Prairie Flower’s Forest for Forrest Page-
To find out HOW and WHY to submit your tree photo, click HERE:
Prairie Flower’s Forest for Forrest Page-
To find out HOW and WHY to submit your tree photo, click HERE:
Please click HERE to go to Forrest’s secret birthday page.
I thought with the discussion I see from time to time on the Totem Café in West Yellowstone when hunting the treasure, it may be of interest to seekers to know a bit more history on this business – many people have walked through its doors and perhaps something about it does hold a clue to the blaze… ☺
The Totem Café is no more, but the building still stands and parts of the original building are still in place. It is now Bullwinkle’s at 115 Canyon Street. The metal sign at the apex of the roof is the original sign from the Totem, it has just been repainted to say Bullwinkle’s. Jackie and Dennis LaFever purchased the building from Jim and Marcia Gray in 2006, it had been with the Grays since about 1976. Marcia originally acquired the Totem in 1972, when she was married to Jack Tremaine. Jack was killed in an accident in 1974 on Denny Creek Road and Marcia married Jim Gray a few years later.
When purchased in 1972, there were cabins next to the cafe’ that lined the alley (known as “B Pkwy” on maps) but Marcia used those for crew housing instead of rentals. They were eventually sold or torn down, with the exception of one that became a Rock Shop for Ken and Ione Guyse on the Totem property. The original Totem building at that time had attached living quarters behind it. Around 1973 or ’74 the living room of those quarters was turned into a game room for playing live poker and an entryway was cut out to allow access to it from the Totem Lounge at the rear of the building. Jack and Marcia had poker chips made with “Totem Club” embossed above the denominations. The rear outside access was changed also, with entry from the parking lot into the “Game room” via what used to be the entry to the living quarters. Because this door was not easily visible to the bartender in the lounge, a set of ‘jingle bells’ was attached so people entering the building could be heard. If you visited the Totem anytime from the mid-70’s for the next 30 years, and you came in through the back door, you probably came in through the “Jingle Bell door”.
Prior to 1972, the owners were Bill and Eulah Gray. Jim Gray, who married Marcia after Jack’s death, was their son. So it was still ‘in the Gray family’ so to speak after 1976.
Now I will do my best to recall what I can, but this history was before my time so might have some errors; I believe Bill and Eulah bought the Totem from Frosty and Ramona (Jochimsen) Tornes (maybe the same Frosty in Forrest story). I don’t know who they bought it from, or if they were the original builders. I understand the original building was constructed in 1937.
At some point in the late 40’s or early 50’s the building was moved to its current location from further South on Canyon St., I believe south of Madison Avenue. I have always thought it was located about mid-block on the same side of the street as it is now, in the vicinity of alley “A Pkwy” on West Yellowstone maps (that’s a guess).
There are 2 old photographs posted with Museum of the Rockies Photo Archive Online http://www.morphotoarchive.org/), you can do a search by location (on the left under Image Database Searches, By Location), select West Yellowstone and find the photographs there. The cabins, which I assumed moved with the building, can be made out in these photos. My hunch is this is how the Totem looked, and this was the location, that Forrest worked at, although I do not know that for sure.
I lived in West Yellowstone from the 1960’s to 1983, my mother was Marcia Gray. We lived for years behind the Totem, it was my second home literally. I went back in 2002 to 2005 and ran the business when my mother was living in Helena, MT. When TTOTC was published, I was stunned that Forrest had worked at the Totem, but so many of the stories Forrest told were up close and personal to me having lived in West Yellowstone for so many years.
The Totem changed names from time to time (not necessarily officially) over the years as new areas were added to the business. It started as Totem Café, had a game room later as the Totem Club. Then was known as Totem Restaurant and Lounge. You will also see Totem Restaurant and Deli, sometimes with “Liquor Store” added in. Later it was Totem Restaurant and Casino Bar. I have noted there are matchbook covers for sale from time to time on the internet from the Totem. While they all look very similar (my mother kept the original cover design pretty much the same as it was when she purchased the business), I can tell what “Totem era” the book was printed in by the words on the cover. If it says “Cabins” or has a 4 digit phone number, it’s old.
I have read some stories sent to Dal from searchers who feel the Totem is a key in the hunt for the treasure. Indeed, the streets of West Yellowstone have mystery names – there is a Canyon, a Madison, a Firehole, and other names that may lead a seeker to find a path to the blaze. If you are in West Yellowstone, and are curious about the Totem, stop in at Bullwinkle’s and have a beer or coke in the small lounge at the back of the restaurant in the original ‘A’ frame building. The wooden bar is one of the original parts left from the Totem. There is also a salad bar made of white rock against one wall – this was built by Jack around 1973 and hasn’t changed from its original construction that I know of. I haven’t been in there recently but would like to go this summer and see what a wonderful refurbishing that Jackie has done.
If you want some fun, tell Jackie you are curious about the ‘Spiderman room’. When I was living in the attached quarters around 1975, my room was a windowless square that adjoined the bathroom. I loved Spiderman (what teenager doesn’t), and to dispel the gloom of no window, I painted a life-sized caricature of him on my cinderblock wall. Every day was a good day to wake up and see Spidey slinging a web across the room. This picture was still remaining when Jackie bought the Totem. Sometime, (I am thinking about 2011), he had to be covered up finally to make way for renovations. She sent a picture to my mother just before he was painted over, with the painters hanging out next to him. He had been slinging the same web for over 35 years. His presence is only known to a few, as he was tucked away in a secret spot, like the treasure we all seek.
Good hunting, hope this was interesting for a few readers!
Jonsey sent along these images from an early Totem Cafe menu in her vast collection of Forrest related artifacts.
by Diggin Gypsy
The Ole Coot said the book wrote itself and I know why. Flying so much, you look down over the landscape and your imagination goes into play. Everyone enjoy this and realize why all you need is a great imagination to solve the chase.
One Horse Land and Cattle Company is what he saw on Horse Butte and Edwards Peninsula:
(1) the race horse, (2) the moose, (3) elephant , (4) the buffalo and (5 )the cow Bessie.
We all know Forrest has a elephant statue in his back yard by his pond, but why ???? And when did he put it there? And all those animals are CATTLE !!
Then we have the ole biddy and the teacher who was 40 ⚖️
We have the (6) Minerva bird we have an (7) arrowhead, (8) alligator, (9) Tex the cowboy , (10) the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and the queen is on his leg and (11) the running man.
Take note, the plane on page 99 is a map of Edwards Peninsula. See TEX on the wing see the outline of the foot!!!! Have fun with this. I believe these are all things to just say, “Hey all you people looking in New Mexico it’s in Montana !!!!!!!”
The landscape named his book the The Thrill of the Chase, aka race horse , who’s gonna be the winner.
There’s also an owl in there and a butterfly . Have the kids find those.
The chase was meant to be simple like this for families. Don’t show the kids the images. Let them find them. I let my grandson and he saw all of them.
Have fun and get back to searching.
The New Mexico State Patrol Chief wants Forrest to stop the chase. He called it “nonsense” and suggested that Forrest should go get the chest “if it exists”. Pretty insulting, don’t you think?
Pete Kassetas is the chief’s name and he seems to be pretty full of himself. He also believes that no outside agency should be called in to investigate his boys when they shoot somebody. The chief says they can do it themselves. Maybe that point of view should be extended to all folks who shoot somebody. Let’s just have them all investigate themselves. What do you say chief? It would save the State Police a lot of time and money and apparently that’s why you want Forrest to stop the search. You claim your boys spent too much time and taxpayer resources looking for Randy Bilyeu and Pastor Wallace. Nice attitude chief.
I would suggest that Pete doesn’t seem to grasp the value or the popularity or the positive rewards of the chase. It was just a few years ago that True West Magazine honored Forrest with their True Westerner Award for his contribution to and preservation of America’s Western Heritage. Some of that was for his writing but it was also for stoking “the national media fires with his $1million hidden treasure hunt”. In 2012 he received the Rounders Award” from the New Mexico State Department of Agriculture for “Individuals who have lived, promoted, or articulated the Western Way of Life.” The Mayor of Santa Fe proclaimed May 29th, 2015 “The Thrill of the Chase Day” for Forrest’s philanthropic endeavors and increased tourism due to his treasure hunt, And finally, The State Tourism folks chose to include Forrest’s treasure hunt in their very popular New Mexico Tourism video.
There are swarms of problems in New Mexico that are responsible for a great deal of death among the citizenry of your state…some are even in your direct purview.
Here’s one that you might care about chief, motorcycles. I see that there were 37 motorcycle fatalities in New Mexico in 2015. Maybe you could have everyone turn in their bikes and ban motorcycles on the State’s highways. That would save your boys a lot of time and money chief. Why don’t you suggest that to the news and see what happens?
What about pedestrian deaths chief? In June of 2016 the Albuquerque Journal wrote that New Mexico is number one in the nation in pedestrian deaths…Holy cow chief, There’s something you and the boys could work on.
By my rough statistics…assuming there were about 35,000 folks out searching for Forrest’s treasure in 2016. One died. That’s a one in 35,000 chance that anyone will die while looking for Forrest’s chest. A whole lot better than my chances of dying while walking along your roads chief..
I note that New Mexico experienced a nearly 24% increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2015 and the first half of 2016. That’s not good chief. I hope you can address that.
So you see chief. There are a lot of activities that are much more dangerous than hunting for Forrest’s treasure. Do the research chief. There is a tremendous interest in looking for Forrest’s treasure…because it’s fun and for many it has an even greater meaning:
Previously estranged family members are reuniting and joining in the search, and thousands of children are learning about nature first hand. In a time when the world is full of problems, Forrest has provided some hope and excitement. Sure, there have been some losses, and those tragedies cannot be over emphasized, but you lose many times more hunters each year in your state. Look it up chief. Do you want New Mexicans to stop hunting?
Right now we are experiencing about a thousand new visitors per hour on this blog. This is just one of many blogs and web sites that provide information about the chase. The chase is growing and your whining about the treasure hunt on national media is certainly helping to widen that interest. Did I say thanks for that?
Speaking of information Chief, Forrest has done a lot to inform searchers that they don’t need to do anything foolish to locate the chest, to wit:
“The chest is not located in a dangerous place.”
“I want all the people looking for the treasure chest to understand that they should not go looking anyplace where a 79 or 80 year old man could not carry a 42lb box.”
“The chest is not located in a tunnel, cave or mine.”
“Hunt prepared and go safely.”
“The chest is not in a dangerous place. But any place can become dangerous for anyone who violates the common sense rules of the chase.”
“I hid the treasure in a place that is not especially difficult to reach.”
“I’ve said over and over not to look for the treasure when there is snow on the ground.”
So you see chief…Forrest has warned folks to be safe and has eliminated several particularly dangerous locations as hiding places for the chest.
As far as “nonsense” goes..
I can think of a lot more senseless activity than hunting for the chest. It’s an activity that gets me outside into the smells and colors of nature. It has given me exposure to western history, prehistory, geography, culture and lore. I’ve slept under the wide open sky and hiked among the sage and juniper of the sub-alpine regions of the mountains. I’ve seen bear and elk and sheep while out looking for Forrest’s hidden chest. I’ve fished for dinner and found relics of ancient civilizations. I’ve walked many of the arroyos, creeks and trails of the lovely mountains between Santa Fe and Glacier. I have not found it yet but I’ve had a great time trying and I have no intention of stopping.
Chief, I doubt that you will read this blog so I am providing your contact information, and urging those who have an opinion on this subject to contact you and tell you what they think. You probably already know what I think.
Contact information for New Mexico State Patrol Chief Pete Kassetas:
phone: 505 827-9300 or 505 827-3476
Street Address: 4491 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87507-9721
Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/nmspchiefk?lang=en
Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/NMStatePolice/posts/10152986140431860?
WE NEED YOU or at least your good ideas
The Fennboree Planning Group (FPG)…consisting of all of us who are interested in making Fennboree 2018 the best ever can contribute their ideas for next years event right here.
Soooo…Look back on the 2017 event…what would have made it better? What could be improved?
-Do you have ideas for fun activities?
-Distribution of information about the event?
or anything else related to making Fennboree 2018 better…
Just add your suggestion below…
Here’s a new contest just in time for Fennboree.
I call it Doodlemania.
Just draw a picture of Indulgence resting in her hiding place.
Bring it to Fennboree.
Your doodle can be big or small, colorful or monotone, simple or complex.
It can be created digitally or crafted by hand.
Be it impressionistic, surrealistic, minmalistic, conceptual, modernistic, pop, abstract or even hyperrealistic.
It can be a drawing, a painting, a sketch, but it must be made by you.
Give it appeal and let the voters decide.
We’ll hang them up on Saturday for all to see at Fennboree.
Everybody there gets one vote.
Doodle with the most votes wins.
Got one already?
Is yours signed by the author and by the cover photographer?…I think not…
You can see what Forrest had to say about this splendid memoir and meet Lou and Susan who created the book with Forrest and see Peggy’s reaction to one of the stories…in a video located here:
(it may take a few moments for the video to load up…be patient)
Chasing Words of Forrest Fenn by J.C. Merritt
This is an incredible resource with quotes from Forrest and links to where the source of the quotes…whether it was in a book, on the web, a video or a radio program.
Find out more about this resource here:
JCM also said he would donate a second copy of his Chasing Words of Forrest Fenn for the second place winner…
Desertphile: A Paranoid Misanthrope Hides in the Desert
Additionally, Desertphile is waiting for his new book to arrive on his doorstep. If it arrives by Friday he will provide a copy of his book to the first place winner as well…
You can find out more about it here:
So the prize category is getting weighty… (-:
See you at Fennboree!
Aaron Pyle is a relative of Ernie’s and a searcher. He sent along these photographs today…they reminded me that not everyone who rushes to the front is in the military. None the less, they earn our respect and admiration.
AT A COMMAND POST, Ie Island, Ryukyus, April 18 (AP)–Ernie Pyle, the famed columnist who had reported the wars from Africa to Okinawa, met his death about a mile forward of the command post.
Mr. Pyle had just talked with a general commanding Army troops and Lieut. Col. James E. Landrum, executive officer of an infantry regiment, before “jeeping” to a forward command post with Lieut. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge of Helena, Ark., commanding officer of the regiment, to watch front-line action.
Colonel Coolidge was alongside Mr. Pyle when he was killed. “We were moving down the road in our jeep,” related Colonel Coolidge. “Ernie was going with me to my new command post. At 10 o’clock we were fired on by a Jap machine gun on a ridge above us. We all jumped out of the jeep and dived into a roadside ditch.
“A little later Pyle and I raised up to look around. Another burst hit the road over our heads and I fell back into the ditch. I looked at Ernie and saw he had been hit.
“He was killed almost instantly, the bullet entering his left temple just under his helmet.
“I crawled back to report the tragedy, leaving a man to watch the body. Ernie’s body will be brought back to Army grave registration officers. He will be buried here on Ie Jima unless we are notified otherwise.
“I was so impressed with Pyle’s coolness, calmness and his deep interest in enlisted men. They have lost their best friend.”
Forrest Fenn will be celebrating his 87th birthday on August 22…
Cynthia is asking EVERYONE to send him a birthday card…flood his Santa Fe mailbox.
You can send cards directly to Forrest at:
PO Box 8174
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Prairie Flower suggests we celebrate Forrest by planting trees!
She says: “A man named Forrest should have a forest named after him. It would take an act of Congress to do this, however. So I have come up with a different idea. Let us each plant a tree in honor of him – wherever you live! (If that is impossible for you to do, perhaps you can dedicate a tree in your yard in honor of him.)
Since a forest is considered to be a community of trees, our trees will be a community in a unique way – all dedicated to Forrest!”
Please send Prairie Flower a photo of you and your tree and the location of this tree (city, state) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
She will put all of these photos in a presentation to give to him. This will be posted to dal’s site on Forrest’s birthday for all to enjoy. She will include a map where all of these trees are located!
Thanks so much!