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Old West Calendar

Old West Towns




Old West Towns
Many, if not most, old west towns had gambling, girls and whiskey. A few stood out above all the rest. Towns like that " Wicked Little Town"

Dodge City is a wicked little town. Indeed, its character is so clearly and egregiously bad that one might conclude, were the evidence in the later times positive of its possibility, that it was marked for special Providential punishment.”-From a writer to the
Evening Star in 1878

Fort Dodge was established in 1859 on the Santa Fe Trail in order to offer protection from marauding indians to wagon trains and the US Postal Service. It also served as supply base for soldiers engaged in the Indian Wars. In 1871, a rancher by the name of Henry L. Stiller built a sod house five miles west of the fort to oversee his cattle operations. Stiller's house was conveniently located near both the Santa Fe Trail and the Arkansas River and quickly became a stopping point for buffalo hunters and travelers.

The Santa Fe Railroad railroad was quickly approaching the area so a group of businessmen came together in August of 1872 and organized the Dodge City Town Company. George M. Hoover built the first business, which was a bar made of sod and board that serviced thirsty soldiers. A month later, in September, the Railroad hit Dodge City and a mass of hastily built structures exploded around town. Among the new businesses were a host of party casinos and dance halls.


Dodge City was the buffalo capital of the West and huge stacks of buffalo hides towered on Front Street. Filthy buffalo hunters flooded the establishments and the locals coined the term “stinker” to describe these men.


Soldiers on leave and cowboys fresh off the trail tended to be a rowdy bunch, especially after spending their hard earned money at the drinking houses. The newly established town initially didn't have any law enforcement. The volatile combination of drunken cowboys and no lawmen caused the city to explode in violence. So many men were gunned down with their boots on that the city's burial place was named “Boot Hill Cemetery”


In the late 1800's, Dodge City was so renown for it's lawlessness and debauchery that it gave birth to the expression “Red Light District”. In order to combat the rising tides of chaos, famous lawmen like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were called in to restore order to the lawless town. These lawmen were busy the most in the summer months when an influx of cowboys, gamblers, and prostitutes caused the City's population to swell.

Today, Dodge City is home to around 30,000 people and multitudes of tourists are drawn every year to visit the town's legendary and historic locations.