"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Dodge City & The Dalton Gang's Hideout - Kansas

Montezuma, Kansas
Prairie Wind RV Park


Steve is a big fan of western history and tv shows, especially Gunsmoke.  I planned this stop just for him.  The next 3 days kept us very busy.
Prairie Wind is owned by the town of Montezuma.  It's the perfect campground layout.  There are five 100 foot diagonal pullthrough sites with full hookups for $20.  There are even two tornado shelters to the rear of the sites. 
We had site #4.
Across the road the trucks were busy filling with grain.

There was much we wanted to do in Dodge City.  Our first stop on our loop was The Teacher's Hall of Fame.  I'm not even sure why we stopped here as it didn't even get the best reviews.  Sorry to say it was pretty boring and I don't recommend it.  $8 for adults.
Oh ya, it had a Wax Museum of history.  Above is Billy the Kid.  Kind of cheesy.
It had a few fluorescent black velvet style pictures.
Poor Cole (second from left) is missing a hand. Guess it got lost somewhere?
And there were a few random horror figures thrown in.  I don't think Dracula was from Dodge City.
The lunch box collection was probably the most interesting.
Out back was a typical school house from the 1800s.  It was relocated here.
The highlight was Steve did get to ring the school bell on the way out.  They did a good job here but we'd skip it if we had to do it over.
Doc Holiday and Steve having a beer.
And Steve's favorite, James Arness, Matt Dillon, of Gunsmoke.
A drive outside of town brought us past some Longhorn steers and more informational pull-outs.
At this overlook you can see the Excel Corp feedlot/processing plant on the edge of town.  It is one of the worlds largest beef processing plants.  They process 6,000 head of cattle per day, six days a week.  Nearby is National Beef which is the worlds largest privately owned beef processing plants.  Together these two plants annually market enough beef to feed over 16 million people in one year.

The average 1,100 pound animal will yield about a 695 pound carcass of which 490 pounds will be edible meat.  The other beef by-products are made into pharmaceuticals, leather goods, cosmetics, animal feeds, fertilizers and other consumer goods.
That's a LOT of beef!
"El Capitan"
This statue in downtown commemorates the Texas Longhorn that gave Dodge City its place in history as the "Queen" of the Cowtowns.  The Longhorns are descendants of Spanish cattle brought to Mexico in the 16th century.  
Between 1875 and 1886 over 4 million head were driven up the trail to the Santa Fe Railhead in Dodge City.
The town of Dodge City itself is much larger than what I expected.  There is the quaint downtown that they are trying to keep alive with it's western look.  Sadly, many of the buildings are empty.  The front row has the museums, visitor center, steam engine and some statues.

The sidewalks have plaques on them with famous western stars, movies, etc that were from here. Like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  We walked around, visited a couple of museums then drove around the outskirts of town.
                                            "Wyatt Earp"

We hit up the Dodge City Brewing.  We were hoping for some food to go with it but all they had were brick oven pizzas and we just had pizza last night.  It did look and smell good though.  The beer was just ok per Steve.
Unfortunately there weren't many other places in the downtown area and all had poor recommendations.  At this point I was getting a little hangry as we had been doing a lot of walking in the heat so we chose the Central Station Bar & Grill along the rail yard.  We are still weary of eating indoors as of this post, as Covid had been ripping through the southern and mid-west states since we started through Arkansas.  They have a renovated caboose in the back and since it was off hours it was pretty empty.  True to the reviews, the service was slow, our orders were missing many key ingredients and the fries were cold. <sigh>  I would've been fine with KFC really, but we were hoping for some great, local BEEF!
There are some nice murals in town too.
We didn't make it to the Home of Stone yesterday before they closed so we started here today.  It is one of the few original limestone homes left standing.  It was built atop the hill in 1881 by German immigrants and is the oldest building on its original site.  Admission was $3.  It was a great way to see how folks lived back then in this part of the country.  There were many interesting, unique bits we learned too. 
The spiral staircase was made of walnut.
The gal that gave us the tour was great.  She answered all my many questions.  Almost all the furnishings are original to the house.  Only 2 families have lived here.

Since the plains were very dusty back then plates and cups were turned upside down to help keep them clean.

Since trees were scarce and there were plenty of buffalo and cow patties, that is what they used to heat with.  You can see an example of them in the bucket to the right above.

My favorite part of the home was the red glass in the front door.  I can't remember the story about it right now(!), but I'll update this when I get the info.

Next up was Fort Dodge.  Again, not what we had expected.  Fort Dodge was established to protect railroad workers and travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from the Plains Indians.  Today the fort is used as a retirement community and nursing facility for retired Kansas veterans.

It did have some old buildings and some informational signs. 
Officers quarters and Custer's home.
That was about it.  Just a quiet place for veterans now which is nice.
The local park had some items from 9/11 in a memorial Liberty Garden.  
Normally there would be water in the two pools but they were dry for some reason.
An original piece of limestone from the damaged face of the Pentagon.
A piece of steel from the World Trade Center at Ground Zero.
And a piece of rock donated from the crash site of Flight 93 at Shanksville, PA.
 1139, The Boot Hill Special

Way back then it hauled mostly cattle.  Funny to see several airplanes (without wings) being hauled now.
The Boot Hill Museum is fantastic and must do here.  $16 if you just want to see the museum and gunfight show.  If you want you can spend $35 and get the amazing dinner and Can-Can Show.  The dinner was delicious with local beef (finally).  The show was entertaining but still a bit, cheesy to me.  I'd skip it but the dinner was good.
The museum wanders through a winding path with great exhibits.  History, weapons, and fun.
Guns used for buffalo hunting.

We learned all about the Harvey Girls at La Posada Inn & rail yard in Winslow, AZ.  It's all about impeccable service.  And if you get to eat at the Turquoise Room there you'll see!

Some of the good guys and bad guys.
                 Hey, he looks familiar....
A cool chair made with buffalo horns.
Don't miss the western town replica out back as there are so many really neat things to see there.  There is also a place to get an ice cream and fudge while you wait for the gun show to start.

We had a drink at the Longbranch Saloon too.  There was a show being made called Small Town, Big Deal, and we watched them film for the segment.  It hasn't aired yet so I don't have a link to that one.
Reminded me of the Amityville Horror house.
I loved all the red brick roads.  So many different patterns in the brick.
Our final stop before heading out of Dodge, was the Boot Hill Distillery.  It's the behind the scenes stuff that makes this different from other distilleries.
The father/son owners use the grain grown from their fields in the area.  The younger generation is trying to go new directions with their whiskey.
The building sits on the original Boot Hill Cemetery.  From 1873 - 1878 many gunfighters and "soiled doves" were buried here.  In 1878 the bodies were moved and the first schoolhouse was built.  In 1927 the school was outgrown and taken down with the new building put up.

This was mine.
Overall Steve liked their whiskeys and tried some different ones too.
Well it was "Time to get outta Dodge!"
We left Montezuma, and Kansas, on our way to Colorado.  About a 1/2 hour down the road I planned another special stop for Steve.
The Dalton Gang Hideout is located south of Dodge City in Meade.  The entry fee is $5.  Eva Dalton Whipple was a sister of the infamous bank robbers in this tiny home.  There is a barn about 100 feet down the hill with a hidden tunnel that was dug between the two so the Gang could hideout then later make their escape out of town.
There is a small information center in the barn with plenty of history about the gang and some other artifacts of the time.
The original tunnel has since been made taller and reinforced and it was a strange feeling walking through it.
Classic Photobomb!!  It's not clear of any relation to the gang of the boy at the top of the photo peeking through the fence.  Just good timing!  I'll bet he got a good whoopin' for that.

The home is very small, but roomier than it looks from the outside.
A drawing of the house down to the barn with the tunnel location represented by the dotted line.

A detour made us miss the Worlds Largest Hairball in Garden City, Kansas.  Apparently the 55 pound hairball was found in the stomach of a slaughtered cow.  Maybe next time?!

Thanks for all the fun Kansas!


  1. I’m with you Steve…Gunsmoke and Bonanza too! Wish they would make westerns again. Those were interesting historical stops.
    Safe travels!

  2. Replies
    1. Love these little stops out in no-where’s-ville. We think if you when we pass slaughter houses 😄

  3. Sometimes you have to hunt for those hidden gems, looks like you found a few. I find it interesting to see how people lived back in the day. The gun collections look cool too!

    1. Some fun places. Loved the info with the Dustbowl timeframe.


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