Long Branch Saloon

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Long Branch Saloon

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Long Branch Saloon
Interior of the Long Branch Saloon
Wikimedia | © OpenStreetMap
General information
Statusoriginal destroyed by fire in 1885.
Architectural styleFalse-front
LocationDodge CityKansasUnited States
Openedc. 1874
OwnerChalk Beeson, William H. Harris, Luke Short, and others.

The Long Branch Saloon was a well-known saloon in Dodge City, Kansas from about 1874 to 1885. It had numerous owners, most notably Chalk Beeson and gunfighter Luke Short. The establishment provided gambling and live entertainment, including Beeson’s five-person orchestra. It was the scene of several altercations, shoot-outs, gunfights, and standoffs often associated with cattle towns in the American wild west. Most famous was the 1879 Long Branch Saloon Gunfight, in which Frank Loving killed Levi Richardson.



The Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas, 1874

The saloon was built as the result of a wager between cowboys and soldiers playing ball. Bets were placed and if the cowboys beat the soldiers, the soldiers agreed to provide building materials to construct a saloon.[1]

Chalkley Beeson, a wealthy farmer and rancher, and William Harris bought the saloon in 1878. Harris named it after his hometown of Long Branch, New Jersey.[2] It was a plain storefront bar with little ornamentation, typical for frontier saloons of the time. The saloon prospered until the railroad replaced the cattle drive. The establishment burned down in 1885 and was never rebuilt.[3]


The saloon soon became the most popular and refined saloon in Dodge City.[citation needed] Beeson was a talented musician and led a five-piece orchestra that played nightly. The Long Branch served milk, tea, lemonadesarsaparilla, and all types of alcohol including champagne and beer.[4] Anheuser-Busch was the original beer served at the Long Branch. Drinks were kept cold in the winter with ice from the river; in the summer ice was shipped by train from the mountains of Colorado. Gambling ranged from five cent chuck-a-luck to thousand dollar poker.[3]

Chalkley “Chalk” Beeson, co-owner with William Harris of the Long Branch Saloon

Notable patrons[edit]

The saloon hosted many Old West characters including Clay AllisonWyatt EarpDoc HollidayFrank LovingDave Mather, Town Marshal Charlie Bassett, and brothers EdJames, and Bat Masterson.

Site of conflicts[edit]

The saloon was the site of a gunfight on April 5, 1879, between Frank Loving and Levi Richardson. Loving accused Richardson of making disrespectful advances towards his wife, and the two got into an argument that turned into a gunfight across a table. Loving was grazed on the hand by one bullet; Richardson was shot three times and died. Town Marshal Bassett arrested Loving, but on April 7, a coroner′s inquest ruled that Loving had acted in self-defense and he was released without charges.

Professional gambler and gunfighter Short’s purchase of a partial interest in the saloon in 1883 was credited as one of the causes of the bloodless Dodge City War.

In popular culture[edit]

A saloon using the same name was featured in almost every episode of the long-running radio and television drama, Gunsmoke. A new establishment named the Long Branch Saloon, largely based on Gunsmoke, was built as part of the modern non-profit Boot Hill Museum entertainment and exhibit theme park in Dodge City. The exterior was modeled on period photographs of the original building, while the interior is consistent with period saloons of the era. It is furnished with an 1881 bar and two Golden Eagles on top of the back bar that were once owned by Beeson.[3]


  1. ^ Weiser, Kathy (March 2010). “The Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City”. Legends of America. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  2. ^ “Kansas Fun Facts and Trivia”. Legends of America. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  3. Jump up to:a b c Weiser, Kathy (March 2010). “The Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City”Kansas Legends. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  4. ^ The Long Branch Saloon Archived March 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine; retrieved March 11, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates37.751°N 100.022°W


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“Lots of fun and tasty Sarsaparilla”Jun 2021

My wife me I enjoyed a Sarsaparilla and listened to the exceptional piano player that can play State songs and lots o…

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Located inside the Boot Hill Museum.

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