Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Iron Slipper

Sarah J. McNeal

When I created the saloon in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride, I needed a catchy name. From my childhood came the memory of my dad building a short fence out of old tree limbs he found while taking walks in the woods.  At the time, we were living in a log cabin that used to be the carriage house on an old plantation. It was a cool place with a stone fireplace and huge windows in the front where I guess they used to load in the hay for the horses. So Pop thought the place ought to have a name. At the end of the fence he built, he placed a wooden sign with a horse shoe on it and engraved the name, The Iron Slipper.

POP with his dog, Guess
Naturally, when I thought of a name for a saloon, I thought of Pop’s old sign and name the saloon and brothel in Hazard, The Iron Slipper. By the time I wrote For Love of Banjo, the sequel to Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride, Banjo decides to change The Iron Slipper to a decent establishment when he inherits it from the old madam, Belle. With Joe’s wife, Lola, The Iron Slipper transforms into a fine hotel and restaurant where many of Hazard’s fine balls and special occasions are held. In just about every Wilding story, The Iron Slipper is mentioned.

But I was curious about saloon names from back in the old west and secretly wondered if I would find The Iron Slipper among the names. Well, here’s the top 100 list of saloon names from the old west:
Saloon Names in the Old West
Dodge City, Kansas

  • 1. Stockman Saloon
  • 2. Bloody Bucket (this was gory, but unique)
  • 3. Silver Dollar
  • 4. Trails End (it could have been switched to End Tails or entrails, whatever)
  • 5. Long Branch (of course, Dodge City. Remember the old TV show, Gunsmoke?)
  • 6. Big Nose Kate

Brownville, Nebraska 
  • 7. Crystal Palace
  • 8. The Quick and The Dead (later a movie title)
  • 9. Crazy Annies
  • 10. The Last Chance
  • 11. Hitch N Post
  • 12. Horseshoe
  • 13. Shady Lady
  • 14. The Wrangler
  • 15. J Bar S
  • 16. Aces & Eights
  • 17. The Broken Wheel
  • 18. Re Load
  • 19. Double D
  • 20. Diamond Lil's
  • 21. Shotgun Willies
  • 22. Prairie Dew
  • 23. One-Eyed Jacks
  • 24. The Brass Rail
  • 25. The Red Garter

                                                                                THE ARCADE SALOON
 Eldora, Colorado
  • 26. The Mangy Moose
  • 27. Ore Car Saloon
  • 28. Rocking R
  • 29. Two Bit Saloon
  • 30. Wagon Wheel
  • 31. Rusty Spur
  • 32. The Prairie Dust
  • 33. Stables  (I suppose if the wife asked where her husband was all night, he could say, ”At the stables”)
  • 34. The Anvil
  • 35. Two Podners
  • 36. Saddle Sore
  • 37. Mavericks ( I wonder of this is how they came to name the show “Maverick)
  • 38. The Brazen Hussy
  • 39. The Red Eye
  • 40. The Silver Bullet
  • 41. The Blind Pig
  • 42. Easy Sallies
  • 43. Wild Horse
  • 44. Broken Arrow
  • 45. The Trail Dust
  • 46. The Holy Moses
  • 47. Bender
  • 48. Calaboose
  • 49. The Dry Gulch
  • 50. The Gospel Mill (I wonder if they really meant “Gossip Mill”?)
                      THE BUCKHORN SALOON 
                                                                                    Pinos Altos, New Mexico
  • 51. Hang Fire
  • 52. Hard Case
  • 53. Ten Gallon
  • 54. Played Out
  • 55. Pony Up
  • 56. The Kit and Caboodle
  • 57. Who hit John
  • 58. The Mule's Mother
  • 59. The Conniption
  • 60. The Deadbeat
  • 61. Forty Dead Men
  • 62. Hard Knocks
  • 63. The Hunkey Dorey
  • 64. The Cocked Hat
  • 65. Mustered Out
  • 66. Somebody's Darling
  • 67. The Tuckered Out
  • 68. The Rusty Spur
  • 69. Goldust
  • 70. Wet Your Whistle
  • 71. Cowboy Up
                                                                           THE SALTY DAWG SALOON
                                                                                 Homer, Alaska
  • 72. The Tough Enough
  • 73. Tenderfoot
  • 74. Ride-em-hard
  • 75. Mount Up
  • 76. The Mosey On
  • 77. The Caboose
  • 78. The Bangtail
  • 79. The Devil's Outpost
  • 80. The Bettermost
  • 81. The Bible Bump
  • 82. The Bone Orchard
  • 83. Boosy's
  • 84. The Bronc Buster
  • 85. Buckle Bunnies
  • 86. The Hook or Crook
                                                                                   THE SUMMER SALOON
                                                                                        Fairplay, Colorado
  • 87. Mugwumps
  • 88. The Talking-Iron
  • 89. Tarantula Juice Betty's
  • 90. The Tongue Oil
  • 91. Two Whoops and a Hollar
  • 92. The Deadshot
  • 93. The Devil's Addiction
  • 94. The Dilly-Dally
  • 95. The Gut Warmer
  • 96. War Bonnet
  • 97. Whistle Berries
  • 98. The Fair Shake
  • 99. Pie Eyed
  • 100. The Prayer Book
                                                                                THE CRYSTAL PALACE
                                                                                    Tombstone, Arizona

Although there are many fanciful, clever, and unique names for saloons from the old west, I stuck with The Iron Slipper because it was part of my personal history.

A haunted plantation… A trunk… And a date with destiny.

When Lola Barton inherits a rundown plantation, she believes her life has finally taken a positive turn. But, when she finds a mysterious trunk in the attic, it takes her into the past and to a man with dark secrets—and she’s married to him.
Joe Wilding carries his shame in his pocket in the form of a harmonica. The woman he thought he married to save her life, is beginning to break through his stoic wall and find the secret he hides. Loving her could be his ruin. Only time can tell.


          (Just Released Sequel to Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride)

Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding’s love for Maggie O’Leary and his search for the father he never knew.

Banjo Wilding wears a borrowed name and bears the scars and reputation of a lurid past.  To earn the right to ask for Margaret O’Leary’s hand, he must find his father and make something of himself.
Margaret O’Leary has loved Banjo since she was ten years old but standing between her and Banjo is pride, Banjo’s mysterious father and the Great War.



  1. I just noticed I misspelled Alaska. I added an a in there. I hope anyone from Alaska will forgive me.

  2. Between the extra A in Alaska and the missing O in Colorado (in a photo caption), everything will balance out, Sarah. ;-)

    What a great family story! It's wonderful that you got to use it in your Wilding series, which is a fantastic family saga. Writers often misunderstand the old saying "write what you know," but your creation of The Iron Slipper is a good example of what it means.

    There's a Wilding in your LASSOING A BRIDE story, too, isn't there?

  3. Dang, so I messed up Colorado, too. I'll go fix that.
    Yes! I did put a Wilding in Lassoing A Bride, Juliet Wilding finally gets a story of her own. Thank you mentioning that, Kathleen. Harry O'Connor really has to work his magic to win over Juliet. You know how stubborn those Wilding women can be.
    Thank you for letting me know about my other boo-boo and for coming over to my blog. I really do appreciate it.

  4. LOL! Typos sneak up on all of us, Sarah. I've made some real whoppers. :-D

    Forgot to thank you for this lengthy list of saloon names. What a valuable resource that is! :-)

  5. Sarah, what a great list of names! Now I'll have to remember this blog when I need a name for an "establishment". I love your beautiful new covers and so glad to see these stories back out there. Love your latest in Lassoing a Bride, too!

  6. I have to say, I do love these covers, too, Cheryl. Livia did an excellent job creating them.
    I really didn't know there were that many saloons. I loved some of the names, like Bloody Bucket. LOL
    Thank you for dropping by.

  7. I love this list, Kathleen. Some of these names just cracked me up.

  8. Wow! Sarah, the list of saloons alone is a gem, and your family story is wonderful. I like "The Iron Slipper" name for your fictional saloon, and I love your new book covers. Way to go!

  9. Thank you, Lyn. Livia Reasoner created those covers. She always seems to really "get" me and the story elements. I really have to thank my dad for that name. I wish he were still on the earth so he could see how much of my work is influenced by him and the family history.
    Thank you for coming by and commenting, Lyn. I really appreciate the kindness.


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