History Comes Alive During the LCC Frontier Encampment

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Visitors, young and old, to the Lamar Community College Campus this past Friday and Saturday, had a chance to learn about a buckboard wagon, talk trade with trappers, learn about some Indian tribes from the High Plains, watch a cannon get primed to fire, view a blacksmith make a nail, get signed up for the Union Army, buy a drink for a gambler or watch farm women make colored dyes for clothing. The events didn’t stop there, as about a century of history and development of the frontier was on view at the bi-annual Frontier History Encampment on the LCC campus.

This marks the third Encampment held at the college, developed in large part through the efforts of the first organizer, former history professor Judy Arnold, as well as her daughter, current history professor, Kelley Emick. Over three dozen living historians from the area get into their buckskins, farm dresses, uniforms, boots, slippers, fancy duds, blacksmith aprons, furs, spurs and foofaraw, to spend their Friday and Saturday entertaining and informing visitors of the way life really was for a nine decade span of living on the High Plains.

Each stop on the campus depicts a segment of life, ranging from an 1800 Indian camp to early pioneers and fur traders and explorers, an 1840 blacksmith, U.S. Calvary and Artillery troops from the 1860s, gamblers and gunfighters and trading posts, buffalo hunters, and more current Indian camps from the 1870s to homesteaders of the 1880s. Each historian provides historical commentary on their lifestyles and what came before and after their period in the development of the west.

Elementary students swarmed over the campus on Friday, petting horses, cheering the roar of a cannon salute, listening to trappers and watching blacksmiths at their craft. Saturday was the second day the free Encampment was open to visitors, this time of all ages and backgrounds. Each visitor found their favorite spot and site, and listened and wondered how they would have fit into that time period, some of those times, now over 200 years into our nation’s past.

By Russ Baldwin


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