Old West Saviors

Saving a Piece of True West

/Johnny-Cash-with-Joe-Small-at-the-Norwood-House.More than 30 years passed before four citizen groups and multiple city councils saved a “precious jewel in Austin’s crown,” the Norwood Park Foundation reports.

While they were at it, they saved a jewel in the crown of True West Magazine.

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Liberty, Not Death

ows-Edna-Seminole_Ralph-Red-Fox_-Ednas-son-WinslowChildren soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows to capture frost and warded off hunger by chewing on leather. After four days of starvation, their elders declared they would rather die seeking freedom than perish like this.

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Keeping the Faith

Mescalero-Reservation-Father-Albert-BraunFather Albert Braun didn’t have much outside his Purple Heart medal when the 30 year old returned from WWI in 1919—$100 in U.S. Army pay, three shovels and a stonemason friend in California—but he believed he had enough to build a majestic church on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico to replace a crumbling adobe structure.

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Studying Villa’s Raid

Fire-set-by-the-Villistas_-March-9_El-Paso-TX_photographer-Otis-A-Aultman-captured-aftermathMarch 9, 1916, started out bad for the 13th Cavalry at Camp Furlong. Ignoring the warning that Mexican Revolution Gen. Pancho Villa was in the area, the soldiers were asleep when 400 to 500 Villistas rode into Columbus, New Mexico, around four that morning.

“They were completely unprepared,” U.S. Army Historian Dr. Robert Bouilly says.

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East Texas Treasure

ows_Millards-Crossing-Nacogdoches-TX_Mrs-Thomas"You people are crazy.” Those who knew Lera Millard Thomas can still hear her scold the city council of Nacogdoches, Texas, with those words.

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The Biggest Buffalo Buff

Gary-Martinson-loves-buffaloBuffalo are still roaming the American West—even in Arizona.

Outside the buffalo wildlife ranges in Raymond, east of Flagstaff, and House Rock, east of the North Kaibab, you can find an Arizona tribute to the “greatest icon that ever lived” in Navajo County.

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Barker’s Riches

OWS_Barkerville-PreservationThey laughed at Billy Barker when he and his crew went off to prospect for gold in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.

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Cement Cowboy Nearly Dies

Joe-Sughrue-stands-next-to-the-Cowboy-StatueOn the Ashes of My Campfire, This City is Built.”

That inscription has graced a 2,000-pound, nearly eight-foot-tall cement statue of a cowboy for 86 years on Boot Hill in Dodge City, Kansas.

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Saving the Wall Street of the West

OWS_Legends-set-photoSay “Stockyards,” and everyone knows that means Fort Worth, Texas. Anyone visiting the city today is struck by how beautifully the historic stockyards have been preserved.

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One Man’s Dream

888-cabin-of-Robert-B.-Anderso_first-black-homesteaderWhen she was a seventh grader, Lori White knew Kenneth “Dobby” Lee as her school bus driver in Alliance, Nebraska.

She later found out that he had been a carpenter and mayor of the town before he began driving kids to school. After he retired at age 65, she attended the fall festival in the frontier town he was assembling with his son on the outskirts of her hometown in the Nebraska Sandhills.

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Spirit Warriors Rise Up

Indian-Memorial-at-Little-Bighorn-Battlefield-National-MonumentThe Little Big Horn battlefield is the site of exquisite tragedy and triumph—depending on whose eyes are watching: tragedy for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and half his 7th Cavalry, who were wiped out there in June 1876; triumph for the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, who won the battle to protect their ancestral lands.

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“It’s My Obsession”

Rock-star-Phil-Collins-donating-Alamo-artifactsLegendary rock musician Phil Collins doesn’t exactly believe in psychics, but he has to admit, he feels eerie about this: A clairvoyant once told him he was the reincarnation of John W. Smith—an Alamo courier who went on to become the first mayor of San Antonio.

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Saving Madam Jennie’s Place

mary-willis-and-sally-dryer_Jerome_preservationistsIf the old girl were still around—if Madam Jennie Bauters could see her “crib” and hotel now—she’d probably fan herself with an ostrich feather and say, “Way to go, girls!”

“Jennie’s Place” in Jerome, Arizona, will likely survive another hundred years because of the new life given it by the foresight, endurance and just plain stubbornness of Mary Wills and Sally Dryer.

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The West’s Newest Museum

Scottsdale-Museum-of-the-West_EggenhoferWe will be a living institution. We will offer experiences. We will be the storytellers.”

That’s how museum director Michael J. Fox describes his latest project: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, in the historic downtown of an Arizona city that calls itself the “West’s most Western town.”

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The Last Bonanza Farm

OWS_bonaza-farm_virginia-goergerPerhaps the greatest example in the Old West of making lemonade out of lemons is what happened in Dakota Territory in the 1870s.

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The Burden Basket Struggle

Yavapai-Apaches-burden-basket-struggleJust 81 words tell the story—but they’re powerful enough to represent the struggle and courage of the Yavapai-Apache people of Arizona’s Verde Valley.

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The West’s Most Western Town

scottsdale-arizona-postcard-1950In Arizona’s high noon showdown over the brand the “West’s Most Western Town,” Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia faced off with their hands on their holsters.

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Dirt Floor Paradise

T-Anchor-Ranch_Charles-GoodnightCharles Goodnight—the “Father of the Texas Panhandle”—was not a man who took no for an answer.

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Curtis’s Big Dream

zuni-indian-girlsHers is a simple, worn face; mouth and eyes downturned—in sadness, in waiting, in remembrance? That humble portrait of an old woman—Princess Angeline in Seattle, Washington, 1895—launched a nearly 40-year career unparalleled in its importance to the American West.

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Klondike Kickstarter

Richard-Fike_carriage-clock-klondike-Gold-RushHe was too young to read the message scratched on the back, but four-year-old Richard Fike knew he loved the carriage clock he had found in Alaska while his dad was working on the Alaska Highway in the 1940s.

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The Two-Reel Texas Rascal

ows_frick_john-wayne_alamoWhat comes first to mind when you want to talk Western history? Probably Texas.

Caroline Frick guessed that, even while she was working at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., or at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, California.

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True Westerners

Rick Wallner

Rick Wallner

The best book on Bent’s Fort is David Lavender’s Bent’s Fort , although Mark Lee G...

Justice for Jack

Justice for Jack

Pioneer Jack Swilling should be remembered for his many contributions to Arizona...

Liberty, Not Death

Liberty, Not Death

Children soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows t...

MAY 2015

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True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

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