"Swinging Doors": The Allure & Artifacts of Nineteenth-Century Saloons

Author(s): Megan Victor

Year: 2018


         The saloon is a fixture of the oft-romanticized ‘Wild’ American West. Featured in stories, movies, and television, it hosted some of the region’s most colorful characters. While many romantic notions of the West fall apart under scrutiny, a grain of truth exists where the saloon is concerned: it was a key institution on the nineteenth-century American frontier. Like the frontier itself, the saloon came about as a result of new influences mixing with old patterns. In the eighteenth century, the tavern was the most numerous institution on landscape, providing a location for clandestine meetings, educational gatherings, political discussion, trade agreements, and socializing. Saloons replaced taverns in the nineteenth century, but brought hallmarks of tavern culture westward, where it blended with new customs. The physical manifestation of this culture can be seen in the saloon assemblages from Highland City, Montana (1866-1890), where even the artifacts mix old favorites with new inventions.

Cite this Record

"Swinging Doors": The Allure & Artifacts of Nineteenth-Century Saloons. Megan Victor. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441946)


Frontier Saloon West

Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
18th & 19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 1108