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Original gravestones of Caldwell's gunslingers and first settlers located in a special area in the Caldwell Cemetery. Historical marker tells the story.
Our C.W. Parker Carousel was built in 1901, complete with hand-carved horses, is our pride and joy at the Dickinson County Heritage Center.
C.W. Parker's fascination with carousels first began when he came across one while on a walk with his young daughter. After purchasing multiple rides for her, Parker decided the amusement business would be a good venture for him. Parker bought his first carousel soon after, and later decided to try to improve the design by building his own. Thus the C.W. Parker Amusement Company began.
Our 1901 carousel was manufactured here in Abilene, Kansas and originated as a traveling carnival ride. It was sold to Tom Knight, a drive-in movie theater owner in Riverton, Wyoming. When Knight's health declined and forced him to close, the Dickinson County Historical Society was contacted to purchase and bring the carousel back home to Abilene. After ten years and many volunteer hours, the carousel became fully restored and was named a National Historic Landmark. It is one of only twelve National Historic Carousels in the United States.
Every year thousands of people enjoy a ride on the carousel which comes with a replica ticket souvenir.
Caldwell “The Border Queen” – Caldwell, KS
Business Genre: Attractions, Community Information, Family Fun, Lodging, Specialty Shopping
Short Description: Caldwell is located on the Kansas-Oklahoma border and served as the first sign of relief and refreshment on the long drive up the dusty, treacherous Chisholm Trail from Texas through then Indian Territory. Established in 1871, the town took on all the elements of a lawless frontier settlement as it catered to the many cowboys who passed by with their large cattle herds on their way to Abilene, giving the town its nickname, the “Border Queen.”
Long Business Description:
Welcome to Caldwell, the “Border Queen” and a true child of the Chisholm Trail, born due to her location on the trail. Though established in 1871 by opportunity-seeking Wichita businessmen to set up shop on the border of Indian Territory, there was a general store/dance hall on the bluffs south of town in 1869 called The First Chance/Last Chance Saloon for the weary cowboy after months of driving the Chisholm Trail from Texas. “First Chance” for thirsty young cowboys heading north, but “Last Chance” for liquor and supplies for those same cowboys heading back south through Indian Territory.
True grit formed this trail town, with 4 murders, 2 lynchings, and a classic gunfight in its first year. By year 3, they were trying out their 9th marshal, only to quickly need a 10th. It remained little more than a trading post until the Santa Fe Railroad extended its line to Caldwell in 1879. This rail restored the idle Chisholm Trail back to its glory days, bringing more than a million longhorns thru town. During its reckless cowtown period between 1879 and 1885, Caldwell boasted a higher murder rate and loss of more law enforcement officers than other more famous cowtowns. Life was rough, but a glorious place for villains and desperados to escape to lawless Indian Territory. As you can imagine, it provided a place for young cowboys to go wild after long months on the trail, sampling the 14 saloons, brothels, and gambling dens to see if they could make it out alive!
Gunfights, showdowns, general hell raising and hangings soon became commonplace. Finally a glimmer of hope arrived in 1882; Henry Brown saved the day, becoming our marshal after riding with Billy the Kid, acquiring skills to wrangle a rustler and unarm a gun slinging drunkard. Peace was kept until he rode west to Medicine Lodge with his deputy Ben Wheeler and two others, attempting to rob their bank. After killing two bank employees, they rode away unsuccessful and with no cash. After their capture by a posse, later in the night, Brown was shot by a raging mob that broke into the jail, and Wheeler was shot AND hung to die. Talk about making a statement!
Caldwell settled down until 1893 when Congress opened the Cherokee Outlet south for settlement. Soon, the town was filled with thousands of land hungry pioneers preparing for the last great land rush in America. At high noon on Sept 16, 1893, 15,000 people gathered in Caldwell, awaiting the cavalry soldiers’ gunshots to start the mad rush for land. Today, it’s a quiet agricultural community of 1,100 settlers with an Opera House, museum, silhouettes on the southern bluffs, and historical walking tour signs to guide you through our raucous youth. The Chisholm Trail is celebrated every first weekend in May where we relive our Wild West days with pub crawling, ghost tours, gambling parlors, gunfights, saloon girls, and opera house shows.
Welcome to town! We’re friendlier now.
The Clearwater Historical Society was started in 1979. It took ten years of fundraising to complete the museum in November 1990. Within 6 years nearly 8,000 items were placed in the museum.
In the original part of the museum a "house" was created, which has 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, bath, dining room, and parlor. There are many other attractions such as: the Military Room, Summer Kitchen, Laundry Room, School Room, Doctor/Dentist Office, and General Store.
The museum is equipped with restrooms, excellent lighting, air conditioning, and heating. It is handicap accessible. The museum is a great place to come and visit, and is open on Sundays from 1:00-4:00 pm.
Discover the history of the wild frontier, the days of Tom Smith and Wild Bill Hickok, and the wild and woolly days of the cattle drives to Abilene at the end of the Chisholm Trail. Also explore the stories of the early pioneers as they settled the great plains and turned the great American desert into their home. Extensive archival documents/records. Historic displays, antique carousel, blacksmith shop, cowboy history, family research, and telephony museum.
In 2003, Geff began writing cowboy poetry about his true-life experiences while working on different cattle ranches in the area. Once you've heard him, you will know he was truly blessed with the ability to write cowboy poetry. His performances are astounding as he brings the ranch life to you through cowboy poetry and western music. A must hear is Geff's cowboy humorous entertainment and western music. It is sure to delight crowds of all ages.
Geff was one of the featured cowboy western entertainers at Silver Dollar City's Salute to the Great American Cowboy in 2007, 2008 and again in 2012. He was the2006 Silver Buckle Champion and Best of the Best winner at the worlds only Western Legends Roundup Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in 2006 and in 2009 he won the Best of the West Shootout. The events were held in Kanab, Utah where he competed against 70 plus other contestants. He followed it with a trip to the Colorado State Fair where he won the "People's Choice Buckle" and was the "Reserve Champion" in their cowboy poetry competition.
Most recently he was honored as a 2012 Inductee into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Learn the history of the Chisholm and Santa Fe Trail as experienced by settlers and cattle drovers coming west. Board a modern day covered wagon (tram) and learn about the days of pioneers coming west and cowboys driving their herds from Texas to Abliene. Historical marker located 3 miles east of Canton commerates where Trails meet. Santa Fe Trail marker 1/4 mile south of Canton. Another site is the historic Jones cemetery located on the Santa Fe Trail just east of Canton.
In the heart of downtown Wichita, the Museum is located in the original 1890 City Hall with its 170-foot tall clock tower. This exceptional, AAM-accredited museum features four floors of special and long-term exhibits examining Wichita and Sedgwick County’s rich history and cultural heritage. The museum’s collection of 70,000 artifacts includes a Wichita-built 1916 Jones Six automobile, a full-scale Victorian home interior and many other exhibits embodying the area’s vibrant history from its settlement in the 1860s to the era of aviation and electric guitars. Special and traveling exhibits ensure you experience something new since your last visit; see the Museum’s website for details: wichitahistory.org. Museum & Gift Shop open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat. & Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission: $5 adults, $2 children (6-12).
Brand New Opened in June 2012
Oil Industry Friendly
Fishing near by
15 minutes to KS Star Casino
Cable TV available
Full Hookups (30 and 50 amp)
Pull Through slips available