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Unread 6th of January, 2005, 03:33
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Lando The Archmagi
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The Flat

Starting as a "camp-follower" community adjacent to the Fort, The Flat became a thriving town in the mid-1870s. Sometimes described interchangeably, the town of Fort Griffin and The Flat offered travelers, buffalo hunters and soldiers a place to blow off steam, get a decent meal and otherwise enjoy a respite from the dusty trail. As settlers moved west, The Flat drew the likes of gamblers, homesteaders, outlaws, merchants, and cattle drivers headed north to the railheads in Kansas. Some came to stay while others came and went like the floods that struck without warning. While Fort Griffin proper was situated high on a hill, The Flat lay on the level plain just beneath the steep hillside on the banks of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. The area was typical of the prairie plains terrain of North Texas. At the time, as the buffalo roamed free, the Comanche, Tonkawa and Kiowa that followed the herds were being forced onto reservations. All the while, settlers came to hunt the buffalo, round-up cattle and farm the land as best they could, growing staple crops such as corn, cotton and sorghum. Along the dirt roads of town, buildings sprung up left and right—from businesses catering specifically to the hunters and passers-through to establishments serving the needs of the growing "permanent" populace. While most of the early buildings were constructed of the scrubwood found in the area (such as live oak) a few stone buildings arose as well. All the seasons were felt in this region-from the extremes of a January winter freeze to the dreary high heat of an August summer. Harsh weather posed an ongoing challenge for settlers and travelers alike-potentially as deadly as any outlaw’s buckshot. Flash floods plagued the residents and business owners in The Flat, washing out homes, ruining inventory and sometimes carrying livestock down the river. Apple-sized hailstones periodically pelted roofs and the heads of poor souls unfortunate enough to be caught outdoors. Wicked tornados ripped through the plains without warning, indiscriminately demolishing homesteads or taking objects that were never meant to fly (including people and animals) for a brief ride in the sky. And rarely did an otherwise pleasant autumn pass without a Blue Norther blowing through and leaving an icy spell in its wake. In the early days, The Flat attracted outlaws, gamblers and other scofflaws, resulting in lawlessness for some time. But as the community grew, businesses became established and settlers stuck around, the rule of law evolved. Still, the place was as wild and wooly as the Frontier ever got, and adventure awaited any cowpoke with a hankering for action.

- FRONTIER TOWNS: FORT GRIFFIN VOLUME 1

Last edited by Lando The Archmagi; 6th of January, 2005 at 12:12.
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Unread 6th of January, 2005, 12:18
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Shannsey’s Saloon

After a fleeting (and painful) prize-fighting career, John Shannsey decided it just might be easier to make a living in the saloon and gambling business in Fort Griffin. His establishment has become a magnet over the years, attracting some of biggest names on the Frontier. In fact, Shannsey introduced his friend Wyatt Earp to Doc Holliday right here in this saloon. And this is one of the places where Lottie Deno has been known to deal a mean hand of faro from time to time (and occasionally Doc will sit in to deal a few, too). Anyone passing through Fort Griffin and The Flat without stopping for a gander at Shannsey’s place might just as well ride through the Grand Canyon with his eyes closed. Built completely out of wood, from the warped and whitewashed exterior planks to the slightly uneven floors, Shannsey’s place has a great deal of charm—even if it ain’t pretty. Shannsey puts just enough effort and funds into repairs to keep the exterior of the building in passable shape, but won’t spring for nothing fancy. While he might cut a corner here and there, the one thing Shannsey insists on is a sturdy roof, and his Saloon has a better one than most buildings in town, with overlapping planks coated with lacquer to help keep the rain out. The roof is higher than some single story buildings, with the exterior walls measuring about 12 feet high. Anyone taking a close look at the walls is sure to spot a number of patched-over bullet holes.

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Unread 6th of January, 2005, 12:27
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Beehive Saloon

"Within the hive, we are alive; Good whiskey makes us funny. Get your horse tied, come inside and taste the flavor of our honey." – sign over the entrance.

Aptly named, the Beehive Saloon serves as a gathering place for gamblers, soldiers, travelers and all others looking for a place where any vice can be experienced and nothing seems out of bounds. Pleasures such as drinking, gambling and whorin’ go on all day and all night, although the most raucous activity tends to occur after sundown. While things remain civil on most days, fist fights, shouting matches and even gunfights flare up with noteworthy and disturbing regularity. Built shortly after the Fort itself, the two-story Beehive remains one of the most interesting buildings in The Flat-not only because of all of the boisterous goingson, but also because of its unique appearance. Fairly sturdy and constructed mostly of wood, this square, tall structure sports some rather distinctive features. From the second story balcony overlooking the street-where "soiled doves" do their utmost to entice cowpokes inside for any number of unspeakable activities or perhaps an honest fling on the dance floor-to its peaked tin roof, the building is painted a striking vermilion, boasts two sets of front doors and has a weathered back staircase to the second floor entry (normal door, quality lock). The brainchild of Elias Bennington, wh o knows the value of "location, location, location," the Beehive sits at the corner of Griffin and Second Street.

Bennington claimed this spot before much else had been constructed in The Flat. Because of the sordid reputation and constant activity of the place, most other entrepreneurs and settlers were discouraged from building too close by. Instead, only a few shacks and tents populate the north portion of this block—most owned or rented at bargain rates by the cyprians plying their trade in the saloon. Other harlots have shacks and tents near the river at the north edge of town. While the saloon does have boarding rooms on the second floor, Bennington prefers to rent them for temporary activities rather than a full night. But, if the price is right, Bennington will certainly rent the rooms to anyone for any purpose. In general, the Beehive is so popular that Bennington gets his price for just about everything, from liquor to cigars or room rental.
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Unread 9th of January, 2005, 05:11
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Pete Haverty's Livery

Call it a barn, a stable, or a livery; Pete Haverty doesn’t really care. To him, it’s just a building. A place here he can earn an honest living taking care of horses —or buying, trading and selling them for that matter. Truly, there’s nothing special about the livery. Made entirely of wood and b uilt before Haverty arrived in The Flat, this two-story structure, although weathered, remains sturdy because of the diligence of its current owner and his employees. They make sure the place is in good shape—painting and repairing aging planks and keeping it tidy. Haverty has gradually improved the building, adding the custom stalls shortly after purchasing the business and remodeling the office and storage area in the last two years. The first floor has an outdoor corral, indoor stalls and an office, while the second floor serves as a hayloft—with all of the sights and smells that you’d expect in any barn designed to board horses. Pete frowns on boarding anything other than a horse, but he can be persuaded to let a man flop in a stall or the loft for a night, or to board some other livestock if the price is right and the request is honest. When it comes to horses, Pete will swap, trade or rent a horse with any man, any time. He guarantees that someone will be at the livery at all times, keeping an eye on all four-legged guests. Furthermore, if asked, he guarantees to track down anyone who harms or steals any horse boarded at his place.

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Unread 16th of January, 2005, 03:33
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Flat (Fort Griffon) map

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Unread 16th of January, 2005, 03:34
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Northern Texas

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Unread 27th of September, 2006, 01:44
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York and Meyer's Outfitters

Description:



One of the few stone buildings in town, York & Meyers Outfitters fills an essential need in The Flat. Like allFrontier towns, Fort Griffin requires adequate supplies to keep both the populace and passers-through healthy and somewhat comfortable. But, lines of supply from “civilization” to the frontier can be fragile, painfully slow and requently interrupted by desperados, Indian raids or inclement weather. The presence of a venture capitalist willing to purchase, trade and store significant quantities of equipment, provisions and everyday goods makes the difference between a one-horse town and a thriving community.

Fortunately for the residents and visitors of The Flat, Frank B. York and his partner Charley Meyers came down from Dodge City with visions of making another mark on the expanding Frontier. With a sizable enterprise already built in Kansas, the opportunity offered by the rapidly expanding Fort Griffin community proved too tempting to pass up. Several friends and business contacts that had passed through The Flat told Frank and Charley about the thriving environment they found here, with plenty of room for an establishment catering to the needs of buffalo hunters, travelers and settlers. So the two men headed south, hired a business manager named H.E. Chapin, and joined the bustling activity in and around Fort Griffin.

Merchandise Room

Upon entering the place, a curious melange of spices, buffalo hide and coffee beans assaults the nose. Actually, this is but a sampling of the dozens of odors emanating from the abundance of goods either stacked, shelved or piled in rows and clusters all around this large space. Because York & Meyers has made a commitment to having things on hand whenever possible, the place remains regularly well-stocked. Of course, at any given time certain supplies may be sold-out, thus requiring a special order through Chapin or Naranjo. Nevertheless, customers can generally get what they want right on the spot (between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.).

Shelves line all of the walls, holding smaller items such as foodstuffs, hand tools or pocket items (from a compass to cheap cigars or pens). The only places where shelves aren’t found are behind the clerk’s counter and around the windows on each side of the room—which have the same construction as the front windows. The left side of the room contains stacks of crates,bags, and barrels holding bulk commodities such as grain, liquor and oil. Beyond these bulk items, near the storeroom door, are stand-up shelves containing a variety of apparel and related supplies such as hides, blankets and bolts of cloth.

Two rectangular tables lie just to the right of the center of the room, effectively dividing the place in two and marking a pathway from the front to the clerk’s counter. These tables display larger items such as saddles, harnesses and other horse tack. The shelves just to the right of the tables have more equestrian items, from horseshoes to saddlebags.
Candles, lamps, shovels, cookware and other miscellaneous
items will be found on the shelves (or just leaning against the walls) in the front right corner of the building. The more specialized (and expensive) equipment, large or small, is stored either near or on the clerk’s counter in the far right corner (including a sewing machine, binoculars, medicines and firearms).

Clerk's Counter


This three-foot high, L-shaped counter divides the work and sales area from the general merchandise and contains a number of wares for sale. As noted previously, a shiny new sewing machine rests on a small round table just in front of the shorter section of counter where it meets the wall. Specialty (i.e. more expensive) items are also displayed on top of this section of the counter, including binoculars, a few pairs of eyeglasses, pocket watches, harmonicas and other similar items. Next to those specialties are some “impulse-buy” foodstuffs, such as baskets of hard candy, chocolates, licorice sticks, chewing gum, and jerky. The longer section of the L functions as a workspace and place to converse and haggle with the customers or evaluate trade goods.

The walls behind the counter are fitted with wooden racks for displaying guns and other weapons. And there are a number of pieces to choose from at any given time,from the largest shotguns and rifles to the smallest pistols. Both vintage and late model firearms fill the racks, as well as Bowie knives, arrows and sabers. Out of sight from the general observer, a variety of medicines, ammunition, special tool kits and other similarly valuable or dangerous items are stored underneath the counter. While there is no physical barrier between the end of the counter and this space, the employees are careful about keeping someone behind the counter at all times, preventing the devious or simply curious from reaching the weapons or hidden items. Anyone asking for ammunition or medical supplies will be permitted to see the products—under proper supervision. To repeat, management insists that employees leaving the counter to help customers on the main floor call for another employee to mind the counter.

The guard dog, Queenie, rests in the corner behind the counter. During the day, she remains calm, even sleeping, unless ordered to action. At night she prowls The Floor, checking out any strange smell or sound.




Last edited by Lando The Archmagi; 27th of September, 2006 at 01:58.
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