DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The KSN Summer Road Trip was in Dodge City on Monday. The KSN News team was live on KSN News at Noon by the El Capitan Statue at 510 N. Second Avenue. Then, the crew moved to Boot Hill Museum during the show.
Dodge City is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. A good time to be there will be during the annual Dodge City Days Celebration, July 28-Aug. 7.
The town has a population of 27,788. It is the county seat of Ford County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Dodge City is $52,654.
Dodge City is among the most famous city names in Kansas, reminding visitors about Kansas’ Wild West history.
Before it was settled, the area was home to Kiowa, Cheyenne and other Plains tribes. Then came wagon trains full of settlers along the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Dodge was built in 1865 to help protect the wagon trains.
In 1871, a ranger built a sod house five miles from the fort. Buffalo hunters and traders would frequently stop at the home. It became the first building in the town of Dodge City, founded one year later. With the railroad’s arrival, more businesses came, including stores, a dance hall, and a saloon next to the sod house.
But Dodge City did not have law enforcement. Fights between soldiers, railroad workers, buffalo hunters and others would lead to shootings. Men would die with their boots on. That is why the cemetery became known as Boot Hill.
The town eventually hired law officers, and their names became famous – Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Bill Tilghman, and Charlie Bassett.
Their legacy and that of the cattle drives became fodder for the entertainment industry. Movies, books and television shows inspire thousands of people every year to visit the Boot Hill Museum and Front Street, where you can find live reenactments. But, before they get to the museum, they will see the El Capitan Longhorn statue commemorating the 1875-1885 cattle drives to Dodge City.
Present-day Dodge City provides economic and entertainment options for many in southwest Kansas. The livestock industry provides many jobs for those in the community. In addition, one of four state-owned casinos is in Dodge City, the Boot Hill Casino.
While in Dodge City, KSN News stopped by the Home of Stone. It was built of native limestone in 1881. It is the oldest house still on its original foundation in the town. There are a couple of older ones, but they have been moved to different locations.
We also visited the Dodge City Trail of Fame, Dodge City’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It commemorates Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and other famous and infamous, fictional and non-fictional residents and visitors.
Dodge City also has the Liberty Garden, a memorial to 9/11. The town was the first in Kansas to receive a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. The memorial also has limestone from the Pentagon and sandstone from Pennsylvania.
Things to do in Dodge City:
- Visitor Information Center, 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd.
- Fort Dodge
- Dodge City Days – July 28-August 7
- Boot Hill Museum
- Boot Hill Casino and Resort
- 3i Show
- Dodge City Raceway Park
- Dodge City Roundup Rodeo – in August
- Wright Park Zoo
- Santa Fe Trail
- Main Street Dodge City
- Long Branch Lagoon Water Park
- Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame
- Liberty Garden
- Historic Trolley Tours
- Historic Dodge City Walking Tour
- Gunfighters Wax Museum
- Ford County Legacy Center
- Depot Theater
- Dodge City Trail of Fame
Community & Government: