"Do you need a repair on that wagon?" carpenter Ken Reavis asked visitors stepping inside his shop Saturday at Wichita's Old Cowtown Museum.
"I'll either take cash or chickens," he told them.
Reavis was one of dozens of Cowtown volunteers working to create a typical day in Wichita in the 1870s.
Around Cowtown, the ice man delivered ice, the elevator weighed a farmer's wheat, women were fitted for new dresses and the marshal kept an eye out for unchecked guns.
A wedding, a funeral, a birthday party, a high tea and a graduation ceremony at the schoolhouse were also planned for the day.
In plannng the day's activities, Cowtown staff sifted through old editions of the Wichita City Eagle and the Wichita Daily Beacon to find out what happened on May 28 in the 1870s.
At the Presbyterian church, volunteers Haylea Gilstrap and Aaron Kuenn re-created the nuptials of Alice Ledford and Fred Martsolf. After the ceremony, the "newlyweds" rode in wheelbarrows down the street as wedding guests followed, beating on tin cups and pans.
Saturday's event was the first of what Cowtown director David Flask said will become an annual day called Frozen in Time.
"I came up with the idea for a number of different reasons," Flask said. "We're doing a lot of things that people don't immediately think of Cowtown as."
For example, Cowtown has recently held a benefit car show and will host a "wine mosey" in September.
"I wanted to be able to show that our concentration is still our original concept of the 1870s," Flask said of Saturday's event. "That we can do it, and we can do it well."
Abby and Keith Millerbrought their 12-year-old daughter, Zoe,along with friends visiting from out of town.
"They've never been to Kansas before," Abby Miller said. "This is a good way to introduce them to Kansas history."
Gary and Michelle Cooksey brought their 6-year-old daughter, Aubrie, out for the day.
"The blacksmith was real interesting," Gary Cooksey said while Aubrie petted a horse hitched to a carriage. "I wasn't aware how they got the metal hot enough to bend."
Eslewhere, marshal Mike Meagher, played by volunteer Randy Edens,was making sure there was peace on the streets.
Meagher became marshal of Wichita in 1871 and served on and off for 10 years, Edens said.
In 1864, he hired Wyatt Earp as a deputy police officer.
It was under Meagher that Earp learned about gun ordinances and Meagher's philosophy of "actions first, talk later," Edens explained.
Earp was fired about a year later for roughing up Meagher's opponent in an election for sheriff. then moved to Dodge City, Edens said.
Meagher was eventually killed in a shootout in Caldwell.
"Kansas was the center of the romanticized era of the cattle drive and cowboy era," Edens said. "You can't find many good guys and bad guys in the history books that didn't start here, pass through here or end their lives here."
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major events at cowtown
The following events are planned at Cowtown this year:
June 9: River Festival discount day
June 10-1: An Evening of Burlesque
July 2: Celebrate America
Aug. 27: Victorian Ball
Sept. 3: Age of the Gunfighter
Sept. 11: third annual Wine Mosey
Sept. 24: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Oct. 7: Education Day
Oct. 8: 34th annual County Fair
Oct. 29: Historic Hauntings
Oct. 29: Hay, Hooves and Halloween
Nov. 5: Steampunk Day
Dec. 3 & 10: Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 2-3 & 9-10:
Admission is $7.75 for adults ages 18 to 61; $6.50 for seniors 62 and older, $6 for youths ages 12 to 17, $5.50 for children ages 4 to 11, and free for children under 4 and Old Cowtown Museum members.
For more information, call 316-350-3323 or visit www.oldcowtown.org