Monday, August 15, 2011

West Across the Prairie

In the last few days since leaving Wisconsin we have traveled over 800 miles. We stayed at Dakotah Meadows RV Park in Prior Lake near the Twin Cities but did not do much while there except chill. We then moved to Frontier Fort Campground in Jamestown, ND adding state 47 to our list. As I write, we have just arrived at Red Trails Campground in Medora, ND for a week's stay to explore the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We did more interstate driving than we have done in a long while. Nice for getting from place to place quickly but usually we do prefer a slower pace.

We did take some smaller local roads getting out of Wisconsin and enjoyed the beautiful family farms we passed along the way.
In St. Paul we visited our second capitol building in as many states. The capitol was designed by Cass Gilbert who also designed the US Supreme Court Building. It has the world's largest unsupported marble dome. Above is the capitol building with the Cathedral of St. Paul in the background.

The capitol is being renovated so the huge chandelier that usually hangs in the rotunda was on the floor for cleaning. Top are the two chambers of the legislature and a Minnesota battle flag from the Civil War. Bottom left, the Governor's Reception Room and right, paintings on the ceiling of the Rathskeller Cafeteria. The original 1905 floral designs with mottoes written in German were painted over years ago and have just recently been restored. Some of the mottoes were changed during Prohibition from "wet", "Better be tipsy than feverish" to "dry", "Temperance is a virtue of man". Go Figure.

These are statues in St. Paul's Rice Park to honor natives F. Scott Fitzgerald (middle) and Charles Schulz. We have visited Schulz's Peanuts Museum in Santa Rosa, California. We enjoyed our short time in St. Paul including a visit to the Great Waters Brewery.

North Dakota does not have a lot of people (just over 600,000) but it makes up for it with some "LARGEST" roadside attractions. Left in Steele is the largest Sandhill Crane. Top in New Salem is Salem Sue, the largest Holstein Cow and bottom is the largest buffalo in Jamestown.

Within walking distance of the campground in Jamestown is Frontier Village a collection of 24 historical buildings from the states frontier past. Our first day there the authenticity of the place was even greater when a group driving restored cars were parked along the street.

Looking down the street is the saloon, sheriff's office, art gallery and dentist office. Bottom is a windmill, jail (I got rowdy) and 1898 log cabin.

Top is the bank, school and dentist office which looked like something you would see in a Hollywood torture movie. Bottom is the stagecoach that you can take for a ride around town. Middle the price list in the barber shop. Even I might think about a shave and a haircut if it was only two bits. Right is the writer's shack of Jamestown native, Louis L'Amour. The village is a worthwhile stop for a look back on pioneer times and the best part, admission is free.

In the same area is the National Buffalo Museum that works to promote the culture and history of the prairie and buffalo. The museum has a herd of 30 that roam over 200 acres. It is the home to White Cloud, Dakota Miracle and Dakota Legend, the only albino buffaloes in North America. Pictured are two of the albinos, but I am not sure which ones.

Some of the displays in the museum. Top, an Indian shirt made of buffalo hide, a buffalo, and a picture of thousands of skulls collected and sent east after the great herd was slaughtered in the late 1800's. In 1902 there were only 700 buffalo in herds owned by private individuals and 23 wild ones in Yellowstone. With preservation efforts there are now more than 500,000. Bottom, a display on how the Indians used the buffalo and a 10,000 year old skull.

No comments: