What happens when you blend the Victorian Era and the Wild West expansion? You get the Victorian West. People tend to think of these two things as separate events, when in fact they were happening simultaneously.
The Victorian era includes the period during which Queen Victoria reigned in England from 1837 until her death in 1901. Victoria and her beloved husband, Prince Albert, led with high morals, decorum, and modesty. They also believed in charity and culture.
Sherry Monahan believes the Victorian West was more a way of life than anything else. It was a place where cowboys and city gents lived side by side. It’s a place where chuck wagon grub and fancy French dinners were served. It’s a time when gamblers and gambling was a respectable occupation. Big town saloons shimmered with luxurious decorations like crystal, Oriental rugs, and oil paintings. Men and women alike strolled the streets in the latest Victorian fashions.
Yes, most rural towns and camps didn’t have fancy social parties, but if there were women and children living there, certain proprieties would have been kept. Just because these pioneers chose to leave their comfortable Eastern surroundings, didn’t mean they abandoned their good social graces. Denver, Deadwood, San Francisco, Dodge City, and even Tombstone, Arizona, had a social class and all the Victorian virtues that went along with it.
Can you imagine Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, and all the other host of Wild West characters living like this? Well, it’s true. They often dined on classic French cuisine, drank from crystal wine glasses, wore the latest fashions from London, and gambled with their feet on Oriental rugs.
Welcome to Victorian West! This site covers those topics and more of what life was like during the Victorian era during the Wild West expansion.
Be sure to check out Sherry’s blog on various Victorian West topics.