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Matthew:

As a Cub Scout, I visited the R.E. Hazard Museum in Mission Valley many years back. I recall an entire collection of photos of hangings. These were the real thing, all were extra grisly and may be the reason I still have never had trouble with the law. What became of this collection. It seemed to us nine-year-olds that there must have been hundreds of photos.

-- J.G., No Fixed Abode, San Diego

Roscoe E. "Pappy" Hazard himself used to lead tours through the museum, scaring the badges off tads like you. There were 120 photos in the collection, and lots, but not all, were of lousy varmints meeting frontier justice. But the pics made up one tiny corner of the R.E.'s cache of Western memorabilia that included horse-drawn vehicles and early autos, the world's largest collection of saddles, a circus calliope, bridles, Native artifacts, branding irons, two Wells Fargo stage coaches, guns, Mexican swords, and a collection of bows and arrows that once belonged to Earle Stanley Gardner. Hazard had a ranch in Arizona, loved the West, and spent 30 years driving around the country buying up whatever struck his well-capitalized fancy. He built a museum to display it all in 1960 on the Hazard Co. property near the intersection of I-8 and 163.

When Pappy acquired part of the estate of actor Leo Carrillo, it inflated his hoard beyond the museum's capacity, so he made a deal with Old Town State Park in 1972. He'd contribute a chunk of money to help build what is now Seeley Stables if the state would take over the management of the Hazard collection. All the vehicles in Seeley Stables were Pappy's (or are modern replicas of them), and if you go upstairs into the loft, you'll find a couple of those photos of an Old West hanging. Everything else is in storage under the control of state parks and recreation in Sacramento, waiting for display space somewhere.

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