Dodge City, Kansas...

We have been wanting to visit the town whose lore was a part of our childhood. Famous for its rich history as a frontier cowtown, Dodge City offers up a wide array of legends and history to travelers in these parts.

Once called home or visited by such notables as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate, and Clay Allison, this place had a reputation for being the most wicked town in the Old West. No town could match it as a true frontier settlement. It had more famous (and infamous) gunfighters working at one time or another than any other town in the West.
Wanting a history lesson we moseyed over to Boot Hill, located on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery in Dodge City. Here exhibits, programs and colorful entertainers tell the story of Dodge City's Wild and Wicked beginnings. Exhibits included a vast Old West Gun collection; Indian, Buffalo, Cattle,  and Clothing Exhibits; the Boot Hill Cemetery; Ft. Dodge Jail; a one Room School House; and an 1878 Victorian home. Along Front Street is the Rath General Store, the Long Branch Saloon, the Cigar Shop, the Dry Goods Store, the Tonsorial Parlor, and the Doctor's Office-  all recreated in 1959 based on photographs of the actual 1880's town.
Its most disturbing history was that of the buffalo. Dodge City became the Buffalo Capital of the West and buffalo hides towered along Front Street awaiting shipment. Filthy buffalo hunters and traders filled the town’s establishments and the term "stinker” was coined, just for them. When the Army Commander-in-Chief ordered the slaughter of buffalo in order to drive the Indians onto reservations, the prairie was littered with decaying carcasses. I knew this history but the museum made it painfully real.
The stories of normal life in this western town were interesting to discover.
I loved the exhibit on Gunsmoke, the American television Western drama series that ran from 1955- 1975 (part of that aforementioned childhood memory). The stories took place in and around Dodge City, during the settlement of the American West.


We strolled Front Street and pretended we were residents. Fun stuff.

History is everywhere and our travels are allowing us to learn so many lessons of the past.

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2 comments:

Nesbit Library rocks! said...

And doesn't Steve look like he fits right in with his cowboy hat and boots?!

Karen Booth said...

You had cowboy hats in your RV? How do you fit all this stuff?

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