There was a time when the sun, the seasons, and the animals controlled the way we lived. A time of cowboys, horses, outlaws, cattle rustlers, gunfights, covered wagons, gold, and prairies. A time when the gun was the law in the towns. And a time when prosperity was ruled by two types of men - the men that did the killing, and the men that did the dying. That time … was the 1870’s.
Located on 25 acres of Kansas prairie on the Chisholm Trail sits the Old Cowtown Museum. Cowtown is a living history museum where you’ll experience life in the 1870’s. A place where you can immerse yourself in a sampling of the sights, sounds and activities common to a cattle-flecked Great Plains town from the "Old West".
While so many were living their busy and hurried lives adding apps to their Androids and iPads, speeding to get from point A to point B, texting a person in a room one door down, I was busy visiting Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Ks. A recreated peaceful and yearning Wild West town and a snippet of life in a midwestern cattletown from the 19th century.
Old Cowtown is home to 70+ historic (and some recreated) buildings including: Wichita’s first jail, a marshal’s office, general store, funeral parlor, a one-room schoolhouse, church, livery stable, train depot, saloon, and the home of Darius Munger – founder of Wichita. As well as the home of Marshall Murdock – a man who single-handedly promoted the town through his newspaper.
While a gunfight broke out in front of the saloon, we were fortunate enough to spend some quiet time and visit with one of Cowtown’s teamsters, Mike Tracy – a wagon driver for the old cattletown – and ride with him and his beautiful horses, Tim and Barney. My toddler was not a fan of the gunfight … but mother of the year (me) had to take a few pics before walking away. The recreated gunfighting cowboys use blanks in their guns and so they are incredibly loud. While it would be a great time for the older kids, it’s best to take the young ones into the air-conditioned/heated children’s area on the corner until it’s over.
After taking a wagon ride with Mike Tracy, we were dropped off in front of the blacksmith shop where we heard the ring of the blacksmith anvil, went on to the schoolhouse to play sticks and hoops and ride the rope swing over a puddle of mud, drank an ice-cold sarsaparilla at Fritz Snitzler’s Saloon, smelled what the farmer’s wife was cooking for her family at the farm, and soooo much more.
I could go on and on about what all the nationally recognized and accredited living history site has to offer and why you should visit this museum of the Old West … but it’s an experience that needs to be seen on your own to fully appreciate everything there is. I’m even told that some paranormal occurances are known to take place there. So on your next visit to Wichita, Ks … take the time to check out the Old Cowtown Museum and get a true taste of the myths, truths, and romance of the "Old West" and America’s frontier. You won’t be disappointed.
Check their website for prices, events, and hours of operation.
Disclaimer: This was not a paid post. My family was provided complimentary admission to Old Cowtown Museum. However, all opinions expressed in this article are my own.
Amanda is a freelance writer and blog owner of "The Procrastinating Mommy" - a PR friendly family blog. You can also follow her on Twitter at: @Amanda_aka_Mom