U.S. Route 83
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Found on 83!

One of my favorite things to read is Found Magazine. This periodical publishes letters, notes, pictures, or other interesting pieces discovered by its readers in unexpected places. For example, letters that have been dropped on the street are popular items. Some of these items tell a story, or part of a story. Those that have some mystery surrounding them are the most intriguing.
While traveling down Route 83, I stumbled upon a few interesting, mysterious items. Two of them I actually found on the ground. The others I came across in antique stores.
If you like “Found on 83,” check out Found Magazine. They have a “Find of the Day” feature, and the magazine is only $5.

The first item I discovered was on a Sunday morning in Minot, North Dakota, as I was walking around downtown taking pictures. The photo s
eems perfectly torn, as if the possessor only wanted to preserve half of it. The other piece was nowhere to be found. If you look closely, the hand around the young man’s waist has painted fingernails.

On an early morning, I went below t
he Highway 83 bridge that spans the Niobrara River south of Valentine, Nebraska, to take pictures. As I stopped to wait for the sun to come up, I found this scrap of a book at my feet, totaling four incomplete pages. If it had been a Tom Clancy or Stephen King novel, I wouldn’t have bothered with it. But the aged paper made it intriguing, so I stuffed it in my pocket.
The title is “The Red Lodge” and there is no author listed. I have two possibilities. One is a novel, The Red Lodge: a Mystery of Campden Hill, written by a mostly forgotten writer named Victor Bridges, who was published in Britain under the name Victor George de Freyne Bridges. There was only one 1924 edition of this book published in the United States.

The other could be a short story by H. Russell Wakefield, who specialized in ghost stories. He was a better known writer, and his story, The Red Lodge, has been widely anthologized.
I don’t as of yet have solid evidence to prove the authorship of the four partial pages I found. On one hand, what I can read of it makes no mention of ghosts, and it does seem like a crime story. On the other hand, the opposite leaf says “Short Stories.” Bridges’ work was a novel, not a short story. There are only 10 libraries that has the Bridges book, according to the Worldcat database. Fortunately, one is the Library of Congress, and I plan to take a look at it and solve this once and for all when I go there next.
As for why this scrap of a book was on the banks of the Niobrara? That mystery may never be solved.

UPDATED! Thanks to book collector Ed Arends of Pahoa, Hawaii, I can now confirm that this page is from the mystery novel written by Victor Bridges. See a picture  Ed kindly provided of the cover below.




                                    The Photo Booth, Oberlin, KS

I found this photo booth picture (below) while going through a stack of old postcards in a junk store in Oberlin, Kansas. The reverse reads, “Margaret taken at Selden at the carnival. 1938 June 8.”
I think she looks like a young Mia Farrow. Selden, Kansas, is down the road from Oberlin a few miles on Route 83.

The Faded Honky-Tonk Poster, Ballinger, Texas

I collect old concert posters, so I had to buy this one in an antique store in Ballinger, Texas. It’s not in very good shape, but it only put me back $5! Who is Tommy Ross? I can’t find anything on Google about him, or the song, “When I Drank Texas Dry.” I bet some Texas music historians out there know something about him. I would love to find a recording of this song if it exists. It’s a great title. The Stagecoach Inn in Stamford, Texas, isn't on Highway 83. It is about 20 miles off the road, east of Hamlin, Texas. Close enough!
Can you help solve any of these mysteries? Contact me HERE.

A Souvenir of Vaudeville

This postcard was found in an antique store facing Highway 83 in Turpin, Oklahoma.

According to the website, Henry Kramer was an impresario who married the 4-foot tall singer Dolly Kramer and managed the troupe beginning in 1920. After most of his cast was briefly hired as actors on The Wizard of Oz, he renamed the show Henry Kramer’s Hollywood Midgets. That suggests that this postcard predates 1939.