Wednesday, November 18, 2015


The real name for Booted Goats is Stiefelgeiss.  They are mountain goats from the highlands of St. Gallen, Switzerland, which is why they have a German name.  Lots of people used to breed Stiefelgeiss goats, but starting in the 1920s, they stopped breeding them, for some reason.  By the 1980s, this type of goat was almost extinct.

That's when a Swiss foundation called Pro Specie Rara began trying to save the booted goat breed.  They encouraged livestock farmers to start breeding the goats again for agricultural use. At this point, they are still considered endangered, but their numbers are growing.  The Booted Goat Breeders Club of Switzerland has taken over the conservation efforts.  By 2001, there were about 600 goats spread among 87 breeders.  Most of these breeders live in eastern Switzerland, but there are also some breeders in central and western parts of the country.

Both male and female Stiefelgeiss goats have horns.  Coat color ranges from light grayish brown to dark red, with black or brown boots.  The animals are not as shaggy as some types of sheep, but they have long beard hairs on their hind end, which are called Mänteli.  These hairs grow much longer and are often a different color from the rest of the coat.  Some booted goats also have beard-like hairs on their chins.

This is a robust breed of goat that adapts well to extreme conditions such as those found in mountainous terrain.  They are used mainly for their milk, meat, and fleece.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Salem was a puppy who was adopted by the 13 Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  The nickname of this regiment was "Fremont's Grey Hounds," which is a good reason for them to have a dog in their ranks.  They were mustered into state service at Camp Dement, Dixon, Illinois, on April 21, 1861.  About a month later, they were signed into Federal service for a 3-year term.

The regiment was first ordered to Caseyville, IL, which is 10 miles east of St. Louis.  Then they went on to Missouri and stayed at Rolla until the spring of 1862.  Their job at Rolla was to keep guerrilla bands from raiding General Lyon's supply trains.

The 13th Regiment Illinois Infantry at Helena, Arkansas
posed for a photo taken during the summer of 1862,
several months before participating in the Union victory at the Battle of Arkansas Post.

In 1862, the regiment joined General Curtis' army at Pea Ridge, MO and marched from there to Helena, Arkansas, which is on the Mississippi River.  On the way south, the soldiers camped for one day in the town of Salem, AR.  When they began their march again, it turned out that an Irishman named Peter Dougdale had hidden a puppy under his shirt.  

They named the little dog "Salem" for the town where he was born.  The other members of the regiment were happy to have a mascot, and they all promised to help take care of him.  Soon Salem had a place to ride in the feed box of one of the wagons.  Everyone loved his puppy antics and enjoyed watching him grow.  One of the men described him in this way:  He was shaggy about the head and shoulders But his color, aye, there's the rub, he was not a yaller dog, neither was he a red dog, one need not be offended if he was called a reddish brown, but he certainly did not have a terra cotta color.  In fact one would not be far out of the way to say that his color was something like the worst painted house in town.

Salem grew to be medium in size, and he was tough and smart.  He was very loyal and soon learned who belonged in the camp and who didn't.  If you told him there was a stranger in camp, he would go drive the person away.  He thought battles were exciting events, and he liked to snap at the bullets as they zipped by.  

There is no record of what became of Salem.  It's possible that he failed to board the boat with the men during one of their many steamboat expeditions.  The 13th Illinois mustered out on June 18, 1864.  Six of their officers and 61 enlisted men were killed in action or died of their wounds.  Five officers and 123 enlisted men died of disease, for a total of 192 fatalities.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Here's a card that dates back to the time of World War I.  It shows a very long mule train, and the caption reads "Ready for Review, Camp MacArthur, Waco, Texas."

The camp was located on 10,699 acres of land in northwest Waco, and it was named for General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. on July 18, 1917.  Construction began on July 20, 1917, and the camp cost $5 million to build.  In September of that same year, 18,000 soldiers from Michigan and Wisconsin arrived.  The camp had an officers' training school, demobilization facility, infantry replacement and training camp, hospital, administrative offices, and a tent camp.

Between 1917 and 1919, 45,074 troops were stationed in Waco.  The 32nd (Red Arrow) Division based at Camp MacArthur took part in combat in France in 1918.  On March 7, 1919, the camp closed, and the land became part of the city.

This next postcard shows a very popular attraction in Kansas City known as Electric Park.  It was built by Joseph Heim, who was president of the Heim Brothers Brewery.  His brothers, Michael and Ferdinand Jr. ran the park.

There were actually two Electric Parks.  The first one was built in 1899, next to the Heim Brewery in the East Bottoms.  Later, a second, bigger Electric Park was built at 46th and The Paseo.  It opened in 1907.  I'm not sure which park this postcard is from, but I think maybe it's the second one.

The second park, like the first one, was easy to get to on the city railway.  In 1911, it attracted one million people, with an average of 8,000 paying customers per day.  The park featured band concerts, vaudeville, a natatorium, an alligator farm, a German village, chutes, a roller coaster, penny parlors, boat tours, ice cream shops, a shooting gallery, outdoor swimming, a carousel, clubhouse cafe, 5-cent theater, and many other things.

Walt Disney and his little sister used to visit the park often when they were children.  Many of its features inspired Disney when he was later planning Disneyland.

In 1925, Electric Park caught fire, and much of it was destroyed.  In spite of this, the park's theater and aquarium stayed open the rest of the season.  The Heim family decided to sell the land, so on September 1, the park closed with a huge fireworks display.

In the next postcard, we can see The Thornton & Minor Sanitarium at its 10th and McGee St. location.  This medical facility was limited to "the special treatment of Piles, Fistula & Diseases of the Rectum & Pelvis including Rupture and Diseases of Women."

The clinic was started by Dr. T.W. Thornton in 1877 and was located in a small building at 111 W. 10th St.  Dr. W.E. Minor joined the practice in 1885.  The organization moved twice before reaching its final home on the corner of Linwood Boulevard and Harrison St.  By this time, more than 65,000 people had received treatment.

In 1957, the Thornton & Minor hospital merged its facilities with the McCleary clinic and moved to Excelsior Springs.  Their Kansas City building became the regional office facility for the Veterans Administration.

This is a flour mill owned by the Central Kansas Milling Company.  I couldn't find out much about them or about Gold Bond Flour.  The company might have been located in Wichita, but maybe not.  Anyway, Gold Bond Flour is not the same thing as Gold Medal Flour, which is made in Minnesota.