Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 19. Dodge City. Boot Hill Cemetery And Front Street.

Welcome to Dodge City, Kansas,
fittingly called the "Wickedest Little City in America,
"Cowboy Capital of the World,"
"Queen of Cowtowns," and the "Bibulous Babylon of the Frontier."

During the late 1800s,
Dodge City was wide open.
Its infamous Front Street 
was one of the wildest on the frontier,
with one well-stocked saloon for every 20 citizens.
My kind of town.

Cattlemen, mule skinners, buffalo hunters,
soldiers, settlers, gunfighters, and railroad men
thronged the streets,
much to the delight and profit
of card sharks, saloon owners, brothel keepers, and morticians.
Dodge City was the wildest of the early frontier towns,
but law and order was established
with the help of Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp.

Dodge City began as a stopover on the Santa Fe Trail.
By the 1870s, the town was a station on the railroad.
Buffalo hunting was intense in the area,
and the trading of buffalo meat, hides, and ultimately bones
brought considerable wealth to the town.
By the time the buffaloes had become nearly extinct,
herds of Texas cattle had become the primary source of income,
and Dodge City became one of the largest cattle markets in the country.
To this day, Dodge City remains a major cattle-shipping point
and serves as a supply and trade center for a large wheat-growing region.

A look at the city's early days
is provided by a mural by artist Stan Herd
that adorns the facade on the Bank of America building.
Stan Herd, a Kansas native,
is the world's preeminent representational earthwork artist, 
creating art by digging, disking, mowing, plowing,
  sometimes burning, and otherwise
manipulating acres of green space.
His canvas is the great outdoors -
crop art - literally a farmer's field.
Crop fields are the canvases for his art.

Boot Hill and Front Street
are on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery.
There's Boot Hill Museum, 
dedicated to the preservation of the history of Dodge City,
and containing thousands of original historic artifacts
depicting life in 1870s Dodge City.
Although other towns use the name "Boot Hill,"
(Tombstone, AZ. and Deadwood, SD)
the graveyard in Dodge City was first
to be named Boot Hill.
The name alludes to the fact
that many of its occupants were cowboys
who died with their boots on,
the implication being they died not of natural causes,
but violently, by gunfights or hanging.

This is the highest point in Dodge City
and the original location of Boot Hill Cemetery.
It was also a lookout point -
a point to observe wild game -
herds of buffalo, antelope, deer, elk, wild horses,
every species of waterfowl know to this country, and
countless numbers of turkey, wolves, and coyotes -
and to detect enemies, which were ever present.

This is the original Dodge City jail.

And it's tiny.
There's a hole in the floor in the back
for its occupants' convenience.

J.M. Essington
November, 1872
Essington was a carpenter and owner of the
Essington Hotel.
"While drunk and in a fuss,
he was shot and killed instantly by the cook."
The new owners soon changed
the hotel's name to the Dodge House.

J. M. Essington

Barney Cullen
January 17, 1873
Barney was with Ed Hurley when he was
shot and killed.
He was an employee of the Railroad.

Barney Cullen.

Charles Whedon
September 10, 1876
"A buffalo hunter died from a gunshot wound in the breast."
September 16, 1876-
Dodge City Times

Charles Whedon.

Steve O'Hara
Dead Eye Steve O'Hara was killed.
Red Eye ruined his dead eye
and he was killed in a fair fight.

Lizzie Palmer
A dance hall girl,
she died from an infected scalp wound
incurred during a bar room brawl.
The cowboys voted to give her a funeral.
One minister refused to conduct the funeral,
but another preacher in Dodge agreed to perform
the service and was given a payment by the cowboys.

Lizzie Palmer

William Ellis
July, 1873
He was shot by a bartender while attempting to take
a lady of questionable character into the bar at the Dodge House.
"Another horrible murder took place at Dodge City
last Sunday night.  A man by the name of Ellis
was shot by bartender David Burrell.
Burrell was also shot.
Ellis died immediately
and the bartender also died."
July 20, 1873 - Wichita Eagle

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