Historically Speaking: Dodge City Mayor and jewelry salesman Adolph Gluck

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
Adolphus "Adolph" Gluck, pictured right, with wife Sophia Gluck.

He had humble beginnings, but he rose to become mayor and one of early Dodge City's most influential citizens. 

Most of the following information comes from the Jewish Museum of the American West, an online-only museum which features Jewish pioneers west of the Mississippi River. 

Adolphus (Adolph) Gluck started out from a poor Jewish family, being born in the country of Hungary in 1843. In the 1850's the family immigrated to the U.S., settling in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Adolph served for the Union during the Civil War. After the War, he returned to St. Louis where he worked in the jewelry business. In 1865, he married Sophia Loebner, his childhood sweetheart. 

The couple arrived in Dodge City in 1878. They lived on Front Street near the foot of the notorious Boot Hill Cemetery. 

He soon became very active in the commerce of Dodge. He opened a jewelry store and imported Hereford cattle. He bought Gluck's Opera House in 1898. A couple of these ventures didn't end well. His herd was wiped out, along with those of many others, in the blizzards of 1886. And his Opera House burned in 1912. 

Despite these setbacks, he did well in Dodge City business. He dealt in real estate, buying tracts of land in the area and selling them for a profit in good times as the city shifted from the cattle drive days to a ranching and farming community. Along the way, his jewelry store did well. 

Gluck was an important person here. As a successful shop owner, he helped in bringing the city from near financial ruin to a prosperous community. 

Gluck was active in civic affairs. In 1891, the citizens of Dodge City elected him as mayor, which he served as until 1895. He again served as mayor from 1909 to 1911. 

Adolph Gluck was heavily involved in fraternal organizations. He was a charter member of the local Masonic Lodge and was a Shriner. He was also a charter member of the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Civil War veterans. 

Furthermore, Gluck sponsored the Dodge City Cowboy Band, which traveled across the U.S. and marched in President Benjamin Harrison's Inaugural Parade in 1889. 

Sophia Gluck was also involved in charity work in Dodge City. 

The Gluck's had three sons: Leo, who became a mine engineering consultant and a player and connoisseur of violins; Max, an insurance man in Chicago; and Monte, who followed his father's footsteps, dealing in jewelry in New York and Kansas City. 

Adolph Gluck died in Dodge City on Sept. 30, 1917. His body was moved to New Mount Sinai Cemetery and Mausoleum in Affton, Missouri. Sophia died in 1921.