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Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City's history began with the establishment of Fort Dodge in 1865. The fort was an active military post until 1882. Its purpose was to protect wagon rains on the Santa Fe Trail and to serve as a supply base for troops involved in Indian wars to the south. Fort Dodge has been a Kansas State Soldier's Home since 1889.

Dodge City was founded in 1872 just west of the military reservation. It quickly became a trade center fro buffalo hunters and travelers. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad reached Dodge City in September of 1872 and the town's continued existence was assured. For the first few years there was no local law enforcement and the military had no jurisdiction over the town, so lawlessness reigned. Arguments between buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters and soldiers quickly led to shootings and created a need for a local burial ground -- Boot Hill Cemetery.

The buffalo were gone by 1876, but a new source of revenue for Dodge City soon came in the form of Longhorn cattle from Texas. During the next ten years, over five million head were driven up the western branch of the Chisholm Trail and the Western Trail to Dodge City. Cowboys from the cattle drives, many of whom were former Confederate soldiers, and the soldiers from Fort Dodge were kept away from each other and from the respectable people of Dodge City by such peace officers as Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Bill Tilghman, Charlie Basset and others. Today the beef cattle industry is still vitally important to the town's economy.

In 1874 a hardy winter wheat called "Turkey Red" was introduced into Kansas which quickly turned most of the state from grazing land to crop land. As the town grew, the "wild west" slowly disappeared. Boot Hill was gone by 1880, in 1882 the fort was closed and in 1885 the cattle drives stopped. An illustrious period of history was over but the legend lives on in Dodge City's historic preservation of its romantic and internationally famous past.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Santa FeTrail Tracks

Tracks of the original wagon trail used by pioneers from 1821 to 1872 are located nine miles west of town. This site, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, contains the largest continuous stretch of clearly defined tracks along the entire route of the trail.

Dodge City, KS Landmarks

"El Capitan"

A bronze statue by Jasper D'Ambrosi commemorates the 1875 - 1885 Texas cattle drives to Dodge City. The sculpture represents longhorns who emerged as leaders and led many drives up the dusty trail from Texas. Coronado'

Dodge City, KS Monuments

Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge was established April 10, 1865 by Captain Henry Pierce, 11th Kansas Cavalry, by order of Major General Grenville M. Dodge, commanding the department. Although there is some doubt, the post was probably named for Colonel Henry Dodge, 1st U. S. Dragoons.

Dodge City, KS Forts

Coronado Cross

The Coronado Cross stands 38' tall, marking the spot where Francisco Vasques de Coronado, a Spanish explorer, is said to have crossed the Arkansas River in search of the fabled "Cities of Gold" in 1541. When he arrived on June 29, 1541

Dodge City, KS Monuments

Dodge City Trolley

Learn Dodge City's history and folklore on a narrated tour of sites where history was made. Visit original locations of the Longbranch Saloon, Gospel Hill, the "deadline" and Front Street where "shoot outs" occurred in the early days of Dodge City. Tour Fort Dodge and see the Fort's 1860

Dodge City, KS Tours

Things to do near Dodge City, KS

Clear Lake

When the wagon trains turned south at Chouteau's Island from the Santa Fe Trail, to go down to the Cimarron River at Wagon Be...