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Spurs and the Great West

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nrobertb
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Re: Spurs

#286 Post by nrobertb » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:51 pm

Here's another interesting geological site, this time in Nebraska. Unfortunately it is far from main highways.

The Ashfall Fossil Beds of Antelope County in northeastern Nebraska are rare fossil site types that, due to extraordinary local conditions, capture a moment in time ecological "snapshot" in a range of well-preserved fossilized organisms. Ash from a Idaho hotspot eruption 10-12 million years ago created these fossilized bone beds.

The Ashfall Fossil Beds are especially famous for fossils of mammals from the middle Miocene geologic epoch.

The site is now protected as Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park, which includes a visitor center with interpretive displays and working fossil preparation laboratory, and a building over an ongoing excavation site featuring fossil Teleoceras (native hippo-like ancestral rhinoceros) and ancestral horses.

The ashfall site was created by a super volcano twice the size of the one that created Yellowstone. Imagine the consequences if that were to happen today.
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Re: Spurs

#287 Post by nrobertb » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:03 am

The Vore Buffalo Jump is an archeological site in Crook County, Wyoming. A sinkhole left a steep-sided pit about 40 feet deep and 200 feet in diameter. Native American hunters would stampede bison into the pit, which was deep enough to kill or disable the animals.

The Vore site was used as a kill site and butchering site from about 1500 AD to about 1800 AD. Archeological investigations in the 1970s uncovered bones and projectile points to a depth of 15 feet. About ten tons of bones were removed from the site. Only five percent of the site has been excavated, and the pit is estimated to contain the remains of 20,000 buffalo. Stone tools suggest that the Kiowa and Apache used the site as they migrated southwards to their modern home in the Texas-New Mexico region. Later peoples using the site included the Shoshone, Hidatsa, Crow and Cheyenne.

The site was discovered during the construction of Interstate 90 in the early 1970s. The Vore Buffalo Jump Foundation has built a small interpretive center and provides interpretive services in the summer. The site is located in a narrow strip of land between I-90 and old US 14 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
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Re: Spurs

#288 Post by nrobertb » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:12 am

it is a long drive down a dirt road to get to this site, but I think it is worth it.

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park is in Gallatin County, Montana. The park is named for a canyon cliff used by Native Americans as a buffalo jump, where herds of bison were stampeded over the cliff as an efficient means of slaughter. It was used for approximately 2000 years, dating as far back as 500 B.C. and ending around 1750 A.D. The indigenous peoples stampeded herds of bison off the cliff without the aid of horses or guns. They used the bison for food, clothing, provisions and shelter. The introduction of the horse to North America by European explorers and settlers brought about the end of the buffalo jumps. The State park has not changed much over the years; bone shards are still scattered at the base of the cliff and tepee rings are still around the top.

This buffalo jump along the Madison River was used by numerous tribes including the Hidatsa, Shoshone, Lakota, Dakota, Nez Perce, Bannock, Arapaho, Salish, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Crow, Gros Ventres, Cree and Assiniboine.
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Re: Spurs

#289 Post by nrobertb » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:19 pm

Back to the Santa Fe Trail. Council Grove in Kansas was one of the last stops before heading out across the prairie. The Last Chance Store was built in 1857 where the trail crossed the Neosho River. It was operated by Tom Hill as a trading post, as well as a post office and a polling place. The structure is constructed of local limestone and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 21, 1971.
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Re: Spurs

#290 Post by ffuries » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:54 pm

nrobertb wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:06 am
Lewis & Clark's air rifle was discussed on the old forum and I thought it worth bringing back.

The Girandoni air rifle was an airgun designed by Tyrolian inventor Bartholomäus Girandoni circa 1779. The weapon was also known as the Windbüchse ("wind rifle" in German). One of the rifle's more famous associations is its use on the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore and map the western part of North America in the early 1800s.

The Girandoni air rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815. Many references to the Girandoni air rifles mention lethal combat ranges of 125 to 150 yards and some extend that range considerably. The advantages of a high rate of fire, no smoke from propellants, and low muzzle report granted it acceptance. It did have problems and was eventually removed from service for several reasons decades after introduction. While the detachable air reservoir was capable of around 30 shots it took nearly 1,500 strokes of a hand pump to fill those reservoirs. The reservoirs, made from hammered sheet iron held together with rivets and sealed by brazing, proved very difficult to manufacture using the techniques of the period and were always in short supply. In addition, the weapon was very delicate and a small break in the reservoir could make it inoperable.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition used the rifle in the demonstrations they performed to awe nearly every Native American tribe they encountered.
Note of interest, what is believed to be the actual Lewis & Clark Air Rifle is/was displayed in the Pentagon. Interesting reading here regarding how it was discovered and all.

https://www.google.com/amp/warfarehisto ... rifle/amp/
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Re: Spurs

#291 Post by nrobertb » Tue May 01, 2018 12:37 am

Hanging out at the corral.
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Re: Spurs

#292 Post by nrobertb » Tue May 01, 2018 11:35 am

Fort Laramie National Historic Site (founded as Fort William and then known for a while as Fort John) was a significant 19th century trading post and diplomatic site located at the confluence of the Laramie River and the North Platte River in the upper Platte River Valley in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Wyoming. It was founded in the 1830s to service the overland fur trade during the middle 19th century. It sat at the bottom of the long climb leading to the best and lowest crossing point at South Pass into western descending valleys and so was a primary stopping point on the Oregon Trail. Along with Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River, the trading post and its supporting industries and businesses were the most significant economic hub of commerce in the region.

Fort William was a private fur trading post founded by William Sublette in 1834. In 1841 it was purchased by the American Fur Company and renamed Fort John. In 1849 it was purchased and its operations were taken over by the United States Army to protect the many wagon trains of migrant travelers on the Oregon Trail. The name Fort Laramie came into gradual use, likely as a convenient shortening of "Fort John at the Laramie River".

The remaining structures are preserved as the Fort Laramie National Historic Site by the National Park Service
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Re: Spurs

#293 Post by nrobertb » Tue May 01, 2018 11:10 pm

Courthouse and Jail Rocks are two rock formations located near Bridgeport in the Nebraska Panhandle.

The Oregon-California Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Pony Express Trail and the Sidney-Deadwood Trail all ran near the rocks. The pair of rock formations served as a landmark along the trails for many pioneers traveling west in the 19th century. Many travelers would stray as much as five miles from the Oregon Trail just to get a glimpse of the rocks.

Hundreds of westward-bound emigrants mentioned Courthouse Rock (originally also McFarlan's Castle) in their travel logs and journals. The name "Courthouse" was first used in 1837.

Robert Stuart (explorer) first recorded Court House and Jail House Rock in 1812. By 1849 and the California Gold Rush, the promontories had been described as Castles, a Church, and Coffins. The name Court House and Jail House became the most common. Pumpkin Creek forms an oxbow near the buttes where a meadow with trees make an suitable campsite. There is evidence that fur trappers, Indians, gold seekers on their way to California and the Black Hills, and the military once camped in this bend. Further to the southeast on Pumpkin Creek, is the site of a Pony Express Station. The Pony Express and the military used a shorter route on the west side as did the Sidney-Black Hills Trail. The buttes are the first promontories along the trail coming from the east. Even for those emigrants who used the Julesburg, Colorado crossing of the South Platte River, the buttes are mentioned in their diaries.
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Re: Spurs

#294 Post by nrobertb » Wed May 02, 2018 1:36 am

I first got involved with the Dorsey Mansion when I was stationed at Capulin Mountain National Monument in the 1960's. At that time the owners were in the process of renovating the place and conducting tours. It is a long way from paved roads which is why it never took off as a tourist attraction, but is an interesting bit of American history.

The Dorsey Mansion is a log and stone mansion built in 1878 by Stephen W. Dorsey, a controversial carpetbagging Republican who served as United States Senator from Arkansas during the Reconstruction from 1873 until 1879. The mansion is located on US Route 56, east of Springer, New Mexico.

While a senator, Dorsey purchased land near Chico Springs, New Mexico, and built a 36-room Gothic Victorian palace between 1878 and 1886. The architectural styles include log cabin (built between 1878 and 1880) as well as an Arthurian stone fortress in 1884. The dining room was the largest room in any home in the region, and it could seat 60 people. It had a marble fireplace imported from Italy. The art gallery had a cathedral ceiling, and exhibited paintings imported from overseas. There were nine bedrooms, and the first indoor toilet in the region. There was a swimming pool and fountain in the front yard facing a tower that was decorated with gargoyle representations of Dorsey, his wife, and brother. The swimming pool had three islands and a gazebo. There was a billiard room, and Dorsey held parties that were famous throughout the Southwest.

Dorsey acquired much of the money for the house through corrupt mail contracts, giving him the nickname of Star Route Stephen. In 1881, President Chester Arthur ordered the prosecution of Dorsey and eight accomplices. However, the trial in Washington, DC resulted in a hung jury. Dorsey ran his Mountain Spring cattle ranch, using his famous Triangle Dot brand, content to be on the ranch because "my cattle do not vote. In the late 1880s he established the nearby town of Clayton, New Mexico, which he named for his son Clayton. Dorsey attempted to become a leader of the Republican party in New Mexico, but his debts and lawsuits thwarted his ambitions.

By 1892, Dorsey and his wife were almost destitute. For a while, the Dorseys operated the Mansion as a tuberculosis sanatorium. They moved to Los Angeles, where Dorsey's wife Helen died in 1897, and Dorsey died in 1916, almost penniless. After Helen's death, the Mansion was badly encumbered by creditor's liens. In 1901, the Mansion was sold at auction to Solomon Floersheim, one of the creditors.

There were a series of owners during the first half of the 20th century. K.E. Deaton bought the property and adjoining 40 acres in 1966, and tried to renovate the Mansion. After Deaton's death, his heirs sold the property to the State of New Mexico in 1973.

The New Mexico State Museum concluded that the Mansion was too expensive to renovate properly. On December 4, 1987, the Dorsey Mansion State Monument was sold to Dr. Roger W. Akers and Sandra Henning. They are the current owners. At present, the Mansion is not open for tours.

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Re: Spurs

#295 Post by nrobertb » Wed May 02, 2018 1:14 pm

I found the Dorsey Mansion very interesting. It had been abandoned for years and was an occasional overnight stop for cowboys moving cattle.
Dorsey had built a huge cistern out of rot resistant cypress wood, to catch rainwater. When the new owners cleaned it out in the 1960’s they found a huge dump of bottles, along with a couple of the original brass chandeliers.
Believe it or not, the mansion was lit with acetylene gas. There was a large metal generator in the basement, where water would drip into calcium carbide and produce the gas, which was piped upstairs. It must have been a nasty job to clean out the spent carbide.
There had been a long brass decorative rail in the living room. The new owners found that in a bar in a nearby town and brought it back. They also located many of the other original furnishings.
The place is now a llama ranch and not open to the public.
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Re: Spurs

#296 Post by nrobertb » Wed May 02, 2018 5:32 pm

If, like Indiana Jones, you hate snakes, this will give you nightmares. The photo shows just a few of the 2,500 lbs. of rattlers caught at a recent rattlesnake roundup at Sweetwater, Texas.
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Re: Spurs

#297 Post by nrobertb » Thu May 03, 2018 12:42 am

Here's a very nice pair of silver mounted spurs.
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Re: Spurs

#298 Post by nrobertb » Thu May 03, 2018 10:03 am

Here is a pair of Kelly Brothers spurs.
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Re: Spurs

#299 Post by nrobertb » Thu May 03, 2018 12:28 pm

Everyone who lives in rattlesnake country has stories to tell. When I was living at Capulin Mountain National Monument in New Mexico, I went out one day to read the traffic counter which was in tall grass by the entrance sign. While I was writing down the numbers, I kept hearing a noise near my feet. I'd heard rattlesnakes buzz several times, but this sounded more like a grasshopper. I leaned over and parted the grass and was looking at a juvenile prairie rattler with a single button on its tail. Fortunately it didn't strike.

This species commonly grows to more than 3.3 ft in length. The maximum recorded size is 4.97 ft. In Montana, specimens occasionally exceed 3.9 ft.
Identification characteristics vary depending on the subspecies. Generally, western rattlesnakes are usually lightly colored in hues of brown. Patches of dark brown are often distributed in a dorsal pattern. A color band may be seen at the back of the eye.
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Re: Spurs

#300 Post by nrobertb » Fri May 04, 2018 10:34 am

Carlsbad Caverns National Park lies in the Chihuahuan Desert and has a high population of rattlesnakes. When I went out jogging at night I'd frequently see them lying on the warm asphalt roads. There is a long trail from the visitor center down to the cavern entrance. One year over the course of the summer we removed 13 snakes from the trail. Most were western diamondbacks, which are aggressive. We'd see an occasional rock rattlesnake and they are quite docile. Usually they just ignore you. I once picked one up on a snake stick and it just hung there, totally unconcerned.

Common names: rock rattlesnake, green rattlesnake, blue rattlesnake, more. Crotalus lepidus is a venomous pit viper species found in the southwestern United States and northern central Mexico. Four subspecies are currently recognized. This small species rarely exceeds 32 in in length. It has a large, rounded head, and fairly heavy body for its size, with eyes with vertical pupils. The color pattern varies greatly, but generally reflects the color of the rock in the snake's natural environment.
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