for Christmas)

Check out our thousands of photos available for Prints, some up to 24x26, at our Photo Print Shop.  From the Old West to Ghost Towns,Route 66 to Americana, vintage and new. Want that photo on something else?  Many are available for T-Shirts, coffee mugs, iPad cases and more. Just click buy, then select the product category you're interested in. 

Don't forget to save 15% off on everything in both our stores, just use coupon code LOA15 during checkout!


Did You Know?

The idea of celebrating the harvest pre-dates the Pilgrims with origins that can be traced back to Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

In America, although we recognize the Pilgrims three day feast at Plymouth in October of 1621 as the first Thanksgiving in the new world, celebrations can be found dating back to the 1500's.

Palo Duro Canyon, just south of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle, was host to Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who led 1,500 men in a Thanksgiving celebration in May of 1541.

Read more about The American Tradition of Thanksgiving


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Just Stuff

Old Fashion Turkey from our 
Old Fashioned Recipes 

Think I'll try this for Christmas since we didn't have turkey last week. 

1 - 16 - 20 lb turkey (fresh is better than frozen)
1 lb of fresh sausage
4 pkgs of bread cubes with the spices included
1 stalk of celery
1 medium size red onion
3 fresh apples, cored and sliced
1 pkg dried apricots
1 pkg dried peaches
1 pkg dried pears
1 box raisins
1/2 lb walnuts, chopped
1/4 lb butter, melted
chicken or turkey broth
1/2 gal apple cider (apple juice may be used)
1/4 lb. butter (this is for the basting sauce)

Chop onions and celery med. fine, not too large and not too small. Brown sausage then sauté' onions and celery in sausage drippings.  Cut dried fruit into quarters min.  In a very large bowl or pot (I use a canning pot) add one bag of bread cubes with envelope of seasoning (I always add my own seasons such as sage, poultry seasoning, garlic, and etc.).  Add some sausage, onion & celery mixture, sliced apples, and each type of dried fruit, raisins, and walnuts.  Add the next bag of bread cubes and repeat the layering.  Do this until all the dry ingredients are used.  Add the melted butter followed by chicken broth or turkey broth and mix the dressing until you obtain the desired texture or moisture you like. Stuff the turkey.  Place extra dressing in a casserole dish and bake.
Put the apple cider (fresh is the best if you can get it) and 1/4 lb butter warm the cider until the butter melts.  Stir the mixture before basting.  Baste every 30 - 45 min. until turkey is done.
Make turkey gravy in usual manner.
This recipe can be used for oven baking OR barbecuing the turkey. When barbecuing, bank the coals and place a drip pan under the turkey to catch the drippings for your gravy.  Barbecuing gives the bird a more authentic flavor of the old way as the pioneers must have enjoyed turkey.

What Our Readers Are Saying

I recently read about the Chinese laborers of the West which brought me to search for the story of the Donner Party. Having read this story on your website I am pleased to have learned so much about it. Great website, very informative and easy to navigate. Thank you. - Nadine in Australia

What you're doing is very relevant! Thanks! - Tony in Missouri

Very interesting reading, I love history. this is not your average history site. - Michele in Tennessee

Very informative. Thanks for work on the site and bringing the stories of America to life. - Leanne in Kansas.

I love your site!! Have always been interested in the old west, cowboy life, gunslingers & Native American history. You so fortunate to do, what you're doing. Always wanted to do the same but never got the chance to. Good luck with your site & I hope to enjoy many more of your stories!! - Terri in California

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