Black Bart: Stagecoach Robber and Poet

Stagecoach receipt

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.

Black Bart

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.

American Pickers is coming to Utah

Mike and Frank

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:

americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST.

 Where History is YOUR Story

Frontier Folk Festival 2017

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.

 

Performers at the 2016 Festival

“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.”

Art, craft, and food vendors will be on hand.

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

Cedar City: A Look Back – Union Pacific Train Depot

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.

The depot, 1924.

The depot with the El Escalante Hotel in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

The UPC vehicles ready to transport the arriving tourists.

The cast of “Forlorn River” leaves Cedar City, 1926.

Trains leaving the depot.