Oysters in Dodge City

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
The selling of oysters were a top item in the early days of Dodge City. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Though not unheard of, ordering seafood at local eating establishments in America's heartland isn't something people talk about a lot.

But in the early days of Dodge City, oysters were a selling point in some of her restaurants.

An example of this is Charles Heinz's Lone Star.

Though most businesses were closed at least part of Thanksgiving Day, restaurants were open to feed the townsfolk a holiday feast.

The Lone Star, in anticipation of this big day, stocked "fifty dozen cans of fresh oysters, ten dozen turkeys, and five hundred pound of fish."

Charles Heinz served oysters at another restaurant, Delmonicos. It burned down in December 1885 during a series of fires in downtown Dodge City. Heinz rebuilt this business in brick at its original location as a hotel and restaurant.

He had a grand opening of the hotel on October 15, 1886. On the menu were oysters as stew, fried and raw, accompanied by turkey, pork, tongue, corn beef and ham. Salads included shrimp and lobster. Offered were a vast array of breads and jellies.

The meal was topped off with an extensive choice of desserts and fruits.

Dodge City cattle baron Richard Hardesty followed this practice of consuming oyster and other seafood. He presided over fishing and hunting excursions that lasted for a week or more.

So as not to miss the finer offerings of city life while enjoying outdoor sports, oysters and other delectables were shipped in by stagecoach from Dodge City.

And more evidence of how much Dodge's early settlers loved their oysters was from the Dodge City Daily Globe 1883: "Brower Brothers, of this city, are enjoying a large wholesale shipping trade in oysters, fish and game. Their oyster trade is constantly increasing..."

This writer wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving, oysters or not!