Saturday, January 1, 2011
Here's Front Street in Dodge City, looking down from Boot Hill. There were actually two Front Streets, one north of the tracks and another south. The tracks were the "deadline," and no guns were allowed north of the line. South of the line, however, anything went -- and often did. Popular interest in Dodge City's past can primarily be attributed to Hollywood, for the 1939 film starring Errol Flynn and the long-running "Gunsmoke" series on television. This (North) Front Street was recreated in 1958, using property records and old photographs. it might have been interesting, however, had they recreated South Front Street instead. Known as the "wickedest little town in America," Dodge City was fueled by the cattle and buffalo trade and roared from 1872 to 1880. The river of legal alcohol stopped when Kansas went dry in 1881; a few years later, the cattle also had stopped coming, the railhead having moved on. The buffalo were close to extinction by that time as well.