Trail of Fame plans to install statue of Doc Holliday
The Dodge City Trail of Fame will host a come-and-go reception for artist Janet Zoble from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Trail of Fame office in Eryn's Downtown Center, 509 N. Second Ave.
Zobel, a Topeka artist, is in the process of creating a statue of Doc Holliday for the Trail of Fame.
She will have drawings and models of the early stages of her work on the sculpture. The public is invited to meet the artist and discuss the project.
The statue will be the second such art installation commissioned by the Trail of Fame, the first being the Wyatt Earp statue at Central Ave. and Wyatt Earp Blvd.
In 2004, the Mary Spurgeon statue of Wyatt Earp was installed and has become one of the most popular stops for visitors with cameras.
The organizers of the Trail of Fame hope to continue to add statues of famous Dodge City figures.
The Holliday statue will feature Doc engaged in one of his favorite activities: playing poker. The table at which he plays will have empty chairs allowing history buffs to have their picture taken playing a round of poker with Doc Holliday.
A location for the statue has not yet been determined, but organizers intend to place the statue somewhere in the downtown area.
"It's partly a matter of where the infrastructure like water lines, phone lines, electrical are located," said Jim Johnson, president of the Trail of Fame in a phone interview Thursday.
Fundraising for the statue is nearly complete.
"We'll have 10 miniatures of the Doc Holliday statue available for $1,500 apiece right away. And when those are sold, we'll have enough to pay for the statue," Johnson said.
He also noted that any additional funds raised would be set aside for the next statue, which is slated to be Bat Masterson.
For information about the reception or the statues, call the Dodge City Trail of Fame at (620) 561-1925 or Johnson at (620) 408-6877.
The man known as Doc Holliday was born John Henry Holliday in August of 1851. His colorful life took him from his Georgia birthplace to dental school in Philadelphia, his first practice in Atlanta.
Holliday's mother died of tuberculosis when he was 15. Holliday himself was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 23. At the time, tuberculosis was still something of a mystery to the medical profession and the fact that the disease was contagious was not known. Dental practices at the time were not yet concerned about transmission of germs, and Holliday may have contracted tuberculosis from his mother or one of his dental patients.
Hearing that dry climates were beneficial in treatment of the disease's symptoms, Holliday moved his practice to Dallas, Texas, then Cheyenne, Wyo., then Deadwood, S. D.
As he moved around the frontier towns, he gradually developed a reputation as a gunfighter and began to make his living playing poker.
Dodge City had a reputation too — as a town where there was money to be made from the cowboys. In Dodge City, Holliday met Wyatt Earp and their lifelong friendship was forged.
By 1880, Dodge City had become somewhat civilized and there was less elbow room for a gambler who was good with a pistol.
So the wicked element moved farther west.
In 1881, Holliday and Earp were part of the most famous gunfight in history at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz.
Although Earp and Holliday both survived the gun battle, there were killings and attacks for months following. Wyatt Earp took off on what is now called the Earp Vendetta Ride, to avenge the killing of his brother, Morgan. Holliday rode with him.
When things calmed down, Holliday moved to Glenwood, Colo., his health continuing to decline. He died there in November of 1887.
Of his passing, the Denver Republican wrote: "Few men have been better known to a certain class of sporting people, and few men of his character had more friends or stronger companions. He represented a class of men who are disappearing in the new West. He had the reputation of being a bunco man, desperado, and bad-man generally, yet he was a very mild-mannered man, was genial and companiable, and had many excellent qualities."
Information about Doc Holliday from www.biography.com.
Follow Don Steele on Twitter, @Don_dcglobe.