Old West Saviors

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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“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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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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A Dinner to Remember

Tommy_Delia-Perez_Deming-New-MexicoThe “most memorable dinner party in the Old West” just may be Julius Rosch’s stag dinner in Deming, New Mexico, in 1913.

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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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Uptop in the Spanish Peaks

Deb-Lathrop_Sam-Law_uptop-colorado_restored-frontier-townOne day, a dozen years ago, two sisters from New England decided they “never wanted to wear high heels or pantyhose again.” To keep that promise, they traveled an amazing distance, all the way to a Colorado mountaintop.

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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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Who is Alice Paul?

joan_molly-butler_greer-az-greer-lodgeJoan Anderson Meacham remembers being “so irritated and angry.” In 1979, the educated, 44 year old serving on the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in Cape May, New Jersey, got an invitation from the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation, prompting her to ask, “Who is Alice Paul?”

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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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The Saloon Keeper

Roger-Kislingbury-Saloon-keeperThe cowboys and Indians did not catch five-year-old Roger Kislingbury’s attention in 1949, the year his dad bought an RCA television that allowed him to watch Western shows and movies.

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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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A Mandan Circle Unbroken

Cory-Spotted-Bear_s-Earth-LodgeCory Spotted Bear is making up for lost time. He learned about the rich heritage of his Mandan people as an adult, and now he’s bringing back a centerpiece of his ancestors: round earth houses.

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True Westerners

Cord McCoy

Cord McCoy

Riding a bull requires practice, practice practice! Hard to hit a 90 mph fast bal...

Dark Starr

Dark Starr

One hundred years ago this month, Henry Starr set out to make history. The caree...

One Man’s Dream

One Man’s Dream

When she was a seventh grader, Lori White knew Kenneth “Dobby” Lee as her school...


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