Tag Archive | historic toilet

Circus Trip 2018: 1880 Town

Day 13, Saturday, July 28, 2018

South Dakota is a bit monotonous once you get east of the Badlands.  I apologize to those of you who think eastern South Dakota is incredible, if there are any of you out there.  For me, I found it to be a long and boring drive.

It must be that the guy who founded 1880 Town thought that this stretch of the South Dakota prairie needed some livening up too; he started collecting historic buildings and moving them to this patch of land in the middle of nowhere – otherwise known as Murdo.  (Again, I must apologize to those of you who live in Murdo and don’t think it is in the middle of nowhere.  I think you are wrong, but I’m willing to be proven otherwise.)  Actually, the real story is pretty interesting.  A film was shot near Murdo in the 1970s, that was set in the 1880s; the filmmakers constructed a movie set with a main street made from historic buildings and wooden sidewalks.  After the shooting ending, they gave the set to Richard Hullinger, and 1880 Town was born.

1880 Town now has over 30 historic buildings, ranging in time period from the 1880s to the 1920s, and which include a church, school, printing office, a couple of hotels, a barn, a general store and numerous other businesses that once lined the main streets of small prairie towns.  He has them packed to the hilt with memorabilia from days gone by.  And Dances with Wolves.  Yep you got that right.  Dances with Wolves was filmed near here, and 1880 Town is now home to a gigantic collection of movie memorabilia, including set props, costumes and signed photos of the actors who starred in the film.  Everything from war drums, Costner’s sod house, Civil War operating tables and even the “dead” Cisco (Kevin Costner’s horse), is on display here. It was fascinating, if not a bit dusty.

Sod House from Dances with Wolves


Dances with Wolves – “dead” Cisco prop

I enjoyed wandering from building to building, checking out the artifacts, and posing inside the Wells Fargo Stagecoach.  The site is big enough that it takes a couple hours to check it out, and there are a few shops inside the buildings that serve snacks, sodas and ice cream.  You can see what a prostitute’s room would have looked like, check out the frontier jail, or experience what it was like to do your learning in a one-room schoolhouse.  This town has everything you would have been able to find in a prairie town in the late 1800s.  There is even a 14 sided barn!




There is a spot where you can get sodas and ice cream, and one of the hotels has a show periodically.  There are also wagon rides around the town, and you can ring the bells at the church and the school!  I bet kids really love that.



The display is a bit tired and dusty though – with a fair number of dead flies and mouse droppings in the windows and corners – the buildings need a good cleaning and a bit of maintenance.  That was a little surprising, since with the $12 admission and the number of people that were there, it seems like they could have afforded to spruce the place up a bit.  Perhaps most unusual was the gift shop, which was a mix of your typical souvenir items in an antique store with antique and vintage items.  It was fun to browse and see what they had, but nothing suited my fancy that day.

I stayed that night at Al’s Oasis campground, in Oacoma, South Dakota.  I had wanted to get a bit further on, to Mitchell, SD, but did you know that the time-zone changes in the middle of eastern South Dakota?  Yeah, me neither…  The tent area at Al’s Oasis was an open field, with water spigots marked non-potable (huh?).  It wasn’t too far to go get water though, and the grass was nice, if not totally exposed to all the RV campers nearby.  I talked to my parents on the phone that evening, and just relaxed a bit.  The main gripe I had with this campground was that the sound from the freeway carried right into my ears, and was loud and constant all night long.  I didn’t sleep well, and was crabby as a result.   Not all road trip experiences are good ones!


Circus Trip 2018: Trail End Toilet

My biggest fan (thanks mom!), let me know that I was remiss in not posting a photo of the historic loo at Trail End.  So here it is – check out the shape of that one!  And the fittings holding the seat on!

London 2018: Cutty Sark

Day 4, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Our original plan was to go back to the City Cruises river cruise and take one more trip over to Greenwich on the River Thames.  We got there at 9:20, but the boat didn’t depart until 10 am and we decided that we didn’t want to wait that long, so we took the Tube and the train to Greenwich instead.

Artsy escalator shot

Once we got to Greenwich, we went to the Cutty Sark Museum.  The Cutty Sark is a sailing ship that was built in 1869 for the tea trade; it was once the fastest sailing ship in the world.  Her maximum logged speed was 17.5 knots, or 20.1 miles per hour.  That was fast back in the day!  However, she was built right as technology was converting over to steam ships, which could travel a lot faster than sailing ships.  There was fierce competition in the tea trade, and the Cutty Sark could not compete with steam ships, so she began carrying wool from Australia back to the UK, as well as other products.

The Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark got her name from the clothing worn by the witch Nannie Dee in Tam o’ Shanter, a 1791 poem by Robert Burns.  A cutty sark is a Scottish term for a short nightgown.  The Cutty Sark’s figurehead is a carving of Nannie Dee holding onto a grey horse’s tail.  In the poem, the witches are chasing Tam, who is fleeing on his horse Maggie.  The common wisdom of the time said that witches couldn’t cross running water, so he fled over the river, but not before Nannie managed to grab Maggie’s tail, which came away in her hand.

You can see a whole collection of contemporary carved figureheads there; they really are beautiful pieces of art!  The figurehead in the photo below is the original from the ship, but her head and arm were lost in a storm in the late 19th century – she was repaired in 1970.  The figurehead that is currently on the bow of the Cutty Sark is a replica.

Figureheads – the Cutty Sark’s is in the top center

The Cutty Sark plied the waters as a merchant ship until 1922, when she was sold and then used for several years as a training ship.  In 1954 she went on public display.  She is one of only three composite construction clipper ships left in the world – meaning she was built with a wooden hull on an iron frame.  One of the other three is in Chile, and is only a beached skeleton now though.  The Cutty Sark is a pretty special ship.  And yes, in case you were wondering, Cutty Sark Whisky is named after this beautiful ship.

The mast of the Cutty Sark


Taryn and Me with the bow

Sadly, some of her original timbers have been destroyed in two fires; one in 2007 while she was being restored and another smaller fire in 2014.  About 50% of her planking had been removed for conservation when the 2007 fire broke out, or it would have been worse, but the fire still did significant damage to the center section of the ship.  The 2007 fire wasn’t thought to be arson, but it is an interesting story of several unfortunate circumstances and various people dropping the ball, as is often the case.

It was a self guided tour, so we wandered around and checked things out – there were guides at various places to answer questions.  It was fun to check out such a beautiful old ship!

Tube Stations: Earl’s Court (hotel) – Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (Greenwich)
Costs: Cutty Sark – 13.50 pounds (free with London pass)