Celebrating Our Heritage
I love Independence Day, the picnics with family, and the ooohs and aaahs of the fireworks. The 4th of July was the most celebrated holiday in the Old West for two reasons: 1) the weather is better in July than December; and 2) Christmas wasn't so commercialized in the 1800s.
This is a good day to remember our heritage and our history. Of course, some of us are obsessed with days of yore anyway, but we'll ignore that. One place that celebrates the actual Old West--life in the latter half of the 1800s, is Silver City, Idaho. Very few boom towns survived to the 20th Century because most burned to the ground. Those that were left either withered and died, or became tourist towns (e.g., Deadwood and Virginia City, Nevada).
Silver City did neither. The citizens decided to restore the buildings as best they could (they get no funding for this--most have to work in the valley to be able to afford the restoration and upkeep). It's a labor of love, emphasis on the word labor. Old buildings are not easy to maintain, and if they need a plumber, well, the nearest plumber is two hours away, so everything costs considerably more than would in a normal suburban house.
The town has no electricity, but does have running water. Many of the homeowners live there in the summer but these days, the road to Silver is closed from November to May, so only the winter watchman lives in town during those months.
|A deer takes a stroll down a Silver City street.|
The citizens of Silver City decided to let the other towns have the tourist attractions--but they wanted to preserve the city as it was in its glory. Speaking of Old Glory, the flag has a huge role in Silver City life. If a house has a flag displayed, then the residents are home and receiving visitors. If no flag, don't bother to knock. Same goes for businesses. If the flag is out, the store is open.
|The flag is flying in front of Pat's What Not Shop (white building)|
but not on the Silver City Fire and Rescue store (on the right),
so you know Pat's store is open and the other is not.
We had quite a party at the hotel. In fact, we filled all thirteen rooms, and kept Jerri Nelson (hotel co-owner) hopping for all the pies we ate. That woman really knows how to make pie, let me tell you. Or let Shirl Deems tell you. I think she had a slice of every kind--took her all weekend but she's tenacious.
|From the left: me, Honey Beaulieu, Shirl Deems.|
Shirl was the champion pie-eater as well as starring
as Mountain Granma in the melodrama.
|Paxton music! Daria on the fiddle, Matt on guitar and vocals, Brenda on accordion|
In the afternoon, we had a multi-author booksigning. USA Today Bestselling Author Ann Charles dropped in to say hi to Honey Beaulieu. Ann partied all day and signed books in the afternoon.
|From the left: me, Honey Beaulieu, and Ann Charles|
|Authors Paty Jager, Charlene Raddon, and Kristin Holt|
The staff of the Idaho Hotel was incredible. We had the place absolutely full but they kept everything humming along perfectly. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should stay there at least once. No, the road isn't that bad--just a little bump here and there, and two cars can even pass by each other on most of it. But back to the staff. They served above and beyond the call of duty, or even the call of Honey Beaulieu.
|Some of the ladies who worked hard to make our event perfect.|
We all love history and we celebrate the birth of our nation today. All week, in fact. The Great American Western Romance Week is here at Hart's Romance Pulse, July 3 to 9. Check it out to find new books, enter to win prizes, and just generally have a good time. Look for my post on this site July 6.
Happy 4th of July!
Pickle Barrel Gazette!