Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dodge City, Kansas

On the last leg of our trip from the ISCA National we stopped in Dodge City, Kansas. We were expecting to walk into a blast from the past and see a piece of history. While that is not what happened unfortunately, we did find one treasure.

This is the Mueller Schmidt House. It was built in 1881. I walked in the home/museum to find a tour in process which was quite a treat. The house is one of the few structures still standing in its original location. It is the only native limestone home remaining in Dodge City. The house was built to be one of the most prestigious homes in Dodge at that time. It still sits atop a hill - but now surrounded by modern homes.

Here are some trivia items that were quite interesting. Much of the furniture build during that era was black walnut. The Mueller Schmidt house was filled with furniture very much like our antique pieces. We were never quite sure what type of wood was used. The Mueller Schmidt house had three closets opposed to armours. Back in that era, houses were taxed by number of rooms with six foot doors. So, to avoid taxation, most homes had no closets. To have a closet was a sign of wealth. After eating, tables were reset with all the dishes facing upside down. This was to keep flies and germs off the dishes in an effort to combat tuberculosis. Newsprint was used to line cabinet shelves for the same reason - combating tuberculosis. Arsenic was used in newsprint which in turn would be toxic to bugs. When newspaper publishers started dying from arsenic poisoning the use of arsenic in newsprint was discontinued. With fur hats, mercury was used to combat bugs for the same reason - disease control. When people started going insane - i.e. "Mad Hatters" the use of mercury was discontinued.

The tour guide was a wealth of information and I wish we could have spent more time in Dodge City. It was windy there and very little to allow us to relive history in an authentic way. New meaning comes to light for the saying, "Get the Heck out of Dodge" which we did quickly!

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