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Carrie Nation.

Carry Nation's Whackin' Hatchet

Field review by the editors.

Medicine Lodge, Kansas

Carry Nation hated alcoholic beverages (and tobacco, and freemasons too). But it wasn't until the early 1900s, when she was in her mid-fifties, that she invented a form of protest that she later dubbed "hatchetation." She would walk into a saloon, curse the bartender ("Donkey bed mate of Satan!" was typical) and then destroy the place. Carry stood six feet tall and weighed 175 pounds, and her weapons of choice were rocks, bricks, billiard balls, an iron bar strapped to her cane, and, eventually, a hatchet. It was the hatchet that caught the fancy of the press. Carry, a master of self-promotion, quickly adopted it as her symbol. When she went out on a smashing crusade, she'd carry a bag of tiny souvenir hatchets that she'd sell to help bail her out of prison.

Carry lived in a house in Medicine Lodge when she began her smashing campaign, and it was turned into the Carry Nation Home Museum in 1950. Exhibits include her pump organ (Carry liked to sing hymns), her hat, her suitcase, a couple of her souvenir hatchets -- and a real hatchet, protected under glass. According to its display Carry gave it to a minister-friend in Georgia and his family later sent it here. "She had other hatchets, you know," said Ann Bryan, a Museum manager. "A lot of them were taken away. But this one she managed to hold on to."

Carry Nation's Whackin' Hatchet

Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum

209 W. Fowler Ave., Medicine Lodge, KS
Carry Nation Home. On the south edge of town, on the grounds of the Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum. It's on US Hwy 160 about a quarter-mile west of the junction of US Hwy 281.
Daily 10:30 am - 5 pm, or 1-4 pm off-season. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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