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Dodge City Kansas

Dodge City is beyond any doubt, pure old west. It is a gateway to a history that is rich and full with pioneers, wagon trains, old west shoot outs and cowboys.

Dodge city’s history begins with the opening of the Santa Fe trail. Thousands of wagons began to travel the trails west from Dodge City into Colorado.

Dodge City as it was in summer of 1876

For those willing to risk the dangers of waterless sand hills, a shorter route called the Cimarron Cutoff crossed the river near Dodge City and went southwest to the Cimarron River. There was not a great deal of safety from marauding Indians or highway robbers, or the gangs of outlaws who attacked both wagontrain and stage coach, as well as individual travelers.

Fort Dodge was established in 1865 on the Santa Fe Trail near the present city, and was built to give its protection to wagon trains, the U. S. mail service and serveas a supply base for troops in the Indian Wars.

Kiowa, Cheyenne and other plains tribes inhabited the area and wild game was abundant including vast herds of Buffalo.

The Front Street Reproduction by Boot Hill Museum

Just six years later in 1871, five miles east of the Fort at the foot of a hill along the Trail, a rancher by the name of Henry Sitler built a three-room sod house.to oversee his cattle ranch, which quickly became a frequent stopping place for buffalo hunters and traders. It was on this site that Dodge City was founded the next year, 1872, just five miles west of Fort Dodge on the edge of the military reservation.

The first building was Sitler’s . It quickly became a trade center for travelers and Buffalo hunters, a transport station for cattlemen and grew to be a large and bustling community.
Built at what was the cross roads of American Pioneer history, it took part in the westward rush, the cattle barons and the old west, and that rich western heritage and hospitality is still very evident today in this bustling community of approximately 30,000.

Boot Hill Museum in a modern day Dodge City

Todays Dodge City is a bit different than what you might imagine, with an events center, a first rate night life as well as many outdoor adventures in close proximity, including several dude ranches.

Dodge City offers the perfect retreat, plenty of peace and quiet for a productive meeting, and the charm and excitement of the old west ready for you to relive them.

You’ll feel at home in Dodge City, just as the cowboys did in the 1870s.
Dodge was the wildest of the early frontier towns, but law and order was soon established with the help of men such as Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Bill Tilghman and those hardy fellows are remembered when you pay a visit to the museum that has kept old Dodge city alive for your enjoyment. Boot Hill Museum and Front Street has fun and education in store for you, as you step into the past. Pay a visit to Hardesty House, Long Branch Saloon, and visit Boot Hill Cemetery before you go to see those who lost their lives in old Dodge City. Be sure to check times for the Museum.

Boot Hill Museum, Inc.
Front Street • Dodge City, KS 67801
620-227-8188 • E-mail info@boothill.org

Once annually, you can take part, or witness one of the biggest horse spectacles in the US with the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race. The trail race is a 515 mile endurance ride completed over a 14 day period.

It is open to all breeds. This years race is beginning in Wagon Mound, New Mexico on August 31, 2008 and end in Council Grove, Kansas on September 13, 2008, the race runs the old Santa Fe Trail that was used by cattlemen and cowboys to bring their herds into the railway stations, as well as by the stagecoach and wagon trains.

For more information contact Rob Phillips at sfthorserace@aol.com.
Not far from Dodge City, you can take your own trip back in time with a visit to a real working ranch.

There is no better place to explore the legacy of the western frontier and a real ranch experience than at Sun Rock Ranch. 3,000 acres situated on the western edge of the Kansas Flint Hills, this authentic working horse and cattle ranch is a family owned operation that welcomes guests with an informal and friendly environment.

The ranch was built in 1877 near historic Fort Riley and Junction City. Junction City was founded in 1859 at the junction of two rivers by a culturally diverse group of settlers. Fort Riley was founded in 1852 in “Indian Territory” to provide military protection from Indian raids for emigrating pioneers and settlers. The 10th Calvary Buffalo soldiers and the 7th Calvary were among those troops trained and stationed here before being dispatched to the frontier west. You can enjoy a real “old west” vacation here and get out of the rat race. Contact the Ranch


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