Prosperity Junction

The assigned essay for:
What I did on my Christmas Vacation.
We had that assignment, right?
Well, I spent one morning of mine at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
For a historical western novelist, it’s so, pure fun. Well, it’s gotta be fun for everyone, but I loved it.
I’ve got two or three posts in me about this, but for now, I’m going to tell you about:

A 1900 Western settlement in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

All decorated for Christmas The sign at the main entrance. I can read it…mostly…on the picture I took.
The jail is an actual cage. A cube with bars all around and overhead. Hard to escape. A lawman’s tools. A Winchester 73, the gun that won the west.
Leg shackles, handcuffs, six-shooter, badges and on the right, that little rectangle???? A tidy printed invitation to a hanging.

This stage was very ornate. If I could have changed anything about the Cowboy Hall of Fame it would have been signs. I want more signs, more details. So here they’ve got this gorgeous stage coach, elaborately painte and preserved, looking unlike any stagecoach I’ve ever seen on a movie and I loved it, but I want to know more. Where’d it come from? What year?

Prosperity Junction has a dozen or more stores and buildings. This is the church. I wonder how many churches really had these beautiful organs. It seems like they’d have more likely had a fiddle or guitar or harmonica to accompany music, just for the cost, not to mention the difficultly of moving it, shipping it from the east or where ever. I needed a piano in a book I wrote and found out you could order one from the Wards Catalogue. It would be shipped out on the train.
Here is a close-up of the organ. Very ornate and beautiful. Foot pedals.
Here’s the church from standing behind the pulpit. Note how SMALL it is. Seating for…maybe 18 if they’re close friends. 🙂
Stained glass window, too.
Here is the bank. Decorated for Christmas. Love all the old, heavy wood and beautiful details.
This is a row of files or drawers in the bank.I took this picture just because it said American Express. Has American Express…like the credit card, been around this long? I thought that was interesting.
Buggy with Christmas presents
A slate. We always hear about school children having slates, here one was.
A bit larger than I’d have expected. Maybe (estimating) 12″ by 18″. Here is the school house. I love the layout of this.
See the slates laying on each desk?
I went to a one-room country school house and, though we had different shaped desks, these really old fashioned ones were in the back room. I makes me feel closer to the past.
Here is a copy of the classic McGuffey Reader. This is fourth grade.
They had a full set, one for every grade.
This was only ONE EXHIBIT. I was particularly interested in the artists, Fredrick Remington’s classic sculptures, Charles Russell’s realistic and often humourous sketches, Albert Bierstadt’s glowing, romanticized paintings. I’ll write more about them later.
Coming in February, the final installment of the Lassoed in Texas series
Mary Connealy
Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy


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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

19 thoughts on “Prosperity Junction”

  1. Love this, Mary! The elementary school I went to was the same one my mother attended. It had classrooms for all the grades, but the desks were like the one in your photo. They even had holes for inkwells. When I was in 5th grade the old building was torn down and they built a modern one. Kinda sad.
    Wish I could’ve seen the art–I love Charles Russell and Bierstadt. Thanks for a great tour.

  2. Wow! Mary, this is terrific–I love the pictures — what fun to go to the Cowboy Museum — aren’t these things fun?

    So, how’s the new mother and grandmother and the new child?

  3. I loved the artwork especially because my WIP is about a western artist. I’m having so much fun with him. A dreamer teemed up with the ultimate realist. Studying western artists, trying to figure out……what did they paint on back then, what kind of canvas. Would he have hauled it all out west or would he have made sketches and gone back east to do his painting. Charles Russell stayed in the west, Remington went back and forth.
    What if he wanted to paint a really BIG picture, in a cabin in the west? Leave it there? Haul it back east? The logistics are really interesting and complex. Did they use bottles of oil paint? Did he make his own? Tint his own?
    Lots of research involved. The sculpting is interesting too. I love reading about it, trying to track down the actual terms they’d have used back then. Complicated, time consuming, very, very engrossing.

  4. Well, it’s wrong to send anyone from THIS blog to another blog. We want you all here, right?

    But if you’re just DYING to see the baby, I did manage to slap a few pictures up.
    She’s so sweet.

    We went down last night and fussed over her. My daughter, Josie was so, so, so, so tired but she let us stay, probably longer than she should have.
    Let’s see.
    Five cousins
    Four grandparents
    Three sisters
    Two aunts
    One Uncle
    And a partridge in a pear tree. 🙂

  5. Mary, what a gorgeous little baby! She looks so curious with her big eyes like she’s trying to figure out where she’s at and who those people are. Just precious. I know how proud you are.

    Fascinating pictures of the Cowboy Hall of Fame! Wow. They’ve really added a bunch of stuff since I was there in the 80’s. I’m going to have to go again. There’s a ton of displays now that draw me from your pictures. Each thing is so interesting. Love the little schoolhouse and the church and the bank! Thank you for sharing these with us.

  6. Can’t wait for February and the release of “Gingham Mountain.” Yay! I’ve read the first two in the series and loved them. You really propel the reader directly into the scene. I love reading inspirational romance because it brings another layer of depth to the story. And sometimes it makes you think which is a good thing.

    My second anthology, Give Me a Cowboy, also releases in February. Isn’t that neat that three of us Fillies (Kate’s the other one) who has books out in February?

  7. I remember when I was a kid being dragged to the occasional museum and dreading it. Hating it.

    I did like Morrell Hall at the Univeristy of Nebraska. They had a full sized Mastadon skeleton. I LOVED that thing.

    But mostly, old stuff…Not interested. Especially since my grandmother lived in a house full of most of the ‘artifacts’ it was almost embarrassing.

    Now, I love them. Maybe museums belong to adults. I even went to a Children’s Museum in Omaha with my kids a few years ago. Great, fun, interactive place. But you know, I think I had more fun than they did.

    Do you like museums, anyone? What kind?
    I’ve been on a museum binge lately because of research, trying to get a real three dimentional look at things, get away from trusting the internet so much for everything.

    I heard there’s a living history museum in Des Moines, Iowa that’s unusual. That goes way back to the Ice Age, and all the way up to the present.

    Interesting. Anyone else got a favorite?

  8. Shame on you, Mary. Now I have another place I MUST visit. The list is growing very, very long, but I’m moving this to the near top. What great photos.

  9. Wow, and I thought visiting Old Town San Diego last weekend was cool. (Well, it was, but nothing like this.)

    Three words for this post and the photos:

    Off to your blog now…

  10. It’s a really great museum, Pat. I spend a very leisurely half day in there and that was enough, but, now, I’d like to go back, check a few things closer.

    That art section was great. But the section on Hollywood Cowboys was fantastic, too. Big movie posters and all the greats featured.

    Some I’d forgotten. I just loved that.
    I’m also really interested in Long Horn cattle right now for some reason…what gets into my head, I wonder? 😀 And that was all in there.

    Clothes, weapons, fur, occupations, barbed wire vs open range.

    Just so much, cattle drive info, cavalry info, native american info, Prosperity Junction an old west town, a rodeo section, it just went on and on.

  11. Mary, the great thing about museums is that you can actually see all the little details that you have to guess at when you look at something online. I for one absolutely adore visiting museums, and have since I was a little girl. Next to libraries, they’re my favorite places to visit. I can get lost in them and spend hours.

    I think one of my all time favorites is the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas. That’s the neatest place! So much history and if you need to know something about a specific gun it’s the place to go. They have a display that lets you hold one in your hand so you can feel the weight of it. Plus, they have a ton of other displays. It oozes with rich history.

  12. I drove through Waco, Linda. They let you PICK THINGS UP?????????????

    I want that so bad.

    I have a heroine in my book wearing a rifle strapped to her back. I fooled around with it a lot trying to figure out what kind of strap, what kind of rifle, how would she grab it to get it into action fast.

    I actually played around with my husband’s rifle quite a bit trying to figure it out.

    Yes, carefully unloaded CAREFULLY. Considering my usual moose on ice skates dexterity. But it was fun and my husband helped. It was almost… romantic.

  13. I attended a two room school with desks just like those until fourth grade when a new school was built.
    I would love to be able to visit that museum.

  14. I love the pics, Mary! How interesting. I went to a two-room schoolhouse. Every row was a different grade, one thru eight in the first room, and high school in the other. Hard to believe our town didn’t have a high school for so long. Anyway, this sure brought back a lot of memories. I laughed at the invitation to the hanging, too. 🙂

  15. I am now researching exactly how sculpture worked back then. It’s fascinating but in a way maddening too because I’ll do all this reading and then, in the end, it will amount to a paragraph or a passing comment in a couple of sentences in the whole book.

    But it’s the kind of research that’s so engrossing you almost have to be careful of it!!!

  16. Mary,
    I hopped on over to see your new granddaughter! Baby Elle is very beautiful, congratulations! This is the best news. I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but there’s hope as my daughter just got married and my son … JUST GOT ENGAGED!

    Thanks for sharing pics of her and of your trip. I love visiting museums. You have some great research pictures there!

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