The story of Laredo Western Town in Fawkham after devastating fire

Morgan Truder’s grandfather lived as an 1800s cowboy … in a village near Sevenoaks in 1971.

John Truder founded the Old West American recreation site Laredo Western Town in Fawkham, and as he grew up Morgan would go there.

City founder John Truder and grandson Morgan. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

Now 24, Morgan said: “I remember when I was a kid I didn’t appreciate it.

“People always talk about going in for the first time and going ‘wow’ but I never had that because I was just going to my grandpa.

“When I was really little I would go there during the week and spend time with my grandfather.”

Laredo Western Town was the vision of John and his friends – a group of like-minded history buffs. It was founded in 1971 after John, who was a pig farmer, bought the land next to his house.

Morgan explained, “Kids now love superheroes, but back then it was Western movies.

Owner Jolene and daughter Scarlet Truder in 2013. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Owner Jolene and daughter Scarlet Truder in 2013. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Scarlet and Jolene Truder.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Scarlet and Jolene Truder. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

“They wanted to live the way they saw it in the movies but found it wasn’t as accurate as they would have hoped it to be, so they got into the historical side of it.”

The group regrouped and decided to build their own historically faithful city to represent the American Old West from 1865 to 1889.

Laredo had 24 buildings, including a two-story hotel, salon, working blacksmiths, and bank, all lit by oil lamps and candles.

When he was around seven, Morgan started getting involved in the Western way of life and when he was 13 he really got into the fashion side of things, going so far as to make sure that everything was there. including her underwear and buttonholes, was correct.

But he was harassed at school “because children are cruel”.

The city is happy to invite new members and guests, but has strict rules on technology and other elements.

The buildings that were lost in the fire.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
The buildings that were lost in the fire. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
The mining camp before the fire.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
The mining camp before the fire. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Some buildings which were lost by the fire.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Some buildings which were lost by the fire. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

People have member and guest passes and typically visit every other weekend.

Some people are assigned buildings to maintain, in which they sleep and use to store their belongings. There are also cabins and hotel rooms.

Morgan, who left town at the age of 16 to study, said there was a huge and talented community in Laredo.

He added: “We see it as a home and an escape. [John] did it for a laugh. “

But it all went up in smoke last month when a devastating fire swept through the camp in the middle of the night.

Members emptied the site in a weekend.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Members emptied the site in a weekend. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Members of Laredo Western Town are cleaning up the site.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Members of Laredo Western Town are cleaning up the site. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Seven fire engines were called.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Seven fire engines were called. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

On November 18, seven fire engines were called to the Fawkham site near Dartford just before 10 p.m.

The fire destroyed a third of the city, including the mining camp and the livery.

Entering the city and replenishing visitors, they cannot wear everyday clothes, but after the fire, many were seen in jeans and t-shirts as the flames tore their possessions apart.

The central hotel on the site, which Morgan remembers being completed, was fortunately not affected by the fire.

Morgan, who now lives in south London, remembers how his 16-year-old sister Scarlet called him in the middle of the night.

“I remember being upset. It’s really another level,” he said.

Three of the buildings that burned down.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Three of the buildings that burned down. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Members clean up the site.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Members clean up the site. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

“It’s been a dark few weeks, but all of the donations and all of the people within the community, not just the Reenactment Community, have been amazing.”

When the fire broke out, members were gathering for the annual Thanksgiving weekend event.

Over the weekend the whole area was cleaned up.

Members Ben and Joshua are cleaning up the site.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Members Ben and Joshua are cleaning up the site. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
The space left behind.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
The space left behind. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

When Morgan’s mother Jolene got married in town, her father passed it on to her as a wedding present.

Jolene now leads Laredo and plans the rebuild, incorporating additional safety procedures while remaining genuine.

Morgan continued, “Rebuilding to that kind of level is going to be a challenge. This is the first fire in the city’s 70 years.”

The remains left after the fire.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
The remains left after the fire. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Donations of wood to help rebuild.  Photo provided by: Morgan Truder
Donations of wood to help rebuild. Photo provided by: Morgan Truder

Members of the surrounding community set up a fundraising page to help pay for part of the reconstruction, and others donated building materials such as lumber and telegraph poles.

You can donate through the GoFundMe page to help. It raised almost £ 15,000.

The town has also been used as a film set to help pay for upkeep costs, including in Blood Moon, Finding Neverland, Red Dwarf, and Gunmen of the Apocalypse.


Source link

Comments are closed.