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a city in Sumner County; population ~1,020

Caldwell was established astride the Chisholm Trail in 1871, and named for Alexander Caldwell, U.S. Senator from Kansas. The town catered to the many cowboys who passed through with their cattle herds on their way to Abilene and Wichita, but did not begin to truly thrive until 1879, when it was reached by the Santa Fe Railroad. Caldwell was incorporated as a city of the third class that year.

Already known for being an "entertainment haven" for passing cowboys, the addition of a railroad turned Caldwell into one of the most notorious cowtowns of the era. In fact, between 1879 and 1885 Caldwell "boasted" a higher murder rate than any other town in the state, as well as the loss of no fewer than 18 City Marshals to gun violence. The city calmed down considerably after the cattle trade moved west.

Caldwell experienced more "wild days" in 1893, when thousands of "Boomers" gathered in and around the city in anticipation of the Cherokee Strip Land Run, which took place on September 16, 1893.

"Boomers" on the streets of Caldwell
Boomers in Caldwell

Official Websites

Caldwell Chamber of Commerce
City of Caldwell

See Also

Cherokee Strip Land Run

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The Robinson Library >> Kansas >> Cities and Towns

This page was last updated on November 19, 2018.