Dodge City One-of-a-kind custom-made cowboy boots are now on display at the school house of Boot Hill Museum.
The display comes as part of the Custom Cowboy Boots: The Kansas Story exhibit.
Through the use of pictures, displays and historical tales the exhibit shows the evolution of the cowboy boot from its conception and development in Kansas to its current place in society.
"The museum is very proud to have a traveling exhibit," said Karen Pankratz, the museum's exhibit designer and curator. "This exhibit focuses on contemporary custom bootmakers in Kansas who are working within a long-standing tradition."
The historical presentation includes 30 photographic panels and five freestanding exhibit cases that discuss the folklore of the cowboy boot, cattle drives, the boot-making process and the influence of Hollywood and rodeo entertainment on the style of cowboy boots.
The exhibit focuses on the important role Kansas played in the development of the style and significance of the cowboy boot.
Boots became commonplace on cattle drives on routes such as the Chisholm Trail, which covered 750 miles from Texas to Kansas. Men often purchased cowboy boots at the end of the trail in Kansas towns such as Abilene, Wichita and Dodge City, where cowboys routinely received their wages.
Although Charles Hyer is credited with designing the first cowboy boot, the first boot was most likely created as a result of collaboration between the cowboy and boot maker.
The museum tells how the first boot was made, and it also tells the story of Hyer, who opened a shoe and boot shop in Olathe with his brother Ed. His customers included Buffalo Bill Cody, Billy the Kid, Gene Autry, Clark Gable, and Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower.
Changes in boot fashion are traced throughout history beginning with the plain, high-heeled, below-the-knee work boots used on the cattle drives, to more elaborate dress boots used in entertainment venues and everyday life today.