Mid-America Road Trips-Cowtowns and Gunfighters
There have been a number of postings through the months asking about road trip ideas in mid-America. For about a dozen years, from the late 1860's until railroads were well established further south, several Kansas towns were the terminus (termini?) for the famous Texas cattle drives. In the process everyone from cowboys to marshals, cattle buyers to ladies of the night, gave birth to legends that survive today. Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Bill Tilghman, Miss Kitty (appropriately sanitized for television), and a host of other more or less famous names first made their reputations in these Kansas cattle towns. To one degree or another, each of these towns have preserved and honor those wild days of the frontier. All have various tourist oriented attractions and a few have museums and research libraries for more serious scholars. There were several trails that ended at these towns. The westernmost came up from Texas and ended at Dodge City. The next trail east ended in Ellsworth. The easternmost trail actually had several such towns along its path. These include,coming from the south: Caldwell, Wichita, Newton, and Abilene. Visits to any or all of them illustrate a fascinating era in our history and have the added benefit of being great fun. There is even a web site dedicated to them from which you can get more information. It's at www.KansasCattleTowns.com. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for the Kansas "Cow Town" information and insights. My husband and I are driving to Kansas and across Kansas next week! I am very interesting in the history of the state and will certainly visit many museums.