Explore one of the creepiest incantations in literature.Read More
In celebration of our upcoming Haunted Homestead event, we thought we would share some of the photos from years past:
October is here and that means you need to be ready for all the ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night. Make Frontier Homestead part of your story with a collection of fun and thrilling events providing a perfect lead in to All Hallows Eve.
Are ghosts real? Do spirits walk among us? Most everyone has had some type of experience they can’t explain. If you’re a believer, or just curious, join us Thursday October 12 as we present More Than Ghost Stories: Paranormal Investigations in Southern Utah.
Join local paranormal investigators as they recount their ghost hunting adventures over the past year and share their findings with the public. The team has conducted investigations at numerous locations in an attempt to separate folk lore and stories from genuine paranormal activities. Evidence from the investigations will be presented and discussed, allowing you to come to your own conclusions – is it real, or just your imagination? The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free to the public.
On October 13 and 14, Haunted Homestead returns. Running from 6-8pm each night, this family friendly event will get you and yours into the Halloween spirit. Not only will we be providing some unique Halloween themed games, we also will have spooky crafts, ghost stories told by local storytellers, and other haunting surprises. Come explore the Homestead and see our spooky decorations. Be sure to enter the “Haunter” House, if you dare. Admission is $5.00 per family or $1.50 per person. Friends members get in free.
On Monday the 16th join our very popular cemetery tour. This year our tour will be begin at 6:30 pm in the museum parking lot. Come learn about some of the more interesting headstones and stories about the graveyard. You may even hear about the rabid coyote. Please dress for the weather and bring a flashlight. Admission is free to this event.
At our Homestead Halloween events there is sure to be something to make you think, shake, or laugh so come join us. For more information call us at 435-586-9290, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/fronteirhomestead, or our website www.fronterhomestead.org
The first passenger train rolled into Cedar City on June 27, 1923. The citizens of Cedar City happily anticipated the new train, but it was one passenger in particular who fueled their excitement. President Warren G. Harding was traveling through Southern Utah as part of his "Voyage of Understanding" tour. He was the first sitting United States president to visit Cedar City, and with him came an unforgettable day.
Harding’s visit to Cedar City had been announced in newspapers since the beginning of June, and immediately the townsfolk started making preparations. An “energetic” council was assembled to execute the celebration, and organizations such as the Women’s Republican Club went to work soliciting gifts to honor the President and First Lady. Some citizens even asked the City Council to direct workers to clear weeds from ditch banks on all streets, because they didn’t want President Harding “...to think that Cedar citizens are too idle to keep their town free from unsightly weeds”. Preparations lasted for several weeks, and the night before the anticipated day it was reported that car after car entered Cedar eager to see the chief executive.
It was a time in America when, regardless of political party or ideology, the presidential office received the highest deference. Thus, on the morning of Harding’s arrival, a crowd of over 6,000 gathered to welcome him and his party. A caravan of more than thirteen cars, packed with the President and important state and local dignitaries, paraded down Main Street. The local Presidential committee and 36 Native Americans greeted the entourage when they arrived at the depot. The Commander-in-Chief greeted committee member and Native American alike, but paid particular attention to the children in attendance. Later, he was heard commenting that “the appearance of so many lovely children was an inspiration to him”. The party continued through the city and other communities towards Zion’s National Park. They rode horses there for several hours, before returning to Cedar to an even larger crowd.
Every member of the visiting presidential party was awestruck by the beauty and grandeur of Zion National Park. Howard H. Hayes, the manager of Yellowstone National Park, was reported as saying that “...the thing that seemed to impress the president and members of his party most, of all the sights they beheld while on their trip west, was Zion National Park”.
Before bidding farewell to Cedar City, President Harding delivered a twenty minute speech from the rear of his private car. He complimented the people of Southern Utah on their pioneer heritage, industrial attitudes, and the beauty of their surroundings. He claimed that “when (he) tells of this trip to (his) successors all future Presidents will come to visit this country of wonders”.
During his "Voyage of Understanding" tour in the summer of 1923, President Warren G. Harding arrived in Cedar City before visiting Zion National Park. This photo shows the President and First Lady as they were greeted by a young Paiute girl before being escorted to the El Escalante Hotel (shown in the second photo.) At the hotel, they were met by approximately 6,000 people from Cedar City and the surrounding area. Next week we will more fully tell the story of the President's visit.
The following post comes to us from Kyle Taylor, one of our museum interns. All of the images are from our large and varied collection of sheet music ranging from the late 1800’s through the 1930’s.
Music is an art form that can convey a message or tell a story. This story is written using an established set of musical notes, symbols and lyrics. Much like an essay, it is written for an audience, the physical form of this story is called sheet music.
Originally sheet music was laboriously written on a piece of papyrus, any copies that were made were hand written. This caused the sheet music to be very costly and time consuming. In the late 15th century the first printing press was invented which made the production process of sheet music much easier, and more affordable. Instead of going to the opera to listen to music, people were playing music themselves. As time progressed, sheet music production became easier and more popular.
The 1920’s was a time for musical evolution. In the years leading up to the start of the great depression there was great financial prosperity. There were many composers who were very popular during this period. One composer whom you may be familiar with is Irving Berlin. Sheet music was a very popular item to buy. Prior to the 1920’s sheet music was printed on very large paper and had very little artistic value to the cover. To make sheet music more appealing to the consumer, bright and colorful pictures depicting parties or people laughing were printed on the cover of the sheet music. This art gave the music a “storybook” feel to it and would catch the consumer’s eye and gave them the idea that “this is music I would like to have”.
Much like a commercial does today, crooners and street performers would perform this music and make it a more popular item to purchase. Radios were also growing in popularity during this time. The ability to transmit music into every home helped tell the story the sheet music was telling.
Frontier Homestead State Park is pleased to announce that rental opportunities for the Hunter House and the Hunter House back grounds are now available. Built in 1866, the Hunter House is the oldest standing home in Cedar City and the back grounds have been landscaped and enhanced to provide the perfect space for private events.
Renting the back grounds of the Hunter House allows complete access to our Summer Kitchen. Amenities include a propane grill, refrigerator, cooking and prep areas, wood cook stove, small earth oven and a dutch oven cooking area with a charcoal grill and plenty of space for dutch ovens. The large deck space and gazebo are also included in the rental fee.
“Imagine your wedding reception, reunion, banquet or business meeting in the beautiful and historic setting of the Hunter House grounds at Frontier Homestead State Park” says Summer Lyftogt, Frontier Homestead’s rental coordinator, “Historic, unique, and affordable indoor and outdoor spaces are available for rental.” The Joseph S. Hunter house is significant as an example of Utah vernacular architecture and sets the house and grounds apart as a unique venue for your special event.
According to museum curator Ryan Paul, “The Hunter House and Summer Kitchen areas help visitors develop an appreciation for the efforts of those individuals who sought to protect, preserve, and thrive in a new and sometimes hostile environment. In our modern world, many of these ideas are looked upon as nostalgic. These spaces seek to unwind these basic illusions and reveal details about those who came before. Moving beyond the traditional museum exhibit the Hunter House and summer kitchen areas provide an interactive, engaging experience and a one of a kind place to hold an event.”
Based on conceptual drawings by Katie Beckstead, Hunter House and the accompanying grounds have been completed through the generous support of many partners including the Hunter family descendents, the Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Cedar City Rap Tax, the Thomas Amos Lunt families, and Utah State Parks.
The Hunter House main floor is perfect for small meetings while the back grounds can accommodate groups up to seventy-five. Tables, chairs, and the summer kitchen area are all available. For more information about scheduling and rental pricing call Summer at 435-586-9290, or visit our website www.fronterhomestead.org
On September 7, at 6:30 p.m. scholars Ren and Helen Davis will present “Landscapes for the People”. This presentation details the extraordinary work of George Grant, a master of photography who documented our nation’s natural treasures.
A Pennsylvania native, Grant was introduced to the parks during the summer of 1922 and resolved to make parks and photography his life. Seven years later, he received his dream job and spent the next quarter century visiting the four corners of the country to produce images in more than one hundred national parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, and other locations. He was there to visually document the dramatic expansion of the National Park Service during the New Deal, including the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Grant’s images are the work of a master craftsman. His practiced eye for composition and exposure and his patience to capture subjects in their finest light are comparable to those of his more widely known contemporaries. Nearly fifty years after his death, it is fitting that George Grant’s photography be introduced to a new generation of Americans.
George Alexander Grant is a little known elder in the field of American landscape photography. Just as they did the work of his contemporaries Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Eliot Porter, millions of people viewed Grant’s photographs; unlike those contemporaries, few knew Grant’s name. “Landscapes for the People” shares his story through his remarkable images and a compelling biography profiling patience, perseverance, dedication, and an unsurpassed love of the natural and historic places that Americans chose to preserve.
This program has received funding from Utah Humanities (UH) and is free to the public. UH improves communities through active engagement in the humanities.
In an effort to honor and recognize the significant contributions of our military members, Utah State Parks announces Military Appreciation Day Saturday, August 12. Day-use entrance fees into all Utah state parks will be waived for active service members and veterans and their families. All 42 state parks will offer special activities or displays as way to pay tribute and say thank you.
Come celebrate our courageous military personnel with your family, friends and community at Frontier Homestead on Saturday August 12, 2017. We will provide 4 different varieties of all you can eat pancakes with toppings. There will also be coloring activities for the kids and a letter writing station to create letters for our troops in partnership with Operation Gratitude. Visitors will also have access to all our hands-on historical activity stations. Admission to the park is $5.00 per family or free for active service members and veterans and their families as well as Friends of the Frontier Homestead members. The activities will run from 10am to 2 p.m.
At our Military Appreciation Day there is sure to be something to make you think, smile, or laugh so come join us. Spend some time learning about your family by playing with your family. For more information about Frontier Homestead or Military Appreciation Day call us at 435-586-9290, visit our facebook page Frontier Homestead State Park, or our websitewww.fronterhomestead.org Frontier Homestead is located at 635 North Main in Cedar City.
Frontier Homestead recently lost a long-time friend and supporter, Carl Croft. Carl was instrumental in the creation of our Utah Parks Company exhibit and spent many hours providing advice, direction, and telling us great stories. When Carl was three years old he spent two summers with his family at the Grand Canyon while his father George supervised the construction of the power, pumping, and housing facilities. In 1947 Carl began working as the Assistant Maintenance supervisor for the Utah Parks Company and became the Supervisor of Maintenance in 1966, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.
We will miss Carl and his stories. We thought we would like to share one of our favorites. This was taken from an oral history interview he recorded with us in 2004.
In the early days, the number of employees averaged around 700 people for the entire Utah parks system. That also included a necessary rest stop in Kanab. The busses when they first started were not fast enough and the roads were not good enough to go from Zion to the North Rim without a rest and lunch stop. So they put a little lunch building at Kanab. That facility later turned out to house the UPC laundry operation.
In the beginning, the railroad had central laundries for their hotel dining rooms and their dining cars. For the Utah Parks Company, our early laundry facility was in Ogden, Utah. Union Pacific had set it up so we could use that as the laundry for all our linens. The maids would go in and strip a bed, take the sheets down to the linen room and throw them into a hamper. That afternoon a supply truck would take the loaded hamper to Cedar City and drop it off at the commissary. There was a man at the commissary that would take all the hampers from the parks and put them on the express train headed for Ogden. The laundry would be washed and pressed up there, hauled back from Ogden to Cedar City, loaded onto a truck and delivered to whichever park, and placed back onto the shelf by the cabin maids. So you had a set of sheets coming, one going, one in the laundry, one on the bed, and two on the shelf. So you figure up how many complete changes of laundry were needed to maintain a clean cabin.
After World War II the UPC eliminated the laundry having to go clear into Ogden and put their own facility in at Kanab. We didn’t need the rest stop anymore because the roads and the busses had improved. The railroad had a great big old boiler that they decided to take to Kanab for the laundry. They unloaded the boiler from the train at Cedar City and decided to take it by truck through Zion. There is a tunnel in Zion, in fact there are two of them. They made it through the first tunnel without a problem. However, there is a spot in the second tunnel that is several inches shorter than the rest and they got hung up. They had to let a little air out of the tires and that lowered it just enough so they could get through.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has undergone great change since its first season in 1962. Facilities have been constructed, productions have grown in size and scope, and the Festival staff has grown to include a number of full-time employees. In 2002 the larger format, three-play fall season debuted with I Hate Hamlet, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Twelfth Night. In 2011 the Festival announced that, for the first time, a play would run through the traditional break between the summer and fall seasons.
Tragedy befell the Festival when on October 22, 2008, Barbara Gaddie Adams, Fred’s wife and longtime partner and confidant, succumbed to a long illness and passed away. Barbara, along with Fred, had shepherded the Festival from words on a little yellow notepad to a nationally recognized, Tony award-winning theatre company. Barbara had coordinated all the preshow activities, the music, singing, puppet show, and dancing that provided the atmosphere for Festival goers as they prepared for the transition from the contemporary to the Elizabethan. Barbara Adams’s creative spirit is memorialized by a bronze plaque located on the wall of the Adams Theatre, near The Greenshow performing space—a fitting tribute to the program she proved instrumental in developing.
The expansion of the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s artistic and technical company and a longer theatrical season required new spaces. The much loved Adams Theatre had served its purpose in enriching, entertaining, and educating the lives of those who sat in her seats and witnessed her bounty. Like the stage before, the passage of time and changing technology have taken their toll. In 2016, the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre opened its doors and a new Wooden O now stands guard over the works of the Bard and serves as an anchor for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s future.
Additionally, a smaller “black box” space, the Eileen and Alan Anes Studio Theatre, now serves as a creative space for the development of new plays. This flexible space is able to be configured in a variety of seating styles to better enhance the vision of the playwright, designer, or director. The Anes theatre allows for the exploration of the theatrical experience and provides Festival patrons the opportunity to discover the diversity of the world stage. The Anes Theatre is home to the new plays program where scripts are workshopped and tested with a small audience before being moved to the larger Festival stages. This theatrical laboratory shows the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s continuing commitment to the development of theatre professionals and to the expansion of America’s influence on world drama.
The future of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is rooted in the tradition of what it does well and in a commitment to utilize that shared past as a springboard for the future. The expanding and deepening of programs, the construction of new theatres, and the development of a core artistic company are not without challenges. However, these same difficulties were met and faced fifty years ago by a young drama teacher, and we all know how that turned out. To find out more about the Utah Shakespeare Festival and see what is coming in the future, visit their website, www.bard.org
Fred and Barbara Adams had built their dream. The summer productions in the new Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre had sell out crowds nearly every night, operating at 98 to 99 percent capacity, which offered no room for growth. The Festival had become too successful for the current space.
Festival and college representatives turned to the Utah State Legislature for assistance in funding the construction of the new theatre. The legislature, while agreeing that the project sounded interesting, refused to fund the building. A representative advised them to look into the mineral lease money that the mining companies operating in Iron County had been paying into for over fifty years. The mineral lease fund was established to offset the impact made by the mines on schools, hospitals, roads, and other public works projects. A large sum had been paid in, but very little taken out. The mineral lease board agreed that a new theatre for the Festival was worthy of funding and awarded most, but not all, of the construction costs. The descendants of Randall L. Jones, an early booster of southern Utah, provided the remainder of the needed funds, and the new theatre would now be named the Randall L. Jones Theatre.
The 1989 season, the first using both the Randall Theatre and the Adams Theatre, featured six plays, three in each theatre, the most the Festival had ever produced in one season. Festival producers decided they would need two separate companies. They duplicated every position, one for the Adams Theatre and one for the Randall Theatre. This proved very expensive. The 1989 season ended with a $379,000.00 deficit. Relief came from Paul Southwick, vice-president of finance for Southern Utah University, who had been pulling some of the Festival profits each year into a rainy day fund, which had more than enough money to cover the deficit, and the Festival was saved. The Utah Shakespeare Festival did not repeat the mistakes of 1989 and began double casting roles for both the Randall and the Adams theatres.
Fred C. Adams believed in the power inherent in Shakespeare’s texts to change lives for the better, and the Festival created an education program to take that message to schools across the West. Fred’s traveling show, Costume Cavalcade, evolved into the Shakespeare-in-the-Schools Tour, a traveling group of trained actors who perform abbreviated versions of Shakespeare’s major plays in schools throughout the region. The actors also meet with the students after the show, answer questions, provide training, and help them better understand the concepts brought to life on the stage.
By the late 1990s the business community of Cedar City began asking the management team of the Festival if they would extend their season in an effort to keep the much needed tourism money flowing into the local economy. The Southern Utah University worked with them for a test run in 1999. The Festival would pick two very small plays, Forever Plaid and The Compleat Works of Wllm. Shkspr (Abridged), and see if a fall season could be economically viable. The plan worked, and the fall season began, although it would not be fully developed until a few years later.
In May of 2000, the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League announced that the Antoinette Perry or “Tony” Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre would go to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The Tony, comparable to the Academy Awards in film, is the most highly sought after accolade in American theatre and, for the Festival, was the culmination of nearly four decades of hard work and superior artistry.
Despite the summer heat, the audience for the first performance of the newly inaugurated Utah Shakespeare Festival numbered over five hundred. It was July 2, 1962, and everything was ready: every detail had been carefully looked to, every contingency planned for, or so they thought. Two young trumpeters had been recruited to play a fanfare announcing the beginning of the play. As the notes rang through the air, director Fred C. Adams realized that the cast had not rehearsed a way to get from the dressing room to the stage. Thinking quickly, he grabbed a torch from the rack of Hamlet props, lit it, and presented it to the costumed pages, directing them to lead the cast, in full view of the audience, to the stage. This actors processional, from the dressing room doors, across the patio, and to the platforms became a Festival tradition and audience favorite for many years.
The initial two-week Festival season proved very successful, bringing in 3,726 visitors and over $2,000—enough to prove that this could be a profitable venture. Fred began assembling the creative team that would guide the Utah Shakespeare Festival to national prominence. This group would soon include directors Michael Addison and Tom Markus, scenic designer Douglas N. Cook, lighting designer Cameron Harvey, and technical director Gary M. McIntyre, among many others.
In 1965, Fred made a decision that would forever change the course of the Festival. He had built the organization using local talent, but his creative team, most of them college instructors from outside the area, wanted to give some of their students an opportunity to perform. Fred decided that he would open auditions to students from across the country. They realized that this influx of actors exposed audiences to a host of new talent and increased the notoriety and production ability of the Festival.
Throughout the 1960s, the Festival productions would be carried out on a portable stage that would be built and removed after each summer season—with tremendous effort. However, the enthusiasm of the nightly audiences, sitting on their folding chairs, made the effort worthwhile.
Douglas N. Cook had joined the Festival in 1964. Cook was especially adept at designing scenery for Shakespeare productions. Under his guidance, the props department blossomed, and the sets better reflected the periods that designers were trying to represent. At the conclusion of the 1969 season, Cook applied his talent for design to work up some rough sketches for a new outdoor theatre space to replace the aging stage.
Based upon his research, Cook knew that the new theatre would need to have three essential elements. First, it must have a thrust stage (this meant that the performance space would be surrounded on three sides by seats); second, it must have a gallery or multi-level seating; and, third, it must be open to the air. All of these designs were in every major Elizabethan theatre of Shakespeare’s day and would be necessary for the Festival’s new space. Technical and electrical planning also factored heavily into the design of the Adams Theatre. Technical director Cameron Harvey worked tirelessly to design a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system that would be unnoticeable to the audience but enhance the performance. Everything the Utah Shakespeare Festival had learned about producing the Bard would go into the design of the theatre.
In 1977 the Adams Theatre, named after Thomas and Luella Adams (no relation to Fred) was complete, and despite having to remove the construction scaffolding forty-five minutes before the first performance, the actors and the patrons loved the new stage.
The Festival introduced its first matinee performance and its first musical, by presenting Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in 1977. Drawing from local talent, including a live orchestra and a young R. Scott Phillips as the Lord High Executioner (his only acting role for the Festival), The Mikado proved that the Festival could branch out into dramatic fields other than William Shakespeare.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival entered a new era when in 1981 it introduced its first Equity actors to its audiences. The Actors Equity Association is the professional union for theatre acting and stage management professionals.
The 1970s proved to be an amazing decade of growth for the Festival. A new theatre was added, programs and staff were expanded, and professional actors joined the company. Still, Fred had another idea, what if patrons could see more—works from other important playwrights, the “Shakespeares of other lands.” Of course the Adams Theatre would remain the domain of Shakespearean plays; what was needed was another space, another theatre
This year marks the opening of the 56th season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. We thought you would enjoy this photo of the founder Fred Adams as he directs the cast of The Taming of the Shrew. This was the first play of the first season. For the rest of July we will be detailing the history of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, an organization that still brings over 100,000 people to the local area each year.
For the past year, the staff at Frontier Homestead, in cooperation with the Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation and other local partners has been working on new mission and vision statements. We are happy to report that we have wrapped up the process and are ready to present them to our patrons, friends, and supporters. The full mission and vision statements are below, but as a teaser here is the new Park mission statement: To connect people to traditions, knowledge and ideas. Supporting statements flesh out just what this entails. Ultimately, we want Frontier Homestead to be a place where history becomes your story.
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum- Mission Statement
To connect people to traditions, knowledge and ideas.
We fulfill our mission by:
- Creating engaging, educational and experiential programming.
- Actively collecting the physical and oral cultural histories of Southwest Utah.
- Safeguarding our collections and maintaining Park facilities.
- Responsible fundraising.
- Collaborating with individuals, institutions, community partners and the Museum Foundation.
- Celebrating frontier lifeways through community outreach, special events and programs.
- Providing quality service to our community and all our visitors.
- Working with the Museum Foundation to establish an endowment of $10 million, the income from which will support the operational costs of growing and preserving the Museum’s collection and the management of all Museum activities and programs.
- Embracing and incorporating values as articulated by the History Relevance Campaign (www.historyrelevance.com).
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum -Vision Statement
As the new town square, Frontier Homestead State Park is the setting where all are invited to come to share experiences, learn, and connect with each other. The Park will realize its vision by adherence to the following values:
- Stewardship: We will strategically plan for long-term sustainability of the resources entrusted to us. We will secure adequate funding and infrastructure to preserve, exhibit and interpret the Museum’s extensive collections, and maintain sufficient resources to readily host community events, celebrations and public programming. We believe safeguarding our past is the foundation by which future generations will thrive.
- Relevance: We will be an integral member of our community, creating dynamic and inspiring exhibits and programs that are important to the lives of our audiences. We will continue to benefit future generations as a vibrant, inclusive institution that is fully involved in the life of Iron County and southern Utah. Our work to increase awareness and appreciation of history lays the groundwork for a strong, resilient community.
- Professionalism: We will be leaders in superior customer service and industry practices. Staff and volunteers will continue to expand their experience and training in order to provide quality assistance to all our patrons.
- Fiscal Responsibility: We will conduct the business of the park within our financial means, and seek to enhance and diversify our economic base where possible. We hold that cultural heritage is a demonstrated economic asset and essential component of a vibrant financial market.
- Communication: We will utilize the latest technology to more effectively and efficiently advance the activities of the Museum. We will fully integrate our website and social media platforms to foster a strong digital presence. Staff will actively engage visitors onsite and online.
- Diversity: We will engage people of all ages, ethnicity, religion, economic circumstance, and education to provide a broader relevance to our museum. History enables citizens to discover their own place in the stories of their families, society, and country. By bringing history into discussions about contemporary issues, we foster a better understanding of multiple perspectives on the challenges facing our communities.
- Management/Administration: We will strive to expand our staff in order to realize the full potential of our mission and vision, thereby meeting ever-increasing public utilization of the Park. We employ history to provide leaders with inspiration and guide posts for meeting the complex challenges in a rapidly changing world.
- Park Facilities & Grounds: We will dedicate sufficient resources to the development and care of the structures and lands entrusted to us. We recognize that the park infrastructure is the basis for effective resource stewardship and the vehicle for our public service activities.
Subsidized by government contracts, stage lines, such as Wells Fargo and Company began carrying passengers as well as mail into the Western United States in 1840. Stage coaching quickly became the most elegant form of transcontinental transportation.
While there were many bandits who sought easy money by robbing stagecoaches, none had as much dramatic flair as English born Charles Earl Bowles, better known as Black Bart. Bowles conducted a series of successful stagecoach hold-ups throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon during the 1870’s and 1880’s. Bowles, terrified of horses, conducted his robberies on foot, was always courteous and used no foul language. He wore a long linen duster coat and a bowler hat, covered his head using a flour sack with holes cut for the eyes, and brandished a shotgun. These distinguishing features became his trademarks.
On his final robbery, Bowles was wounded in the hand and left a number of personal items at the scene, including a linen handkerchief, with the laundry mark FXO7. The Wells Fargo detectives were able to identify the Chinese laundry that Bowles used thus able to track him to his modest boarding house, where he was arrested. Bowles was also known to leave handwritten poems at the crime scene, the most famous:
Here I lay me down to sleep To wait the coming morrow, Perhaps success, perhaps defeat, And everlasting sorrow. Let come what will, I'll try it on, My condition can't be worse; And if there's money in that box 'Tis munny in my purse. – Black Bart
One of the most exciting pieces in our collection is our Wells Fargo Stagecoach. The coach, made in the Concord style was crafted by Gronway Parry, whose restored wagons and farm equipment formed the bulk of our collection in 1973 when the museum opened. Parry built the stagecoach in the 1950’s and it has been used in parades, movies, and television. The Parry coach is the only replica in our collection. We invite our visitors to climb about and imagine themselves on their own stage journey across the West. Just be sure to watch out for Black Bart.
Here at Frontier Homestead we recently received a call from an Associate Producer of AMERICAN PICKERS, a very popular show on the History Channel. She asked us to pass along some exciting news about the show coming to Utah and asked us to send out some information to anyone who might be interested in having the hosts Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team explore through their collection as they return to Utah. They plan to film episodes of the hit series AMERICAN PICKERS throughout the state in July 2017.
AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique ‘picking’ on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.
As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.
Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-OLD-RUST.
Where History is YOUR Story
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum and The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation are pleased to bring the second annual Frontier Folk Festival to Cedar City, Utah, June 16-17, 11 am – 8 pm each day. Thanks to the support of sponsors, admission is free. Original art, live music, and delicious food combine to celebrate the diverse heritage of southern Utah. The Frontier Folk Festival promises to be filled with remarkable talent. Featured performers include Clive Romney, The Red Hill Rangers, Karyn Whittemore, Silversage, and the Griffin Family.
“We’ve been talking about this idea for years,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager. “Working with our Museum Foundation, we finally decided to take the leap and offer a new experience to the community and all our patrons. It will be a great event for anyone attracted to history, the visual arts and folk music.” Museum Foundation Chair, Mike Scott, added, “The Foundation is thrilled to offer this family friendly experience to the community. It is a wonderful opportunity for us all to experience our heritage.”
The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation is looking forward to a diverse, high quality show, and wish to thank its exhibiting artists, musicians, and food purveyors in advance for helping to bring the arts in all of their forms to the residents of Iron County and beyond. The Foundation Board also wishes to extend a special thank you to the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism & Convention Bureau (http://scenicsouthernutah.com) for their support in helping to advertise the festival throughout the western U.S. A list of all Folk Festival sponsors can be found at http://frontierhomestead.org/arts-festival.
For more information call the Park at (435) 586-9290.
Where History becomes Your Story
The Cedar City Depot was built and paid for in 1923 by Union Pacific with the hope that a railroad spur would increase rail tourism in Southern Utah. The trains brought tourists and movie companies into the area and the depot served as the gateway to the national parks until 1960, which marked the final year for regular passenger use of the railway. The north end of the depot served as the express office where local residents could pick up rare items such as salmon and halibut from the Northeast. The depot officially closed in 1984 and now serves as the location for a variety of local businesses.
Here at Frontier Homestead, we thought we would, from time to time, share with you what we are reading. This month our review comes from one of our interns, Maureen Carlson. We encourage you to share with us your favorite reads as the year progresses. Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked by Mary Miley Theobald is an American Historical book full of many historical myths told around the US in museums, historical books, and classrooms. This book, as the title states, debunks those myths, telling how they were or may have started, or even just stretched with a bit of truth, then giving the facts at the end of each myth.
Everybody has heard that the second most common reason for death for Colonial women, just under childbirth, was burning to death from a petticoat that caught fire, haven’t they (Myth #1)? Or, that the reason so many Colonial women used a fire screen was to protect their wax makeup from melting off (Myth #4)? Considering those are both incorrect, it is a shame that so many people seem to not only believe those myths, but that they continue to be told in history books, classrooms, and museums alike all around the country! The truth is that petticoats, being made of wool, cotton, and linen, burned very slowly, even if they did catch fire, allowing the women to stop the incident before it spread too far.
The fact behind women’s makeup melting is that Colonial women, in reality, hardly wore any makeup at all. If they did decide to wear makeup, women had to make it themselves using various ingredients. Not one of those ingredients was wax. The actual purpose for the fire screen, which wasn’t even a common household item, was to shield one from direct heat. Now that makes perfect sense, wouldn’t you think?
Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked by Mary Miley Theobald holds quite a few of these little myths, tall tales, and stretched truths in her little book. Sixty-three of them, to be exact. It is a short, easy read and is quite informative. I admire the work and research that Theobald has put in to debunking so many tidbits that happened to get twisted and made up throughout the years. It is astonishing to me how much is taught as our history that isn’t even true!
One example in this book that really surprised me as being a fabrication of time is Myth #59: “Quilt designs were really secret codes meant to assist escaping slaves through the Underground Railroad”. According to Theobald, this myth began in the 1990’s and no one knows why. Since then, many have worked together to debunk it without much success, sadly, as it is still being taught. The book states that “there is no evidence or example of coded quilts” (117). I grew up with this story in elementary history classes and seeing it on TV shows quite often, so couldn’t believe when I saw it in this book. It is a nice story that made me feel good, which is one of the reasons it has stuck around. People like a good story that is either exciting or gives you warm fuzzies. But if it is false, no matter how it makes one feel, it should not be spread. That is how Theobald feels as well, and why she wrote this book and does the research that she does.
Death by Petticoat is an enjoyable book, for the most part. Many of these so-called myths within the book I have never even heard of myself. Reading through the stories, I found that I have actually been taught the truth or had common sense enough to realize the facts myself, as some of the myths seemed too far-fetched for anyone to believe. That being said, there were a number of good things that I did learn, and it is an interesting book. It is worth checking out if you want something quick and interesting to read. The contents might even surprise you!