Gunsmoke & Trains in the Wild, Wild West
Wed, Aug 3 – Mon, Aug 8
Walking Level: Light to Moderate
All Aboard as Special Journeys heads to Western Kansas for a train ride and visit to the town where Gunsmoke was filmed!
Our first stop brings us to Abilene for a spectacular ride on the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad. We'll hop aboard the train that will take us on a 10½-mile round trip ride through the Smoky Hill River Valley and the next town, Enterprise. When we arrive in Enterprise, the train will stop for us to explore at the Hoffman Grist Mill which is a rebuilt working waterwheel that mills flour. The Grist Mill is named after Mr. Hoffman, who purchased the water power rights at Louden Falls in 1868, and he began his operation of milling flour the following year. As we take a look around, we'll also learn other facts about the area before heading back on the train to Abilene.
When we wake, up we'll be on our way to Wichita to explore the Old Cowtown Museum. If you've brought your cowboy boots, hat and chaps, you'll feel right at home. Cowtown is situated along the banks of the Arkansas River and has 54 historic and recreated buildings that reflect aspects of life on the frontier in the late 1860s and 1870s. But don't worry, we'll still be traveling by bus on our trip, the wagon wouldn't have been able to fit us all anyways. As we explore this Museum we will find archival collections of photographs, letters and documents from the time. 27 of the buildings in Cowtown are original and have been relocated from Wichita and other areas of Kansas. The buildings include many types of businesses that were common to most towns of the "Old West," such as a Drug Store, Blacksmith, jail, and Barber Shop. There is also a residential street where we can explore homes and what they looked like around that time, such as the Murdock House. The Murdock House would have been an elegant dwelling of the time, and features characteristics around that time like a gabled roof and special wood details around the porch. We will also see the Wolf House which would have been called home by new settlers to the area with limited financial resources.
Our last day we journey to Dodge City for the Boot Hill Museum. The setting of the TV show Gunsmoke was Dodge City, Kansas during the 1870's. Here we explore over 60,000 objects, documents and photos that take us back to the dusty streets of the Old West. The items on display belonged to original residents of Dodge City. We will stroll down the streets and peer into the windows of the Western town and look at what life may have been like in the 1870s. At the Museum we learn about how the area was settled and became the town we now know as Dodge City. We will see artifacts and clothing from residents of the time, learn about what people used to do for work, how they would travel, and how those cowboys would settle disputes. Hint: you certainly would not want to be a spectator!
It'll be a good ol' fashioned time in Western Kansas on this trip!