Hays, Kansas – Edmond, Oklahoma

It’s been a casual start to today and seeing as I have no car projects, it’s time for another little history lesson.

Hays was established in 1867, however prior to this, was located near the territories of Arapaho, Kiowa and Pawnee. It was claimed by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and became part of Kansas Territory in 1854.

Fort Fletcher was established by the US Army in 1865 (southeast of present day Hays) to protect stagecoaches traveling The Smoky Hills Trail.

In 1866, it’s name was changed in honor of the late Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays.

In 1867, with the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, Fort Hays was moved northwest to better serve the railroad.

Then there is more history about a town called Rome, Hays City being formed, Rome was abandoned after cholera outbreaks and so became Hays!

A frontier town, it had its fair share of violence infamous in the American Old West. Some 79 outlaws are said to be buried in Boot Hill north of town by 1885. Wild Bill Hicock served as sheriff for a brief stint in 1869.

Germans settled in Hays around 1886, having a great influence on the culture of the town.

We continued south to Wichita, which began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860’s. It was a cowtown and frequent stop for cattle being driven from Texas to Kansas railroads.

The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railways ran through her during its cowtown days and across the Arkansas River was the usual entertainment of brothels, saloons and lack of law enforcement. Wyatt Earp was one lawmen who at some point got Wichita back on the straight and narrow.

As early as the 1920’s and 30’s it also became known as ‘the air capital of the world’ becoming a US aircraft production hub.

So named after the Wichita people, the Keeper of the Plains monument is spectacular! We have been and visited this in person previously but here is a great sunset pic of it.

Check this out! The first ever Pizza Hut building!

Many fast food chains actually started in Wichita, Pizza Hut in 1958. The building is now located within University grounds.

We exited the I-35 to Wellington but we’re again disappointed the Chisholm Trail Museum is closed and with over an hour til opening time we had to continue on our way.

We continued to Edmond, formed during the April 22, 1889 Land Run. It was named after a Santa Fe railroad traveling freight agent. Well it was the name of the train depot was prior to the town being established but was adopted for the town name also.

The first public schoolhouse in the Oklahoma Territory was completed in August of 1889 and still stands as a historic monument on 2nd street.

The ‘Edmond Sun’ located down the street in the opposite corner is the states oldest continuing newspaper dating from July 18, 1889.

And so it is time for last catch ups, washing and packing before we head for Dallas and departure tomorrow.

Kat xo

Photo Credit:

Stagecoach Robbery by R A Davenport/Hip Postcard

Cowtown – Cowtowns Kansapedia – Kansas Historical Society

Pizza Hut building – Wikipedia

Edmond Schoolhouse – Edmond Historical Society

Onward to Cheyenne

We left Manitou Springs yesterday morning, first visiting Miramont Castle.

Built in 1895 with a west wing being added in 1897, it was built as a personal residence for Fr. Jean Baptiste Francolon and his mother. Might I add right here and now – this place is huge just for two people to be running around in!!

Miramont has 4 floors, with 30 rooms covering 14,000 square feet. It features 9 styles of architecture designed by Fr. Francolon – shingle style Queen Anne, English Tudor, Romanesque, Flemish stepped gables, Venetian Ogee, Byzantine and half timber Chateau.

Being originally from France (then to New Mexico), I guess if he had travelled often through various parts of Europe before arriving in America then he would have seen many styles, thus incorporating his favorites into the castle.

Having been built in the late 1890’s and having some wealth, the castle included such luxuries as indoor plumbing, steam heat and electricity.

Fr. Francolon’s first house (located above the castle) was donated to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium. They named it Montcalme.

Miramont means “look at the mountains” and when you reach the Queen’s Parlor Tea Room and feast your eyes on the stunning windows and view to the mountains you can understand why it was named so.

Hitting the road we make a quick stop into Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings. Man these people must have been tiny! Either that or they lived with hunched backs all their life! No room for you to stand normally.

The Anasazi cliff dwellings, built more than 700 years ago, can be touched, you can go inside and there is a 3-story Pueblo-style building housing the Anasazi Museum. Worth a visit!

From here we headed out to Garden Of The Gods, taking the one way road in. It was busy given it is summer holidays here but we managed a park at the Visitor Centre and got that spectacular view of the rocks.

Leaving Clancy at that point we all set off for our next destination – Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kat xo

The Law West of The Pecos

Well actually we are headed NW, passing Villanueva, El Pueblo, San Miguel, crossing the Pecos River a couple of times.

The landscape is once again changing, with hidden ranch’s amongst a very green landscape and red rock cliffs.

With Clancy in tow, we are headed for Manitou Springs. Others have headed for Deadwood, the Turquoise Trail or back to Australia today.

Our first stop would take us into Las Vegas, NM where a brief trip into the Rough Riders Antiques store saw Clancy buy a gorgeous silver barrette and my score was a nickel silver Mexican hat pin that simply was just too unique to pass up.

We found that the Castenada Hotel is now open with 7 rooms and the bar for afternoon drinks. The ceiling, floors, windows are still original and yet there is still a lot of work to be done in getting the rest of the Hotel open. I look forward to a future visit to see her in all her glory!

Oh, and my fascination with the Castenada? She was the first Fred Harvey track-side hotel built in East Las Vegas that fed and watered passengers who journeyed the Santa Fe railway routes. When it opened in 1899 Teddy Roosevelt held a reunion of his Rough Riders here. The Rough Riders Museum just up the street is closed Monday’s but we did get to visit it last year.

As per the brochure (and having read the Harvey Girls book) Fred Harvey civilised the west. He developed and ran all the hotels and restaurants of the Santa Fe Railway, eventually controlling a hospitality empire that spanned the continent. He introduced linen, silverware, China, crystal and impeccable service to railroad travel.

We made a stop at Charlie’s Spic n Span Bakery – not for cream puff’s! – but a donut or key lime selection and coffee. We got a view of the mural whilst there. The mural is a documentary of South West and American History. Spanning the decades of time, it was created by some 300 students and additional community members.

We took a short trip past gorgeous Victorian houses and out to Montezuma Castle. Now and International school for students you can not visit the castle as its student use only now. It is truly magnificent in its size and presence set atop the hill in a secluded section of Montezuma.

We left New Mexico over the Raton Pass at a mere 7834ft and into Colorado. We are now in Manitou Springs.

As evening sets on this tiny town of Victorian charm, pubs, and shops, we enjoyed a couple of margarita’s and some dinner before retiring for an early night.

Some sight seeing tomorrow before getting into Cheyenne for the duration of the week!

Kat xo

Who wants mega dessert!!!!

I got spoilt! Wild Horse John brought a cream puff from THE best bakery I’ve found.

From Las Vegas, New Mexico, Charlie’s Spic and Span have the biggest cream puffs you ever will see!

It’s huge, I don’t know whether the photos will give you enough of an idea of size. 🤣🤣

Oh and it was laying down in the box!

Suffice to say, thank you John and thank goodness Jack and I are sharing AND we get to run around again tomorrow to work it off!!

Mmmmm creammmm

Kat xo

Headed For The Mountains

We left our gracious hosts, Union Jack and Babe Ruthless, this morning to head for Ridgeway, Ouray and on to Silverton.

Leaving with a stunning view to the San Juan mountain ranges we headed out of town. Our first quick stop would be Ridgeway and the True Grit Cafe. The scene from the original True Grit with John Wayne playing Marhsal Rooster Cogburn, takes a ruffian and boots him out of the space marked as Chambers Groceries.

True Grit Cafe boasts the sign ‘Chambers Groceries’ that was used in the film and is a tribute to John Wayne, offering great food and a view to much memorabilia. However!! Again, we arrive and it is closed!! We kept thinking it was Monday’s it was closed but must be Tuesday’s which was soooooo frustrating!! So no, we still have not seen the inside of the True Grit Cafe.

We continued on our way to Ouray. Its scenery is often referred to as the Switzerland of America and of course is just stunning and one of my favourite places to go through. With its many historic buildings lining Main Street, I am just in awe of the secrets these must hold every time we visit. Of course we couldn’t go past the O’Briens Irish Pub without a pint of Guiness!

In the mid to late 1800’s, miners came to Ouray for silver and gold. It has hot springs that are still used today and along the Million Dollar Highway the view back to the valley in Ouray was featured in the opening credits of the Netflix series The Ranch. One of Jack’s and my favorites with Sam Elliott of a non-cowboy film nature.

We continued up the winding roads climbing again to some 10,000ft and dropping down into Silverton which sits at 9,318ft above sea level. We found a motel for the night and walked up the street to the sounds of the steam train.

The Durango-Silvertown Narrow Gauge Railway runs on a 3ft (914mm) wide track along 45.2m (72.7km) between the two Colorado towns. We have done this trip before but the sound of the whistle just draws you in!

We got up to the depot but she is turned around and ready for departure back to Durango. Still such a spectacular site and sound.

Wandering in and out of shops, we headed for the Handlebars Saloon. This place we have also been to on other occasions and is definitely the place to go when in Silverton. Handlebars has relocated from behind the Indian Store to its new location on Greene Street, the main street in town.

It still boasts its usual paraphernalia of taxidermy, weird signs and humor!! It has not lost its uniqueness at all and the food is still outstanding!

Back to the Motel for time out and a rest! Tomorrow we will head down through to Durango.

Kat xo

North through Oklahoma

Through back fields heading North in Oklahoma, past oil fields and Ranches.

On through Kingfisher (where we visited the Chisholm Trail Museum last year) everything is lovely and green. A stark contrast against the red dirt and a somewhat grey looking sky today.

On to Woodward, established 1887, this little town has a tonne of history! Once home to Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes it later became one of the most important depots in the Oklahoma Territory. The Great Western Cattle Trail met the railway at Woodward and so it became a big depot for shipping cattle East and North.

Like Dodge City, KS, Woodward had its own cattle town feel, full of saloons, gambling halls and brothels. Which brought famous ladies and the occasional bar brawl to town.

Temple Lea Houston (son of Sam Houston and former Texas state senator) arrived in Woodward with his family and law practice in 1894.

Houston himself, killed a man in the Cabinet Saloon after a personal disagreement but although charged and tried for murder, the jury acquitted him.

He won a reputation as a brilliant trial lawyer and was known for his courtroom dramatics.

He even argued on behalf of prostitutes making his “Soiled Dove Plea” where after just 10 minutes the jury acquitted her.

I had to look up what the “Soiled Dove Plea” was as it had sparked my interest when reading Wikipedia and Woodward history. More on that later!

From cattle town, to crops and cattle again, oil and gas or even iodine, Woodward still thrives today with a population of around 12,000.

From here we weave further West and head North to one of THE greatest cattle towns of all time, Dodge City, Kansas.

We will make Dodge City by lunchtime. Steak anyone?

Kat xo

The Yellow Rose of Texas

Texas – red white and blue strong, patriotic to the core and proud.

The Yellow Rose of Texas – well I'd heard the song before, basically know the tune and had more than likely heard Pa's warbly whistling renditions of it as well.

Do you know the history of it though?

Where is all this leading to you might ask and indeed I though this would be a more straightforward reference to the spectacular B-Western outfit completed for Complicated Lady.

So I will give a quick insight into her outfit and then digress to the history lesson as such.

This one was to be a complete Texas themed outfit in red, white and blue to go with THE most gorgeous pair of boots.

I started it back in the US and the fabric that came was not to our liking, whilst the blue was a bit deeper than expected it actually will absolutely nail the colour in the boots but the red was giving me fits.

I'd ordered a true red and what came changed like a chameleon in many different light sources to the point that I had to disappoint and not have it finished for when she wanted to debut this beauty. It looked burgundy more than anything. Insert mild tantrums and tears from me here!!

So into the shipping container and wait on its impending arrival. In the meantime, I had managed to locally source the same sort of suiting fabric in the brightest red that made my heart jump for joy!!

 

I now couldn't wait for it and my machine to arrive so I could crack on with this project!

It turned out sensational! Finished with embroidered stars, Texas flag state, yellow rose and blue bonnet combination's, finished with white deer skin fringe and some serious bling! Happy days indeed!!

 

Now back to 'The Yellow Rose of Texas'. To start The Alamo – Medium tells me 'the term “yellow” was commonly used in the 1830's to refer to mulattos and “rose” was a popular euphemism for a description for a young woman' (mulatto meaning a person of mixed white and black ancestry)

Blackpast.org explains 'West's possible forced separation from her black lover and her placement in Santa Anna's camp. According to legend, inspired her lover to compose the song we know as “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” Publicity surrounding the hotel in San Antonio that was named after Emily Morgan asserts that West was a spy for Texas'

The song is a traditional American folk song that originated in the 1850's. The earliest version found in Christy's Plantation Melodies No.2, a song book published under authority of Edwin Pearce Christy in Philadelphia 1853.

The song has since been reworked and recorded by many an artist including Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson to name but a few. It was chosen as one of the top 100 great Western songs of all time.

Mitch Millers version in 1955 became a gold record achieving #2 position in the UK and #1 position in Australia.

During the American Civil War it became popular with Confederate soldiers in the defeated Texas Brigade of the Battle of Nashville. Texans remained ever gallant even in defeat.

Who was Emily West? Emily D. West (c. 1815-1891) also known as Emily Morgan, is a folk heroine whose legendary activities during the Texas Revolution have come to be identified with the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas”. West was a free woman of color, of mixed race, or a “high yellow”…….in 1836, with other residents, she was kidnapped by Mexican cavalry. Forced to travel with the forces of General Santa Anna as they prepared to face the army led by Sam Houston, she was in the Mexican camp on April 21 when Houston's men attacked. The Texans won the Battle of San Jacinto in 18 minutes.

According to legend, Santa Anna was caught unprepared as he was engaged in 'other activities' with West when Houston struck. This was reportedly recorded in a journal in 1842 when a gentleman was told the story by Sam Houston during a steamer trip.

In any case, historians question the reliability of such a story but as history often predicts (bit like Chinese whispers), stories get embellished, legends are made and so it becomes. Why shouldn't we think the defeat occurred by those means?

Emily West has been immortalised in history regardless and a hotel, The Emily Morgan Hotel, in downtown San Antonio, is named in honor of the Texas heroine.

Maybe this outfit should be called 'Emily'?

Kat xo