Special Treasures

I would safely say I have truly been blessed with meeting so many wonderful people, crossing paths along the way throughout my life during Cowboy Action shooting.

Not only for the commraderie, healthy competition and learning but also being able to assist in passing on my knowledge and skills along the way.

I have been extremely grateful in the past that some have found me worthy of little treasured presents.

This weekend I was given some plaid fabric by Annie Hicock that would make a great 1890's walking dress….so the thinking cap has gone on for that, time for a new dress in my future – in amongst everything else at some point!


Idaho Sue from Texas also brought me some fabric she was clearing out of her stash and in amongst it I think is the blue I'm looking for for my next formal gown! Holy cow! Excited much!


The jewel in the crown however, was when she came to me at the banquet last night with 3 little 'gems' that just blew me away for the much appreciated gift. She had seen 3 ivory handled button hooks at an antique store and thought I might like them. I don't know how many times I said thank you but it doesn't seem enough.


They are in the cabinet with my Fred Harvey 'gems'!


Thank you ladies, you made my weekend! Hugs!

Kat xo


Kansas to Minnesota

This morning after a fabulous breakfast and great hospitality from our hosts, we hit the road again and headed out for Kansas City.

We are visiting Union Station, just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri.

What a grand old lady is Union Station, with beautiful architecture, ornate ceiling rosettes, grand chandeliers AND Harvey's – a restaurant that once upon a time was a Fred Harvey house. I have a bit of an obsession with Harvey Houses.


Now there is Science City and a current exhibit of Mummies showing but we headed for the 2nd and 3rd floor history exhibits.

Union Station as it is today, replaced a smaller Union Depot that had served the city since 1878. The bigger station was built in 1914 on a new site away from floodplains just south of the central business district.


Just a few facts:

  • Jarvis Hunt, Architect was hired in 1906 for the building of Union Station.
  • When it opened in October, 1914 it was the second largest train station in the country.
  • It takes up 850,000sq ft/79,000m2 of real estate
  • Each chandelier, of which there are 3, weighs 3,500pds/1600kg
  • The Grand Hall clock face is 6ft/1.8m in diameter
  • The ceiling height in the Grand Hall is 95ft/29m high
  • In 1917 during WWI peak train traffic numbered 271 – 1945 during WWII peak passenger traffic was 678,363
  • 1933 Union Station massacre made headlines Frank Nash (notorious gangster, bank robber and escaped convict) along with 4 of his hit men attacked the men who had come to take him back to Leavenworth. 5 men including detectives and FBI agents were killed.

There are fabulous old photographs, information boards and displays of artefacts on the two levels overlooking the Grand Hall.


Mementos from special exhibitions are also on display along with information regarding the National Memorial and WWI Museum. The view across the lawn and fountain area to the Memorial is mighty fine. Landscape designer, George Kessler, indeed planned a beautiful city back in the late 1800's-early 1900's.


With a visit to Harvey's for extra breakfast (lol, don't need lunch! Have a go at the size of Jack's pancakes!!) we rolled out the door and back to the car to head further North through Missouri and into the state of Iowa.


Iowa is another new state to visit. We took a quick pit stop at Lamoni at the Welcome Centre and Amish store. I thought the buggy and horse were a statue when I saw the buggy parking sign! Lol! The horse must have realised the blonde needed an acknowledgement and with a turn of his head I realised it was real!


How fabulous Amish stores are with all their homemade and harvested fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Jack scored some Fig Jam and we got some awesome licorice wheels, YUM!


I head to the other end of the store where there is a neat little cafe set up and more goods. In the meantime, Jack perusing the information stand, finds the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum brochure. Winterset here we come!

Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, John Wayne is one of the most recognised western actor's history has seen.


This small museum has a theatrette, a gallery with costumes, guns and other items used in films he starred in. It has one of his last customised cars on display, a buggy and beautiful panels from the ballroom in The Shootist.


The wax statue and painted scenes of Monument Valley are excellent. Monument Valley lends the perfect western landscape to many movies. Director John Ford made John Wayne a star in 'Stagecoach' in 1939. John Wayne directed and starred in 3 other films in Monument Valley – 'Fort Apache', 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' and 'The Searchers'.


John Wayne starred in 152 movies! (200 actually, including cameo appearances)


The sweet little 4 room house and birthplace of John Wayne sits on it existing site just round the corner on the same block as the Museum and Gift shop. It has been restored and includes period furniture of 1907 when he was born.


Then it was back on the road!

We need to be in Faribault, Minnesota y'all!

Kat xo


Guthrie, OK

Walk down the main streets of Guthrie, Oklahoma and you are met by some of the most beautiful architecture at every turn.

Guthrie started out with the Land Run on April 22, 1889 where it became an immediate town of some 10,000 people and was the first capital of Oklahoma. Well for a few years it was, until a special election in 1910 named Oklahoma City as the state capital and it was from 1913 as it is today.


It's still a little early for shops and some Museums, so we headed for the one we knew was open – The Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library.


I had to ask the lady at the Museum, because I've thought about it for some time, what the difference is between Sooners and Boomers? Now I know, she and the Museum explained it well and no it is not just related to the University cheer song.


During and leading up to the Land Run – the 'Sooners' as they became known were the cheeky ones getting to the unassigned lands first. Checking out the ideal plots of land and then hiding out until the whistle blew for the race for the land grab. They would then pop up out of hiding and stake their claim.


The 'Boomers' had spent many years through government and legislation trying to get access to the land and often came in setting up towns only have to the army move in and shift them back to where they came from and burn the towns down.

The Museum was really good, fantastic information AND I found a new and interesting character to portray in dress. Loved perusing the Montgomery Ward & Co catalogue!


Hee hee hee, would love to get my hands on a copy of this Lady's Etiquette book as well! Might have to research this one. If the drafting books language is anything to go by, this should be hilarious!


In 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th state of the United States of America and so another star was added to the flag.


The original state flag commemorated Oklahoma as the 46th state, it was later changed because with its mostly red nature it fell out of favour where the colour red was associated with certain war conflicts around the world. 1925 saw the current design take over.


The library is stunning, beautiful timber work, high ceilings, and fireplaces.


A well worth trip to this Museum if you are ever in Guthrie.


Back up the road we walked – Saloons are few and far between these days. Back in the day there were 22 saloons in the main block!! What's an Aussie to do when they can't find a beer at high noon? One girl did offer for us to come in and she'd pour one for us while she was changing light bulbs (officially opening times for the few bars/restaurants is 5pm) we thanked her and declined.

We stepped inside the (once) Blue Bell Saloon and was glad to see the bullet hole ceilings and the gorgeous bar were still intact. However, was only patroned by a few having hamburgers (a cafe restaurant now) and not one beer tap to be seen, no bottles of liquor on shelves no nothing!


The famous western movie star Tom Mix used to bartend here.

Anyways, it's time to take the Historic Trolley tour of Guthrie then we will find somewhere for lunch.


Suffice to say there are some 2,000 historically listed buildings and homes in Guthrie. Some designed by architect Joseph Foucart.


There are a few parking lots that used to have what I can only imagine to be the most beautiful sand stone hotels, including the Mineral Wells Bath House with its indoor pool – said to have every kind of healing bath imaginable.


There are many examples of Greek revival, Georgian and Craftsman style homes to name but a few. (I can see a few 'Fixer Uppers' here too! I've been watching that show too much lol!)


So much information that I didn't get down in time as I was busy gazing at the buildings and homes but this one did make me giggle. This little red and grey home was ordered in a complete package form from Sears and Roebuck catalogue – sorta like your very first IKEA kit you might say!


Guthrie used to be wealthy for its cotton producing. A gentleman by the name of Adler was the first to be licensed for wholesale liquor manufacturing (funny how I remembered that bit 🙂 ). The very first services, gas, electric, water and more, all came out of Guthrie. The most famous lawmen for the area, known as 'The Guardsmen', were Heck Thomas, Bill Tilghman and Chris Madsen.

Last but not least Guthrie was originally a train stop and was known as Deer Creek in 1887, all 4 major train services came through this stop including Souhern Kansas Railway (later taken over by Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway). As some of you may know the ATSF was also associated with the Harvey House era and Guthrie's second depot was indeed a Harvey House stop (restaurant style stop for travellers, full service) and the Harvey girls lived in dormitories on the second floor level of the stop.


Trolley tour finished we had lunch, went to the Extra Special Fabric Store that I have been told had some awesome prints suitable for Cowboys and Cowgirls. It didn't disappoint, walked out with some new fabric for Jack and myself. Will be back there again.

Then we headed to the Drug Store Museum and wow! If you've got anything wrong with you, you would definitely have found all sorts of known and obscure cures for any type ailment. Was very interesting.


We wandered in and out of antique shops before hitting the road back to Edmond. A worthy little day trip only a half hours drive away.

It is Memorial Day weekend here (like ANZAC Day in Aus) Lest We Forget.


Kat xo

For more info, check out some of these sites.






Get The Heck INTO Dodge

As the billboards display, it’s into Dodge, not outta Dodge.

After a good nights sleep in Colby we headed down the 83 to Garden City. Kansas has a lot of fertile farming land and it’s no wonder they call it Plainsmen country as it is just that – very very flat. Full of corn fields and feed lots, and then more corn fields and oil derricks.

On the outskirts of Garden City seems to be a large industrial hub and also a manufacturer for wind turbines. These things are huge when you see all the parts laying in a plant yard!

Onward we went heading east to Dodge City arriving around lunchtime.

Dodge City town burnt down twice in the 1880’s, front street as depicted now at The Boot Hill Museum (some buildings or facades were moved to the site, the rest was replicated in 1958) is a replica of what it looked like back then, however was originally about 2 blocks away.

Dodge City was dubbed The Wickedest Little City in the west. Now it seems to hold the history and the spirit but is a booming cattle industry/meat producing town amongst corn, wheat and other crops.

Other interesting facts to note, (there was so much information to take in on the Trolley Tour I couldn’t keep up!). Other than the famous and infamous cowboys, lawmen etc that travelled through and worked in Dodge City.

– Fort Dodge was established in 1865, originally a campground of sorts for wagons travelling the Santa Fe Trail.

– George Hoover established the first saloon in Dodge. A sod hut erected in 1872, he later became Mayor.

– First burial on Boot Hill was in 1872 (named Boot Hill because people were usually buried with their boots on) and the Alice Chambers, a dance hall girl reportedly to be the only woman to have been ‘planted’ on Boot Hill, however supposedly by natural causes.

– Dodge City was known as queen of the cowtowns until the Kansas quarantine law came into effect in 1885 when the longhorns carried a tick disease that infected local cattle.

– there were 2 front streets, the more ‘decorum’ North side where no firearms or dance halls were allowed (north of the tracks and on the side where the reproduction street is), and the South side which was the main business block of the 1880’s popular with buffalo hunters and cowboys, saloons, gunfights and ruckus! Separated during the times of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson trying to bring order to the city.

– The Long Branch Saloon was the most popular. Owned and operated by Beeson and Harris, later made famous by the television series ‘Gunsmoke’. Regular entertainment was given by the Dodge City Cowboy Band and was known for gambling and fine whiskey.

– between 1866 and 1872 it is said the population was around 1000 citizens that reportedly consumed enough alcohol to the equivalent of 150 miles/ year!!!

– it was also known during that time that only 13 people were Christians. Gospel Hill becoming know for it’s churches, the St Cornelius Episcopal church still has the original building from 1891 the stained glass windows are still original. The Presbyterian church that is there now is built on the original site, the gable being where the first church was and the bell in the courtyard is from the original Presbyterian Church.

– The Mueller-Schmidt house is original and listed as a historic landmark today and you can take tours through it.

– The Santa Fe Depot once a famed Harvey Hotel was one of the finest depots. The building at the end of the depot is the original Harvey girls dormitory.

– The first Marshall for Dodge was in 1875. The famous Wyatt Earp was an assistant Marshall or Deputy in 1877 and had a quite way of enforcing law. Bat Masterson also embodied the colourful tales of the Wild West. He was one of the first citizens buffalo hunting with his brother and a friend. Bat’s brother Ed was a Marshall which was a short tenure when he was shot by a cowboy in a saloon as he attempted an arrest.

– Butter & Egg Rd was originally used as a street for farmers to bring butter and eggs into town to be sold. The county here wanted to change it for 911 upgrade purposes to Laryette but the community got together and protested keeping the name of the road as it’s original. It sits out in amongst the feedlot heartland.

– There are huge feedlots here with up to 1.3million cows capability. 85% cow hides are used for leather goods like shoes and car upholstery. Nothing is wasted, even the manure is used for fertiliser on other crops.

– Dodge City is one of the richest wheat and cattle industries in the world.

– When Francisco Vasquez de Coronado came through on his quest for gold in 1541 when he gave up looking for the City of Gold they left the horses here which in part is how the Indians became proficient horsemen and they became the ride for cowboys to navigate the plains.

– 3 years of intense buffalo hinting nearly eliminated the buffalo by the end of the late 1870’s. Prior to the hunting a buffalo herd could be a mile long and one and a half miles in width.

– at Fort Dodge, the Custom House original building was the original commanding officers quarters. The wooden building housed military men.

– The museum library is situated in the original store house.

– The quarters for the men, two stone barracks and one of Adobe. All now sits inside the Military Kansas Veterans and is a state soldiers home, like a retirement home.

– 1500 trucks a day service business in Dodge, for meat processing and other major manufacturers.

– There are two major meat processing plants in Dodge, employing around 2 thousand people each. The Winter Livestock lots is the biggest privately owned and runs auctions every Wednesday.

Phew! A history bombardment, fabulous! Hot day too, 106F/41C. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

We decided to move on at around 4.40pm and not do the wax museum. Tonight we spend in Pratt, KS, homeward bound to Edmond, OK tomorrow.

See you on the trail again next week as we head to Kentucky! Yee haa!

Kat xo