The cemetery isn’t the only historic feature which sits on Boot Hill.

In 1927, businessman Hiram Burr built a Dutch Colonial Revival house near the top of Boot Hill at the southwest corner of Fifth and Spruce Avenues.

Hiram Burr was born on July 15, 1880 to New Yorker Harvey Burr and Ella Burr in Illinois, and was the ninth of 11 children. Hiram Burr was a descendent of Aaron Burr; the third vice president of the U.S. and the infamous winner of a duel with Alexander Hamilton.

Burr spent most of his childhood in Comanche County, Kansas. Around 1900, he attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, and business school in Wichita. After school he spent time on a farm in Harper County.

In 1909, Burr married Olive "Ollie" Georgiana Meers and the couple moved to Dodge City where, as an agent for Connecticut Insurance Co., he sold farm, business, home and auto insurance to people in southwest Kansas. Due to his great success, the company named him "district agent for all the territory in southwestern Kansas."

All this time, Burr demonstrated a knack for real estate. At the time, his residential and commercial development company was one of the most profitable businesses in Dodge City. Burr built an office, the Burr Building, at 209 West Spruce in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Burr was hailed for his community service. During World War I, he served in the Kansas State Guard. Later, in his Burr Building, he hosted the famous Dodge City Phoenix-Industrial Club which was the for-runner of the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Burr’s family grew along with his business interests. In 1911, daughter Helen Mae was born, and in 1918, daughter Georgia Isabel (Isabel) came along. Needing a sanctuary for the family and a place to entertain guests, the Burrs had the Burr House built at 603 West Spruce in 1927 and 1928. Both daughters married in the house — Helen in 1935 and Isabel in 1941.

In 1942, Burr’s wife, Ollie, died, but Burr remained active in business and social circles and married Hallie Bronston in 1945. Hallie was the widow of Rev. Oliver C. Bronston, district superintendent of the Methodist Church of which Hiram and Ollie were members for many years.

In 1947, Burr sold his home on Spruce to Lester Wilhelm and the couple moved to another home in Dodge City. In the later 1940s and early 1950s Hiram shared the company of his children and granddaughter. By the 1950s both son-in- laws were working for the company.

In 1955, his three-story parking lot adjacent to the Burr Building was dedicated. A few days later, Hiram Burr died at the age of 75 on Sept. 8. He is buried, along with his wife, at Dodge City’s Maple Grove Cemetery. After his passing his daughters and/or son-in laws ran his business, Hiram T. Burr, Inc. The Burr Building, which has been altered greatly from its original form, and parking lot still stand.

The Burr House is now a bed and breakfast and, since 2008, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Kathie Bell is the curator for collections and education at Boot Hill Museum.