The collection at Boot Hill Museum includes more than 60,000 objects, photographs, and documents. Most of our collection is from Dodge City’s early days—the 1870s through the 1920s—and actually belonged to original residents of Dodge City.
Many of the items were obtained from the former Beeson Museum when it closed its doors in 1964.
Chalkey Beeson, Merritt’s father, started the collection in the 1870s. He died in 1912. In 1932, Merritt Beeson along with his wife, Elizabeth, officially opened the Beeson Museum.
The museum was originally located in the basement of their home on the southwest corner of Beeson Road and Sunnyside Avenue. Later, the “Corral” as it was called expanded and moved east to a building on S. Second Avenue where the Lewis Toyota lot is today.
The Beeson Museum was a repository for scholars studying the history of the area, and it was a popular destination for tourists. Numerous letters to and from the Beeson Family in the Boot Hill Museum archives attest to the fact that Merritt was a “go to” source for early Dodge City history.
After Merritt died Jan. 28, 1956, his widow managed the museum until it closed in 1964. Boot Hill Museum acquired much of its collection, which is now housed in the “Beeson Gallery” and elsewhere throughout the complex.
Both of the buildings, which housed the old Beeson Museum are now gone, having been demolished within the last 20 years.