Saloons in the 1870s Old West ~ And an update: Books and Talks!

Patrick’s Saloon in the historical novel Cat’s Cafe, Eagle Rock Trilogy Book One, wasn’t the highly polished, rich mahogany, mirrored saloon depicted in film and television westerns — at least not in the beginning.

Western towns in the 1860s and ’70s were thrown up faster than they could be properly built. Only a few buildings were built to last. Most began as tent structures. Later, proprietors created the effect of a finished town with the use of flimsy, false fronts to encourage west-bound farm families to stay and settle.

Not surprisingly, before these arid western towns had any means of effective water distribution, and no fire departments at all, many of these structures quickly went up in flames when a rowdy drunk shot off a gun or knocked over a lantern. Patrick’s Saloon was one of the few substantial buildings, owing to Patrick’s cunning ability to seize opportunity whenever chance and sometimes unethical means could be utilized.

Finding herself suddenly behind the bar when her husband mysteriously disappears, Catherine meets all of the influential figures of the area, including the corrupt mayor who runs the town and all who live there; a wild drunken sheriff, formerly a notorious and wanted outlaw; the youngest son of a criminal clan with a heart of gold; a headstrong, Baptist woman missionary at odds with the predominate Mormon religious beliefs of the town; a genteel, self-serving newspaper publisher wandering through the dusty streets with an ulterior motive; a sultry and seductive barmaid with a dubious background; and a quiet Native American mother and son, all who could ultimately help make Cat’s dream of a new and exciting life a reality if she could just muster sufficient courage in this arid, lawless, racist land.

Book Progress!

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble —Cat’s Cafe is now available on the web at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is currently listed on page two of Amazon (5 stars) and page one at B&N (4 stars.) I expect books to be available in local bookstores sometime soon. I also have a few pre-review, less expensive copies. But the book needs to make an impression with booksellers first; so, when possible, I’m encouraging friends to purchase it commercially from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and leave a review online.

On the Road book, stained glass, and architecture presentations — I have already met with one book club for a book signing in Kewaunee, Wisconsin and have presentations and book signings scheduled in many more locations this winter and spring. This is so much fun, and I couldn’t be happier about the response. Here’s what’s coming up, if you’re in the neighborhood.

Kewaunee Public Library, Kewaunee, Wisconsin. Book Signing (open to the public), Thursday, February 23rd, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

St. Johns Church, Luxemburg, Wisconsin. Book Presentation, Monday, February 27th, 10:00 a.m.

Lincoln Public Library, Springfield, Illinois. Dana Thomas House Stained Glass Restoration Presentation (open to the public), Monday, March 20th, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Hope to see you there. Contact me at if your group would like to be part of a presentation or book signing.

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