One might argue Dodge City Boot Hill Museum got its impetus on Sept. 14, 1935 when Morris Cannon erected his billboard.
Three years before, dentist O.H. Simpson had placed boots and faces at Boot Hill Cemetery as a joke for visiting Rotarians.
The joke caught on and the Cemetery became a tourist destination. Cannon capitalized on the new attraction by advertising the cemetery site and setting up a curio wagon.
Before this turning point most Dodge Citians wanted to forget about the town's wild west days and about the cemetery where early victims of violence were buried.
The curio wagon evolved into a small novelty shop opened on the Hill by "old timers" who gave short, but entertaining, tours of the former graveyard.
The Jaycees made Boot Hill Cemetery a bonafide attraction by building a museum building on the site.
They broke ground on March 26, 1947 and dedicated it on May 23, 1947 as part of Dodge City's 75th anniversary celebration.
A lot has happened at Boot Hill Museum in the last 72 years and things continue to happen.
Not much is known about Boot Hill's first advertiser.
Morris Cannon was born on Jan. 21, 1907, died on Leap Year's day in Feb. 1980, and is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery. He was a pillar of the community.
In December 1948, he served as Santa Claus for 23 small children on "Treat Day." Most of these kids had just been released from chicken pox quarantine.
Cannon generously gave to the Cowboy Capital of the World campaign to the tune of $50 in 1955. This would be worth nearly $500 in today's money.