About Rusty LaGrange

Posts by Rusty LaGrange:

Why We Have “Red” Schoolhouse History

Posted on March 26, 2020 (Comments Closed)
in Uncategorized, Wonders of the Old West
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Back to School in a Little Red Schoolhouse

Our Easter break is over now and (if not for the corona virus) millions of children would be returning to their brown, beige, or light green school campuses. Of course, they come in other colors, but those are the most common. You don’t see little red schoolhouses any more.

  A typical prairie style red school building

Over one hundred years ago, children returned to their little red schoolhouses, many of them known as “one-room” schools, when the smaller number of students filled one room — and that was enough.

Although most wooden schoolhouses in the U.S. are now painted white, a few generations ago it was customary, especially in New England and other northeastern sections of the country, to paint framed schoolhouses red. It’s not because that color was preferred, but because red paint was cheaper than any other kind obtainable. So the “little red schoolhouse” became a symbol of popular education in general.

When Secondary School was the Next Step

In 1930 the U.S. Bureau of Education issued a bulletin on secondary education. Those who instituted the charge of this work were surprised that most people didn’t know that term at all. Secondary education is the training provided at high school levels.

In other words, secondary schools are simply high schools, institutions that give instruction between elementary or primary school and the university level. The name was adapted from the French usage. It’s now distinctly American.

Probably the first time, in 1821,  a secondary school was established was known as the English High School of Boston. Now every state in the Union maintains free high schools at public expense.

As you enter your school, you can dazzle your classmates with the reason why old prairie schools were painted red. And, if you think about it, most “white-picket fences,” typically marking the front yards of well-to-do families, were easily kept bright white due to the lye and water-based paint that could be made right on the farm. Just whitewash, common paint with a glimmering effect.

Simple effect, simple design in a century of simple life lifestyles.

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Rusty LaGrange

Chuck Wagon Fare and Hard Scrabble Lives

Posted on August 26, 2019 (Comments Closed)
in Uncategorized, Wonders of the Old West
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If it wasn’t for the portable kitchens designed to follow the moving herds on a cattle drive, then I expect the cowboys would sit at a campfire and eat hardtack and jerky at the end of the day. A hot nutritious meal mended a lot of sore bones. Chuck wagon fare was also designed to […]

Mail Delivered on Foot in the Snow? Snowshoe Thompson Did It.

Posted on August 9, 2019 (Comments Closed)
in Old West Legends, Uncategorized
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When I think of my dad telling me he had to walk to school up hill, both ways, in the snow, it didn’t really mean that. It was a silly saying that meant the going was tough. But when I learned about Snowshoe Thompson trudging through deep snow over the Sierra Mountains of California, I […]

Simple Water Level

Posted on April 14, 2019 (Comments Closed)
in Wonders of the Old West
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You Can Make Your Own   Simple tools were often the easiest to make on the ranch. Many of the daily tools we have now a crafty pioneer adapted from a similar tool he had seen at another ranch, a mercantile, or even adapted from Native Americans.   Using the simple concept of water always […]

Old Fashioned Sponge Cake

Posted on September 4, 2018 (Comments Closed)
in Uncategorized

Cookbooks are nearly as valuable and cherished as Bibles in some homes. This made me recall all the kitchen chatter and special moments growing up in a kitchen of the 60s. Betty Crocker was on the shelf along with my mom’s time-worn recipes from her early years as a young mom and house wife. I came […]

Tombstone’s Strange But True Tale From the Old West

Posted on March 17, 2016 (Comments Closed)
in Odd But True
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Five different newspapers were historically known to be running as daily or weekly editions in the early days of 1880 Tombstone, Arizona. If you had the leisure time to peruse the variety pages of their old archives, you might have come across this one based on a true account. Johnny Blair of Double Dobe (short […]

Hold Lightning in Your Hand? Yup.

Posted on August 4, 2015 (Comments Closed)
in Odd But True, Uncategorized
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Some tall tales come out of the Old West, and here at Old West Stagecoach and Trading Post, I could fabricate ones that would leave you scratchin’ your head. Just wanted you to know that what you read here has been carefully researched and I try not to hornswoggle you or flat out lie to […]

Legendary Stagecoach Driver — One-Eyed Charley Parkhurst

Posted on July 9, 2015 (Comments Closed)
in Old West Legends, Uncategorized
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Folks love to hear about living legends. Even if they don’t live up to the pedestal folks place them on, well, it still is a place suitable for them. Case in point is the odd story of a “whip” — the nickname for a stagecoach driver — with a lot of history, and plenty of […]

Ladies Handiwork Arrives at Trading Post

Posted on April 9, 2015 (Comments Closed)
in Uncategorized

The latest in ladies handiwork have just been delivered by stagecoach. We’re hurrying to get them out and displayed. Once completely on the shelves of the Trading Post, you’ll have the top quality doilies, dresser scarves, and demi cloth available. Prices will be set based on Vintage, Collectible, and New World. First come, first served. My Momma […]