Red Light Saloon
On the NE corner of Chisholm and Ave A stood the Red Light Saloon which helped give Caldwell its reputation as the most lawless cowtown. In April, 1880 George and Mag Wood literally disassembled their Wichita saloon and brought to Caldwell what became its most murderous establishment. People killed here included marshals, cowboys, bystanders and even the owner when he tried to protect the honor of one of his "girls" who both lived and "worked" upstairs. Though liquor was illegal in Kansas by state law and illegal in the Indian Territory to the south by federal law, somehow Caldwell always had a good supply for the dusty cowboys. The drovers also looked forward to the Red Light and other saloons for their "ladies of the night" or, in Caldwell, the "Border Queens".
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Between 1865 and 1885 an observer standing here would have witnessed the forced passing of Native American Indians south into the Territory, hundreds of thousands of Texas longhorn cattle moving north to market, and westbound supply wagons taking foodstuffs to America's far flung military camps and outposts. Jesse Chisholm blazed his legendary trail between San Antonio and Abilene, though only about 150 miles of it between
Dover, Okla and Wichita was used for cattle. The trail was about 200 ~ 400 yards wide as it passed this marker toward the northeast. The trail was closed north of Caldwell in 1880 with the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad. Chisholm, part Cherokee himself, was a scout, trader and explorer who died in 1868 before seeing his trail put to its greatest use, the cattle trade.
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