In August 1872, buffalo hunters and businessmen in various branches of industry, were attracted to this place. Buffalo hides were extensively shipped from here, and the hunters here obtained their supplies. In some three years this became the objective point for the Texas cattle trade; the cowboys from the Plains driving in here large quantities for shipment. In 1880, about 300,000 head of cattle were sold to the ranches south and west; 60,000 sheep, in flocks ranging from 200 to 2,000.
In the early history of the place, there were more or less of occurrences that savored of a border civilization, and repelled they’re from settlers of aesthetic tendencies and of high culture. But the gradual changes that have occurred make this a point with many things desirable about it for a permanent home. Illustrative of its earlier civilization is the following resolution, adopted by the Ford County Commissioners in session May 13, 1874:
Resolved, by the board, that the following resolution be adopted: That any person who is not engaged in any legitimate business, and any person under influence of intoxicating drinks, and any person who has ever borne arms against the Government of the United States, who shall be found within the limits of the town of Dodge City, bearing on his person a pistol, bowie knife, dirk, or other deadly weapon, shall be subject to arrest upon charge of misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $100, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding three months, or both, at the discretion of the court, and same to take effect on date.
This might provoke an inquiry whether legal transcendentalism had here its culmination, but nine years later, the pistol and the bowie knife have given way to more humane symbols of civilization, and while Dodge City has a full quota of liquor saloons, it has a neat temple of justice, a good school building, church edifices, good newspapers, and a courteous, earnest, and progressive element in its society. Its population is just about 1,000. H. J. Fringer was the first postmaster; Lloyd Shinn, one of the most estimable citizens of the State, died while holding the office, in December 1882, and Nicholas B. Klaine is his successor. The Bank of Dodge City was established in 1882, with a capital stock of $50,000. G. M. Hoover is President; R. W. Evans, Cashier; H. J. Fringer, Assistant Cashier. Its correspondents are the Bank of Kansas City, the Continental Bank of St. Louis, Donnell, Lawson & Simpson, and New York. Its hotels are the Dodge House, City Hotel, Grand Central, Wright House, Iowa House, and South Side Hotel. The Dodge City Flouring Mills, O. Marsh & Co., proprietors, are very well fitted to supply the surrounding country with the choicest of flour.
The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company are building at Dodge City, a station 24×80 feet, 24 feet high, two-stories, bay windows. It will contain the ticket, telegraph and freight offices, with rooms in the upper story for the agents to reside in. The platform will be some 300 feet in length. Two roundhouses with 267 stalls each are to be erected. The ground is laid out for the building of a machine shop in the center and south of the roundhouses. Material stands in front of the machine shop site for three turntables, one for each roundhouse, and one to be in front of the machine shop. Work is being done on the elevated track for the new coal chute, which when built will be the largest on the road. When completed the stockyards will be over two miles long, and by railroad men is known as a double yard. There will be five switches on the south side of the main track; four on the north side, making working facilities for four switch engines, if necessary. All of the low land is so graded that the many acres occupied by the yards are as level as a hall floor. Each compartment of the stockyards has its own lock and key. The pens are all provided with water tanks and feed boxes. Hoybin’s patent stock chute will be used in loading the stock. The sheep pens are well laid out on the north side.
The site of the Ford County courthouse is a beautiful one, standing on the rise north from Broadway, where the beautiful valley of the Arkansas is seen for miles east and west of the city. The courtroom is the upper story, and the basement is the jail. It is a brick structure, and cost about $8,000. It was completed in the summer of 1876. The old Toll House became the Ford County Poorhouse in the winter of 1874. February 10, 1876, bridge bonds were voted by a vote of 111 to 41; current expenses bonds by a vote of 119 to 33.
Prior to April 15, 1875, Ford County paid for rent of buildings for use of the county, $75 per month. A reduction was then made to $50 per month, which price obtained the completion and occupation of the courthouse. Shawnee and Reno counties boarded Ford Count prisoners before the jail was occupied at large.
Source: Ford County Kansas, Cutlers History of Kansas 1883