Friday, July 30, 2010

Dodge City, Kansas, Part II

As stated in our previous post, there was more to see in Dodge City.

After we left the museum, we made our way to Front Street, which is a replica of Dodge City in the late 1800s.

To include the famous Long Branch Saloon

We strolled from shop to shop.  When we walked through the doors of each, it was surprising what we found.   Again, the inside appeared to grow and there was more historical information to review. 

There was a replica of the first bank in Dodge City

There was a display of caretaker's supplies from that era, which was sort of eerie.


Instruments from the Cowboy Band

The band led parades on the 4th of July, played in funeral processions, entertained at the openings of saloons and flour mills and serenaded on Election Day.  Members of the Cowboy Band dressed in leather chaps, boots, spurs, bandannas and cowboy hats.  They each packed an ivory handled six-shooter.  In order to support themselves, area ranchers and cattlemen purchased a member of the band.  Each band member would then decorate their hat with a longhorn steer, with the selected cattle brand prominently displayed in the center.  The highlight of the Cowboy Band was when they were asked to appear at the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison in 1889.  Shortly afterward, they disbanded and all their uniforms and instruments were sold.

There were guns used by gunslingers

And guns used by law men

One thing I found interesting was the creativity of the ladies in that day.  Women kept what was called "hair receivers" on their dressers where they would place hair from their hairbrushes.  They would then use the hair to make ornaments and mementos for loved ones and braided and woven wreaths such as this one:

It's difficult to believe that the above wreath was made from braided, woven hair.

We were allowed to walk through the Hardesty House.  

The architecture of the Hardesty House was that of the Gothic Revival style home.  It had steep gables, arched windows and decorative board trim.  The home was deemed very modern in 1879 and 1880 in Dodge City.

Each room was surrounded by plexiglass as a means of preserving the room and the furnishings.  

The kitchen
The bathroom but no indoor plumbing -- can you imagine bathing in that yellow tub?  

The parlor

Due to the condition of the stair case, no one was allowed upstairs.

The last bit of history we explored was the First Union Church. 

The interdenominational church was built in 1974 or 1975 and cost $1000 to construct and held 100 worshipers.  The Union Church used circuit preachers and hosted a wide variety of community functions.  Dodge City had a reputation in its early days of being a place so wild and sinful that even God did not venture into her city limits.  The Reverend Ormond W. Wright sought to change that when he went to Front Street saloons and gambling houses to solicit funds to maintain this church as a place where cowboys and settlers could join together to practice their faith in Christ.

Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were deacons of this new church.  The Union Church was the first building constructed in Dodge City dedicated to the practice of religion.  With the construction of this building began the taming of the "wickedest little city in America." 

Following our tour of Boot Hill and Front Street, we were ready to eat.  We made our way to the Occident Saloon where we experienced a chuck wagon style dinner.

We feasted on BBQ brisket, potatoes with onions, cream-style corn, cole slaw, made-from-scratch biscuits with butter and honey and for dessert -- warm apple crisp -- YUM!

The proprietor of the Occident Saloon was also the cook and helped serve the food.  She also visited with each table, talking to everyone.  She gave me the recipe for the apple crisp -- it included a pound of butter -- YIKES -- but it was really, really good.

When we left, we were so full we could hardly move -- however, we did NOT want to miss the reenactment of the gunfight, just like those once held on Front Street in Dodge City.

The town drunk

The good guys

And the bad boys

Alan videotaped the actual gunfight, so I don't have a picture of the gunslingers and the law men lying on the ground after the gun fight.

The last thing on our agenda was a show at the Long Branch Saloon, that featured Ms. Kitty:

And her can-can girls

The entire cast

 The audience joined in, in singing some old songs, like "My Darlin' Clementine" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad." 

As we pulled away from Boot Hill and Front Street, we took one final picture of the entrance.


As we left town the next morning, we crossed the Arkansas River, but it looked much different than the Arkansas River we are used to seeing in Little Rock.  This Arkansas River was dry -- very dry.

We enjoyed our day in Dodge City, Kansas, and we certainly learned a lot about the "wickedest little town in America" during the 1800-1900s.

As we continue on our journey, we thank God every day for the opportunity we have to visit such places as Dodge City.  There is much more to see and more to learn about our great USA, so stay tuned. 

In the meantime, may God continue to bless our voyage and may God bless our family and friends everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. What a great adventure you had in Dodge City...looking forward to our own visit someday.