There are so many interesting time periods within the history of the United States. The establishment of this country’s first set of colonies remains an interesting and contentious talking point even today! The Civil War and the reformation that happened afterward still have effects that reverberate in today’s society. Who doesn’t know about America’s involvement in World War II. Many people have taken special interests in these unique times in our history. One time that bears a special focus is the old west! Cowboys! Native Americans! Gunfights! Saloons! Is there a more iconic time in history, at least as far as pop culture goes? The old west had it all, and many of the things that were propagated during that time period are still referenced. Want to learn more? Read here for wild west wall art facts.
Stranger Than Fiction
- The wild west was full of all kinds of danger. For example, a bandit named Elmer McCurdy robbed a passenger train that he believed to be carrying thousands of dollars. Unfortunately for him, the train only contained $46. While in the process of robbing the train, he was shot to death by lawmen. McCurdy’s corpse wasn’t laid to rest, instead it was embalmed it was bought by a traveling carnival and exhibited as a sideshow! For over 60 years, many believed the corpse to be a wax figure! In the 70s, an arm broke off. This was when people discovered it was a real corpse!
- What animal is more representative of the wild west? If you asked us, we’d say horses. Did you know that in 1856, however, the government established an organization called the U.S. Camel Corps? Located in Texas, the government likened the southwest climate and landscape to that of the deserts of Egypt. They simply assumed that camels would be more useful than horses in this environment. Due to the Civil War, it became more necessary for horse travel which essentially ended the Camel Corps.
- When you think bandits, you probably think of Billy the Kid! Many pictures of Billy the Kid show him with a gun belt on his left side. This has been a significant part of wild west history, since most gunslingers were noticeably right-handed. However, people came to realize that these pictures were captured with a tintype camera, which produced an image that reversed reality! So, Billy the Kid was actually right-handed after all.
- The Gold Rush! Everyone knows what that is, right? Essentially a lot of gold was found in California mountains, and thousands of forty-niners moved west to try to seek a fortune. When people say “The Gold Rush,” they’re usually referring to the Californian one. Did you know that America has actually had several gold rushes? North Carolina and Georgia both experienced their own, but the Californian one is most remembered in history and in pop culture.
- What do you think of when you hear the words “O.K. Corral?” You probably think of one of the most famous gunfights in history; the shootout between the three Earp brothers and the two McLaury brothers. This event is legendary, but in reality was a very short and uneventful fight. The gunfight only lasted about 30 seconds, and it didn’t actually occur within the O.K. Corral, but in an intersection in Tombstone, Arizona. Read below for more wild west wall art facts.
- Growing up, did you watch re-runs of the show Gunsmoke? If you did, you know of Miss Kitt’s Long Brand Saloon! What you may not know, is that this saloon actually existed! Nobody knows the date when it was first built, but it burned down in 1885. The saloon was later rebuilt and is now a tourist attraction.
- The Civil War is well known the geographic area which it took place; most battles were fought in southern states. One of the most important battles, however, was fought in New Mexico! Confederate General Henry Hopkins invaded New Mexico in order to attain gold and to capture a large amount of unoccupied territory. They were intercepted by Union forces, however and retreated back to Texas never to return.
- As previously mentioned, the settling of the first colonies in America was a huge historical event. Did you know that Jamestown wasn’t the first immigrant colony? North America has been proven to have had settlements from travelers since the 12th century! The Acoma people built a “Sky City” settlement during this period. These people still live in the United States today, and make money from a cultural center and casino complex.
- The western genre has endured as being one of the most popular in all of Hollywood. Broncho Billy Anderson, the star of 1903’s “The Great Train Robber,” is often credited as being on the formative voices behind the genre’s creation. Many people believe he actually was a cowboy before starring in movies, but this isn’t true! His cowboy persona was all an act. He passed in 1971, but was involved in the direction, acting and production of over 200 movies by the time he died!
- Is there a single outlaw in the world that is more notorious than Jesse James? When he was murdered, he was buried in the front yard of his farm to prevent graverobbers from stealing whatever he was buried with. After years had passed, his coffin was moved from his yard to a plot in Missouri. Did you enjoy these wild west wall art facts?
The wild west was a strange and interesting period in U.S. history. What’s your favorite fact? Are you surprised to learn how many gold rushes there were? Were you surprised to learn that Hollywood’s first cowboy wasn’t really a cowboy at all? Or are you shocked that the battle at O.K. Corral was barely a battle? Whatever you feel, we really hope you learned something about this special time in history. Thanks for reading these wild west wall art facts!