Subject: Legends of America Newsletter - May 2017

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Legends of America Newsletter - May 2017

Kathy goes exploring in the Land of Ah's.
Marshall County - Recently while working on our other website -- Legends of Kansas, I ran into a county that has 16 towns. Now, if you know Kansas at all, you know that it is primarily agricultural and most counties don't have more than a half dozen towns, with the exception of metropolitan areas.

I'm a thinking with that many towns, some of them have to be ghost towns and I wasn't wrong. With the exception of Marysville, the county seat, all of these villages were pretty small, some just tiny, but all had at least a few people living in them. Only two were truly ghost towns -- Winifred and Vliet. Many of the tiny towns, though I wouldn't call them "ghosts", were filled with abandoned buildings that made for good photo opportunities - more of that "Emerging Ghost Towns of the Plains."

It took two days to do this large county and I spent the night in a historic railroad hotel that now serves as a bed and breakfast inn in Waterville. This charming place, called the Weaver Hotel, was not only filled with history but also the rooms were great and the staff very friendly.

Maybe because I stayed there, Waterville was my favorite. I learned that at one time Waterville was a short-lived cowtown, which intrigued me as I thought I had written about all of the Kansas cowtowns. The next morning when I filled up with gas, I walked into the local Sinclair station to find it filled with men drinking coffee and eating doughnuts. Once again - all very friendly. I think it reminded me a little of the small Kansas town I grew up in.

Other towns I visited included Axtell, Beattie, Blue Rapids, Bremen, Frankfort, Lillis, Oketo, Summerfield, Vermillion, and a town called Home. Cool name - very close to being "ghosty", but still has a post office and a bar.

I'm always intrigued by the last open remaining businesses in what appear to soon become ghost towns. A bar is often at the top of that list - you know they say liquor is recession proof. Sometimes, when in a rich agricultural area, tiny towns will still sport a bank. Others, if they're lucky will still have a gas station/convenience store, but more, and more, I'm not seeing too many of those in tiny towns. One interesting remnant in some of the places is a beauty shop. I think that speaks a little to the age of the residents. The young move on to the cities where jobs can be found, leaving behind the older folks.

One of the most beautiful things often found in small towns are these great churches. I'm always amazed -- sometime they sit in the middle of pastures, with no nearby business buildings or a sign of a town anywhere close. This was the case in Bremen. There were actually two churches still operating on the prairie that have an address of Bremen, though that tiny, very near "ghost town" is still miles away.

One of these days I'm going to write a story about these beautiful buildings -- Skyscrapers of the Plains, I think I'll call it.

Kathy Weiser-Alexander
Ps. The other reason that I made this trip at the time that I did was that my granddaughter Graci, who is 12, wanted me to come speak at her class about Kansas legends and how I started the website. They were using Legends of America as a study tool. I jumped at the chance and had a great time. The best was the thank you card I received, in which, every single student wrote me a message. Made my day – my week!
From Kathy's Kansas Adventure

Here's more about some of the places visited during Kathy's trip through parts of Northeast Kansas last month. From our Legends Of Kansas webpages.
Waterville - The Lost Cowtown - Located 15 miles southwest of Marysville on a gentle slope reaching back from the Little Blue River, the first settler who located near the present townsite of Waterville, was Stearnes Ostrander, early in the spring of 1857.

Frankfort - The neighborhood of which Frankfort, Kansas became the trading point was settled in 1855-56 by Free-State men from Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In August, 1857, a post office was established with D.C. Auld as the first postmaster and called Nottingham. It was located about two miles southeast of where the future town of Frankfort would be established. However, it would be several years before a town would be officially organized.
Blue Rapids, Kansas is located in northeast Kansas near the junction of the Little Blue and Big Blue Rivers about 12 miles south of Marysville, Kansas. The first endeavor to establish a town below the junction of the rivers was made in 1857 when a town was laid out by James Waller, who lived on Elm Creek, Henry Poor and M. L. Duncan.

Oketo, Kansas - Getting its start as a trading point on the Big Blue River in the 1860s, the settlement was named for a chief of the Otoe tribe, Arkaketah. Oketo is one of the' oldest points to claim settlement in Marshall county.

More Marshall County Towns and Places on our Legends Of Kansas website.

What's New on Legend's Of America

Brooks–McFarland Feud - Leading to the Spokogee Shootout in 1902, the Brooks - McFarland Feud slowly came to a boil for six years.

United States Trivia, Fun Facts and Firsts - Did you know Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair? Or, that by law, only dead people can appear on U.S. currency? These and more in a fun look at trivia from the U.S.

Did You Know?

"Tiger Town" referred to an alley, street or district that had many gambling halls where the card game Faro was played.

First known as Pharaon, the game became extremely popular in Europe in the 18th century. With its name shortened to Pharo or Faro, it soon spread to America and became favored during the California Gold Rush.

Native American Symbols, Pictographs & Petroglyphs
When European explorers arrived in America, Native Americans did not communicate through writing as we know it. Instead, they told stories (oral histories) and created pictures and symbols. This type of communication is not unique to Native Americans, as long before writing was developed, people around the world recorded events, ideas, plans, maps, and feelings by drawing pictures and symbols on rocks, hides, and other surfaces.

Corps of Discovery - The Lewis & Clark Expedition
On May 14, 1804, a group of forty men, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, set out on their historic journey to the Pacific Coast from St. Louis, Missouri.  The expedition would greatly increase the young nation's knowledge of the newly acquired land from the Louisiana Purchase, and opened the door to westward settlement. 

Something to see.. Old World Wisconsin

While making your travel plans this summer, consider visiting a true gem in the Badger State, Old World Wisconsin. 
In the 1970's, Wisconsin researchers traveled throughout the state looking for authentic historic buildings representing generations of Wisconsin settlers. Over 60 of these historic buildings were then painstakingly moved piece by piece, literally numbering boards, bricks and logs to reconstruct them in what would become the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States..
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