A key scene within Isabella’s Calico Groom (Calico Ball: Timeless Western Collection) is on Independence Day in Evanston, Wyoming Territory (a week shy of Wyoming’s acceptance into the Union as the 44th State). In keeping with the historical favorites when celebrating July 4th, the characters took note of the races–on foot, on bicycles, and in wheelbarrows. Victorian Americans enjoyed a wide range of contests with appealing prizes (cash, clothing, shoes, jewelry, etc.). Would you rather compete in a bicycle race, or in chasing a greased pig?
Book Review of Chris Enss’s title: Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West. This nonfiction, informative, entertaining book presents women of the Old West–their impact and influence on mining towns, settling the west, and men from prospectors to politicians.
Behind the 19th century soda fountain counter, “baristas” known as Dispensers or Soda Men, knew a tremendous amount about customer service, the making of an ever-growing list of beverages, and the care and use of operating the soda apparatus. While other trained men mixed syrups, compounded recipes for everything from soda water to flavorings to syrups, and cleaned and repaired the machines, this article focuses on the Soda Men and their key role in the success of a Victorian-American Soda Fountain. This post is filled with primary-source recipes, tips for excellent customer service, and instructions to properly pour a soda water or ice cream soda.
“Nineteenth Century Problems” is a bit of poking fun at today’s “First World Problems” tongue-in-cheek humor…the challenges we face today because we have a life of ease. I came across the Nineteenth Century practice of allowing barnyard animals free run of the surrounding neighborhood–not a problem until their presence (and eating habits, and messes)–became an inconvenience of that growing town. Read vintage newspaper clippings about this challenge and the dangers it posed, along with a separate, serious threat of the late Nineteenth Century; now that’s a serious problem!
I’m a woman. I’ve never fired a gun (other than a BB gun when I was twelve). I read a lot of western historical romance and I write it too. When writing The Marshal’s Surrender (the most gun-intense book so far), I still had to do a lot of research to make sure my story stood on an accurate historical platform. Where did gunmen stash their Colt revolvers? What did their holsters look like? Did they wear a belt? What about a hidden, back-up gun (like gamblers always seem to have)? In this article, I share vintage photographs and an 1877 patent image, showing those of us unfamiliar with nineteenth century firearms what they looked like.