To preserve the history of Dodge City, a museum was founded. The Boot Hill Museum was opened in 1947. There are seven exhibits at the museum based on the old west. Boot Hill is part of Front Street. Along Front Street are old west style buildings, which are part of the museum. There is a city Drug Store, Saloon, General Outfitting Store, and much more. Each year they have a Chuck Wagon Dinner during summer, Gunfighters, and a variety show.
Long Branch Saloon was purchased in 1878 by Chakley Beeson and William Harris. The original building was destroyed in a fire in 1885. The building that is part of the museum today replaced the original. Historic photographs were used to ensure the replica would be similar. A two piece bar sits inside which was built in 1881 by the Brunswick Corporation. It is made of cherry wood. At the back of the bar sit two Golden Eagles which belonged to Chakley. These eagles are stuffed and both are 100 years old. The law states it is illegal for anyone to own eagles unless they are Native American or a museum that acquired them before the 1940's. So that makes these two rather unique.
Another exhibit at the Boot Hill Museum is the Nomadic Indians display. The display examines the lives of these Native Americans. The nomads moved with the buffalo herds because they used the meat and the skin. The skin was used for clothing, tipis, and saddles. Sometimes they even made other items out of the skin. The clothing at the museum is reproduced with accurate beading and even medicine bags.
As mentioned the buffalo were important to the Native American way of life for some tribes. The buffalo has had a difficult past. There was a near destruction of the species with over hunting, especially by those who would not use the entire buffalo. Information regarding the history of the buffalo, artifacts, and even the hide are on display. A prairie dog and rattle snake are also in this part of the museum.
Guns that Won the West is an exhibit about the different guns used in the Old West. Rifles, flints, and pistols are all part of the display. Much of the collection has been donated, even a rare Winchester advertisement that is in perfect condition. The Gambler is an important person of the Old West History. Guns, derringers, and pocket pistols make up the collection of the Gambler.
The museum was actually built on the site for the Boot Hill Cemetery. When Dodge City expanded it is believed the cemetery was moved, though it was only open for six years. Jack Reynolds, JM Essington, Charles Hill, and Ed Williams were said to be buried in the cemetery.
In 1874 a Union Church was built. At the museum is a replica of the First Union Church. Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were deacons of the church. At the time the church was built it cost $1000.