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Forgotten Facts of the Old West

Did you know that the swinging saloon doors seen in Western movies were not just a Hollywood invention, but were actually used during the Old West? These batwing-style doors were popular because saloons were small and lacked ventilation, making them hot and smoky. The doors provided a bit of privacy while still allowing fresh air in and sounds of the good times to be heard outside of the saloon and attract customers. To keep the whiskey safe during closed hours, saloons used a double-door system with solid, floor-to-ceiling doors and stout locks.

It's fascinating to learn about the history of whiskey in the Old West. Back then, there were no laws regulating the content of alcoholic beverages, which led to some questionable concoctions being sold as "whiskey." Whiskey was often concocted with actual whiskey mixed with creek water, distilled molasses, grain alcohol, cider vinegar, fruit juice, axle grease, and lord knows what else. No wonder it had names such as cactus poison or tangle leg. It wasn't until the late 1800s and early 1900s that regulations were put in place to ensure the quality and contents of whiskey. It's amazing to see how far we've come in terms of food and drink regulations. 

The Old West is often depicted in Hollywood movies as a place where people carried guns everywhere and engaged in shootouts frequently. However, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine, most Old West towns had strict gun laws, including notorious boom towns like Deadwood, Dodge City, and Tombstone. It was illegal to carry a gun within the city limits of these towns, and anyone entering town had to check in their guns at the sheriff's office. This practice was similar to a coat check, but for guns instead.

The gunfight that has become known as the infamous shootout at the OK Corral did not actually occur at the corral itself. It was a brief encounter lasting only 30 seconds, involving the Earp and McLaury brothers, as well as the Clanton brothers. The shootout resulted in the injury of three lawmen and the death of three cowboys. The location of the shooting was near the intersection of 3rd and Fremont Streets in Tombstone, Arizona, which is situated behind the corral.

The California Gold Rush of 1849 is often considered the first gold rush in the United States, but this is not entirely true. The initial gold rush took place in Cabarrus County, North Carolina in 1799 when a young boy named Conrad Reed found a yellow rock in his father's field. The family used it as a doorstep for several years until a jeweler recognized it as a 17-pound gold nugget. This discovery led to the establishment of the Charlotte Mint and, eventually, the discovery of gold in Georgia and California.

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