Caldwell was founded in 1871 astride the then new Chisholm Trail as an economic adventure of a group of Wichita entrepreneurs. The trail, running from Texas to the Intercontinental Railroad in northern Kansas, guided over a million longhorn steers and their guardian cowboys through Caldwell.
This vintage cowtown --- a place of cowboys, saloons, gambling, and violence --- boasted a longer cowtown period (1880 - 1885), a higher murder rate, and loss of more law enforcement officers than other more famous cowtowns. Being the first town north of Indian Territory, cowboys went wild in this untamed "Border Queen City" after months on the dusty and treacherous trail. Gunfights, showdowns, hangings and general hellraising were commonplace. From these true stories came the romanticized American cowboy and the love of the Wild West. In 1893, Caldwell was also a starting point for the famous Cherokee Strip Land Run, when Oklahoma Territory was opened for homesteaders to stake land claims.
Caldwell's riotous past is acknowledged with a life-sized silhouette of a trail cattle drive, historical markers everywhere you turn telling the cowtown stories, boot hill cemetery with "Talking Tombstone" re-enactors, and celebrations that bring history to life.
“the Border Queen, one of the most notorious cow towns of the Chisholm Trail”
Historical markers- tell the history of the cattle drive eras of the community
Ghost Riders Silhouettes- dramatically marks the Chisholm Trail as it enters Kansas
Cherokee Strip Museum and Border Queen Museum- features display depicting Kansas pioneer life, railroad history, cowboys, cattle and the Cherokee land rush
To read more about Caldwell, Kansas - visit their website at