Saturday, June 12, 2010


Recently, at the close of our camping trip; we saw the sights in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Now, I had never before been to the state of Nebraska and truly, I only crossed over the border and did not venture that far in.   However, I have to say that what I did see....was beautiful.

Rolling hills, green grasses and two beautiful lakes.  That's what I took in.  
Also, the town of Ogallala.   Interesting name, huh.

According to the city's website:
Ogallala received its name from the OGALA Sioux Indian tribe.  The Indians spelled the name Ogala and they pronounced it Oklada.  The word means "scatter," or "to scatter one's own."  Ogallala has been spelled in a variety of ways such as  Ogallalah, Ogallalla, and the present spelling OGALLALA.

So there ya go.  

Apparently the history of this little town is pretty colorful.   It was called "The Gomorrah of the Plains" having at one time in the booming 1800's  no church, but 3/4 of its businesses were dance halls, gambling houses and saloons.  
It was the end of the line for Texas cattle drovers, who after much time in the saddle, arrived in Ogallala and shipped their cattle by the railroad.  Things got pretty wild once the cattle shipped out.

Many cowboys never made it out of town, in fact.  
That's where Boot Hill came in.  A cemetery where many lawless men were buried with their boots on. 
I'm sure many have heard of  Dodge City, Kansas, and its Boot Hill.   But according to historical writings, there was at least one Texas cattle drover that would let his men go into Dodge City for recreation but refused to let them go into Ogallala because of its wild and unsavory reputation.   That gave rise to the phrase that Ogallala was the  " town to tough for Texans."  

We visited Boot Hill and found the stories interesting.   Women and children were also buried there, but most were later moved to another cemetery as relatives didn't like the idea of their family members buried next to outlaws and drifters.
The cemetery itself is found in a regular neighborhood and you would miss it if you didn't know to look for it.  It's on a hill, which overlooks much of the town.  I marveled at the idea of owning a home and living a modern life so close to a piece of western history!

Here are pictures of our visit:

 Believed to be the first burial here; mother and baby in childbirth.

This statue was worth the visit alone!  It's incredible.

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