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City of Dodge City
"The Wicked Little City"
Dodge City is an important center for meat packing.
Country United States
State Kansas
County Ford
Elevation 2,550 ft (777.2 m)
Coordinates 37°45′35″N 100°01′06″W / 37.75972°N 100.01833°W / 37.75972; -100.01833
Area 12.7 sq mi (32.9 km2)
 - land 12.6 sq mi (33 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 0.79%
Population 26,678 (2008)
Density 2,069 /sq mi (798.8 /km2)
Founded 1872
Mayor Kent Smoll[1]
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 620
Named after Colonel Richard Irving Dodge
Location of Dodge City in Kansas
Location of Kansas in the United States

Dodge City is a city in and the county seat of Ford County, Kansas, USA. It was named after Colonel Richard Irving Dodge.[2][3] The population was 25,176 at the 2000 census. The city's name is well known to generations of Americans, as the long-running old-time radio and television Western drama program Gunsmoke was set in Dodge City.





Buffalo Hunter Ralph Morrison who was killed and scalped December 7, 1868 near Fort Dodge Kansas by Cheyennes. A Lt Reade of the 3rd Infantry and Chief of Scouts John O. Austin in background. Photograph by William S. Soule. An original print and story can be found here at [4]

The first settlement in the area that became Dodge City was Fort Mann. Built by civilians in 1847, Fort Mann was intended to provide protection for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Mann collapsed in 1848 after an Indian attack. In 1850, the U.S. Army arrived to provide protection in the region and constructed Fort Atkinson on the old Fort Mann site. The army abandoned Fort Atkinson in 1853. Military forces on the Santa Fe Trail were reestablished further north and east at Fort Larned in 1859, but the area around what would become Dodge City remained vacant until after the Civil War. In 1865, as the Indian Wars in the West began heating up, the army constructed Fort Dodge to assist Fort Larned in providing protection on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Dodge remained in operation until 1882.

The town of Dodge City can trace its origins to 1871 when rancher Henry J. Sitler built a sod house west of Fort Dodge to oversee his cattle operations in the region. Conveniently located near the Santa Fe Trail and Arkansas River, Sitler's house quickly became a stopping point for travelers. With the Santa Fe Railroad rapidly approaching from the east, others saw the commercial potential of the region. In 1872, just five miles (8 km) west of Fort Dodge, settlers platted out and founded the town of Dodge City. George M. Hoover established the first bar in a tent to service thirsty soldiers from Fort Dodge. The railroad arrived in September to find a town ready and waiting for business. The early settlers in Dodge City traded in buffalo bones and hides and provided a civilian community for Fort Dodge. However, with the arrival of the railroad, Dodge City soon became involved in the cattle trade.

Cattle trade

Deputies Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp in Dodge City, 1876. The scroll on Earp's chest is a cloth pin-on badge

The idea of driving Texas longhorn cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas originated in the late 1850s[citation needed] but was cut short by the Civil War. In 1866, the first Texas cattle started arriving in Baxter Springs in southeastern Kansas by way of the Shawnee Trail. However, Texas longhorn cattle carried a tick that spread splenic fever among other breeds of cattle. Known locally as Texas Fever, alarmed Kansas farmers persuaded the Kansas State Legislature to establish a quarantine line in central Kansas. The quarantine prohibited Texas longhorns from the heavily settled, eastern portion of the state.

With the cattle trade forced west, Texas longhorns began moving north along the Chisholm Trail. In 1867, the main Cow Town was Abilene, Kansas. Profits were high, and other towns quickly joined in the cattle boom. Newton in 1871; Ellsworth in 1872; and Wichita in 1872. However, in 1876 the Kansas State Legislature responded to pressure from farmers settling in central Kansas and once again shifted the quarantine line westward, which essentially eliminated Abilene and the other Cow Towns from the cattle trade. With no place else to go, Dodge City suddenly became Queen of the Cow Towns.

A monument to the days of the great cattle drives stands in downtown Dodge City.
Hangman's tree at Dodge City western exhibit downtown; photo taken in 1959.
Graves at Boot Hill in Dodge City, including Kid Galvin and Pecos Joe Bates

A new route, known as the Great Western Cattle Trail, or Western Trail, branched off from the Chisholm Trail to lead cattle into Dodge City. Dodge City became a boomtown, with thousands of cattle passing annually through its stockyards. The peak years of the cattle trade in Dodge City were from 1883 to 1884, and during that time the town grew tremendously. In 1880, Dodge City got a new competitor for the cattle trade from the border town of Caldwell. For a few years the competition between the towns was fierce, but there were enough cattle for both towns to prosper. Nevertheless, it was Dodge City that became famous, and rightly so because no town could match Dodge City's reputation as a true frontier settlement of the Old West. Dodge City had more famous (and infamous) gunfighters working at one time or another than any other town in the West, many of whom participated in the Dodge City War of 1883. It also boasted the usual array of saloons, gambling halls, and brothels established to separate a lonely cowboy from his hard-earned cash, including the famous Long Branch Saloon and China Doll brothel. For a time in 1884, Dodge City even had a bullfighting ring where Mexican bullfighters imported from Mexico would put on a show with specially chosen longhorn bulls.

As more agricultural settlers moved into western Kansas, pressure on the Kansas State Legislature to do something about splenic fever increased. Consequently, in 1885 the quarantine line was extended across the state and the Western Trail was all but shut down. By 1886, the cowboys, saloon keepers, gamblers, and brothel owners moved west to greener pastures, and Dodge City became a sleepy little town much like other communities in western Kansas.


Dodge City is located at 37°45′35″N 100°1′6″W / 37.75972°N 100.01833°W / 37.75972; -100.01833 on the High Plains in southwestern Kansas.[5] The Arkansas River flows east through the city. Dodge City lies above the world’s largest underground water system, the Ogallala Aquifer, and is only 25 miles (40 km) from the eastern edge of the Hugoton Natural Gas Area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.7 square miles (32.9 km²), of which 12.6 square miles (32.7 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) (0.86%) is water.


Dodge City falls in the temperate semi-arid climate zone (Koppen BSk) with hot summers and highly variable winters with both warm and very cold periods, and low to moderate humidity and precipitation throughout the year. It also tops the list of windiest U.S. cities with an average speed of 13.9 mph (22.4 km/h), which results in occasional blizzards in the winter, even when snowfall is light.[6] Severe weather, including tornadoes, is also common in the area especially in the spring months.

Climate data for Dodge City, Kansas, USA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 41
Average low °F (°C) 19
Record low °F (°C) -20
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.62
Source: The Weather Channel[7] 23 Nov 2009


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 996
1890 1,763 77.0%
1900 1,942 10.2%
1910 3,214 65.5%
1920 5,061 57.5%
1930 10,059 98.8%
1940 8,487 −15.6%
1950 11,262 32.7%
1960 13,520 20.0%
1970 14,127 4.5%
1980 18,001 27.4%
1990 21,129 17.4%
2000 25,176 19.2%

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 25,176 people, 8,395 households, and 5,968 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,995.8 people per square mile (770.9/km²). There were 8,976 housing units at an average density of 711.6/sq mi (274.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.43% White, 1.94% African American, 0.69% Native American, 2.37% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 20.82% from other races, and 2.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 42.87% of the population.

There were 8,395 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.1% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.46.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.2% under the age of 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 16.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 106.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,156, and the median income for a family was $41,672. Males had a median income of $26,881 versus $22,064 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,538. About 11.1% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.


The elementary and high school population is served by the Dodge City Public Schools district.

Dodge City Community College serves first and second year college students, and the community at large. The campus, which encompasses a lake and jogging trail, sits on 145 acres (0.59 km2) in northwest Dodge City. It boasts an online student newspaper, a television station, an astronomy center with two telescopes, an electron microscope, and the third largest athletic training room in the state of Kansas. It is the only college or university in the state of Kansas operating both FM and AM radio stations. Enrollment is approximately 2,000 students each semester.







Frequency Callsign[12] Format[13] City of License Notes
1370 KGNO Talk Dodge City, Kansas -
1550 KDCC Variety Dodge City, Kansas DCCC college radio


Frequency Callsign[14] Format[13] City of License Notes
89.9 KAIG Contemporary Christian Dodge City, Kansas Air 1
91.9 KONQ Variety Dodge City, Kansas DCCC college radio
92.9 K225AG Public Dodge City, Kansas NPR; Translator of KANZ, Garden City, Kansas[15]
92.9 KMML Regional Mexican Cimarron, Kansas Broadcasts from Dodge City
93.9 KZRD Classic rock Dodge City, Kansas -
95.5 KAHE Adult Contemporary Dodge City, Kansas -
96.3 KERP Country Ingalls, Kansas Broadcasts from Dodge City
102.1 KODC-LP Christian Dodge City, Kansas -


Digital Channel Analog Channel Callsign[16] Network City of License Notes
6 - KBSD-DT CBS Ensign, Kansas Broadcasts from Dodge City; Satellite of KWCH-DT, Wichita, Kansas
21 - KDCK PBS Dodge City, Kansas Satellite of KOOD, Bunker Hill, Kansas
- 29 KSAS-LP Fox Dodge City, Kansas Translator of KSAS-TV, Wichita, Kansas
- 43 K43HN TBN Dodge City, Kansas -


Points of interest

Today, Dodge City maintains part of its downtown as a tourist attraction.

Santa Fe Trail Remains (also known as Santa Fe Trail Ruts), located nine miles (14 km) west of Dodge City on US 50, is a two-mile (3 km) section of the former 1,200-mile (1,900 km) long Santa Fe Trail that is the "longest continuous stretch of clearly defined Santa Fe Trail rut remains in Kansas." It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963. There are other sections of Santa Fe Trail ruts that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Boot Hill Casino & Resort The 19th century buildings of historic Front Street were demolished in an "urban renewal" project in 1970.


Dodge City has a minor-league basketball team, the Dodge City Legend. The Legend is a member of the United States Basketball League (USBL). The Legend have won three championship titles in the USBL.

From 1970 to 1980, the annual Boot Hill Bowl post-season college football game was played in Dodge City. The bowl was sanctioned by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and featured schools such as Washburn University and Emporia State University. The last game was played on November 21, 1980.[17]

In popular culture

  • One of the downtown streets in present-day Dodge City is called Gunsmoke Street, so named because of Dodge City's serving as the setting of the long-running television western Gunsmoke.
  • Dodge City is featured in the computer game Gun.

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^
  2. ^ Wright, Robert M. Dodge City, The Cowboy Capital, 1913.
  3. ^ Schmidt, Heinie, Fort Dodge State Soldiers' Home, High Plains Journal, January 15, 1948.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Average weather for Dodge City, Kansas". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "About this Newspaper: The Dodge City daily globe". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  10. ^ "About this Newspaper: The High Plains journal". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  11. ^ "About this Newspaper: The Southwest Kansas register". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  12. ^ "AMQ AM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  13. ^ a b "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  14. ^ "FMQ FM Radio Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  15. ^ "HPPR Signal Map". High Plains Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  16. ^ "TVQ TV Database Query". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  17. ^ Games


  • Dykstra, Robert R. The Cattle Towns. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968. ISBN 0-8032-6561-1
  • Miner, Craig. West of Wichita: Settling the High Plains of Kansas, 1865-1890. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988. ISBN 0-7006-0364-6
  • Vestal, Stanley. Dodge City: Queen of Cowtowns: "the Wickedest Little City in America" 1872-1886. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8032-9617-7

External links


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