The reason for traveling to Coffeyville Kansas is to camp overnight there. We have been through Kansas before but we have not camped there. If we camp overnight in a state we add that state to our decal map we have on the outside of our RV. We just added Missouri and now Kansas and then next we will go to Oklahoma. After that we just have 6 states left: North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Nevada, and Alaska. Next year we plan to pick up the remaining states to make all 50 states.
Coffeyville is located just 3 miles from the north border of Oklahoma and about 175 miles from Branson MO. Coffeyville has 3 RV parks within the city limits, 2 of which are owned by the town and the other is a private park. We just can’t beat the price of $15 a night for a 50amp full hookup pull through site either! If we wanted to forgo having a sewer connection we could have stayed at the other city park for just $8 a night with 50 amp electric service and water. We took the full hook up because it was satellite TV friendly, no trees in our way to get TV.
|The Coffeyville City campground in the background|
|The campground is unmanned, you fill in your information on a form, add your money and put it in a safe type slotted box.|
|There we are in the middle. We had loads of room here!|
We are here for 2 full days. I started day one with a walk/run into downtown to get exercise and to sightsee. I got to see most of the town in that walk/run effort too! We are a mile from downtown at our site and most of the sights are right in downtown. I managed to make the walk/run turn into a 4 mile effort though.
What is Coffeyville known for? When we decided to visit here I knew I had heard of it before but didn’t know why. Well, it’s known for the killing of the Dalton gang in the 1890s. The Dalton brothers had been robbing banks all around the area and got real good at it. They thought they were so good at that they thought they would try to rob 2 banks in the same day in broad daylight in the same town. That town turned out to be Coffeyville Kansas.
|This was probably the only real tourist place in town and we didn't visit. It looked like it was full of pictures which didn't interest us too much. It may be of interest but at the time we just didn't feel like visiting the museum.|
The Daltons didn’t even get to rob the first bank that day even though they tried. They were told by a wily bank teller that the vault where most of the money was kept was on a timer and that it would not open for another 45 minutes. The Daltons believed the teller to be truthful and decided to wait the 45 minutes for vault to open. That was enough time for local citizens to figure out what was happening. Before the sheriff got there, locals from the hardware store came out and confronted the Daltons. Then, with the sheriff's help, they killed the whole gang in an alleyway that led to their getaway horses.
|This hardware store is the same continuously operating store from the time of the Dalton robbery. One of the employees from this store was first on the scene to confront the Daltons.|
|This is the preserved bank building. The bank is still in town |
just not at this location; it is now across the street.
In downtown Coffeyville the original banks, the Hardware store, and the “killing” alley are still there and identified. Also, the original jail is still there too. The jail is where the bodies were laid out. The jail now has dummies made up like the old pictures of the Daltons lying exactly where they were back then.
|Entrance to the "killing" alley.|
|The town has marked where they were killed, including the innocent civilians.|
|View down the alley toward the bank.|
|The original jail where the Daltons were laid out.|
The Dalton Gang / Coffeyville story being preserved is a really cool piece of American history. This is not a well-publicized tourist trap sort of thing either. That probably has more to do with the relative isolation of this town more than anything. We would recommend to anybody who may be close to this area to give it a look-see, especially if you are interested in American folk history.
|Memorial to all of the town folk who fought and died fighting the Daltons is on the left. |
The right memorial is marking the site where
President Taft gave his whistle stop train speech in 1911.
|Pictures of downtown Coffeyville Kansas. |
The fountain is orange for Halloween.
|Old movie theater still in operation.|
After I toured the area on foot, Patty and I went downtown for lunch and to see the sights with me being the guide. We ate at a very old restaurant with a lot of the original color of the old west. The building was also here when the Daltons came to town and is in sight of the bank they tried to rob. This was a nice restaurant and we would recommend eating here too.
|Lunch restaurant the Tavern on the Plaza.|
There is a large sign in town that advertises a farmers market every Thursday from 4-6 pm here at our campground. We decided to go and check it out. It was a real disappointment though. The farmers market only had 2 farmers in attendance. In fact, we didn’t even recognize it as a farmers market at first. We were walking all around it and then figured it out that these 2 farmers were in fact the farmers market.
We bought a couple of products, one from each farmer. But more than just the products, the farmers themselves are what made the event for us. We got to talk to these farmers for quite a while about how they made their wares, where they lived and for how long. We even talked a little friendly politics, I think due to me wearing a Gary Johnson t-shirt. It was all good!
That was pretty much our visit to Coffeyville Kansas! Next up, the Oklahoma City area and visiting with our friends Dave and Alice.