Sometimes you have to wonder about what you see on the internet.
Culture Trip, a travel website and global media company that names places around the world that people should travel to, released its list of “The Most Beautiful Towns to Visit in Each U.S. State” this week.
Dodge City was its pick for the most beautiful town in Kansas.
I’m not making this up.
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Don’t get me wrong. I love Dodge City, used to live in Dodge City – but the most beautiful town in Kansas?
Culture Trip’s reason: “This town, once known as ‘The Wickedest Town in the American West’ is an absolute must-see for any history lover.”
I’m guessing they never set foot in Dodge.
“Now, I am a lifelong Dodge Citian, and I am not sure I can be objective about this, but I would say it is one of the most beautiful towns,” said Nancy Jo Trauer, former mayor and director of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Center.
I agree. It’s a wide-open town on the high plains with a main thoroughfare called Wyatt Earp Boulevard. Its history stretches back to the cowtown days of Earp and Bat Masterson.
But in a baby boomer and older generation era, it’s best known for the television show “Gunsmoke,” which aired on CBS from 1955 to 1975. And its main tourism draws are Boot Hill and the Boot Hill Casino and Resort.
I applaud Culture Trip for suggesting a western Kansas town, but I also suggest there might be other more scenic – perhaps even more historic – towns in Kansas.
I invite you to send me your own suggestions for the most beautiful towns in Kansas. You can e-mail me at email@example.com.
For now, might I suggest:
▪ Atchison – Amelia Earhart’s hometown, located along the Missouri River with towering bluffs and brick-paved, hilly, tree-lined streets, founded in 1854.
▪ Leavenworth – Home of Fort Leavenworth, which was founded in 1821.
▪ Scott City – Founded in 1885 and located in an area where the Pueblo Indians once lived, El Quartelej. The town has many scenic references to that settlement.
▪ Abilene – It was the first cowtown in Kansas. It is the boyhood home of Dwight Eisenhower and is known for its stately mansions along Buckeye Avenue and fried chicken at the Brookville Hotel.
▪ Cottonwood Falls – The town boasts one of the most photographed courthouses in Kansas. The Chase County Historical Society Museum tells much of the history of the area, including when Notre Dame coaching legend Knute Rockne’s plane crashed in 1931 near Matfield Green.
▪ Lawrence – One of the most historic communities in Kansas, Lawrence is best known as an abolitionist stronghold during the state’s territorial period and the town William Quantrill sacked on Aug. 21, 1863. Home to the University of Kansas.
▪ Manhattan – “The Little Apple” also was an abolitionist-founded town. It also is a university town, home to Kansas State University, one of the oldest land grant colleges in the nation.
▪ St. Francis – In the far northwest corner of Kansas, people don’t consider themselves rural. It’s more frontier. The town borders the Arikaree Breaks, a geological formation that looks like a mini-Grand Canyon.
Culture Trip, the website that named Dodge City as the most beautiful town in Kansas, said each town was selected by the website’s in-house editorial team and local editorial experts.
“We wanted to highlight the breadth and beauty that the US has to offer with these 50 beautiful towns, and shine a light on some of the more unknown parts of each state,” Kris Naudts, Culture Trip’s CEO and founder, said in a news release.
In this instance, there might have been other Kansas communities to shine a light on.
“I am a lover of Kansas,” said Trauer, the former Dodge City mayor. “I enjoy all Kansas towns and love to travel Kansas.
“One of our favorite things is to drive through small towns. They are all a little different and interesting.
“But I would rather live in Dodge City than anywhere else.”