Rowdy Delano

Wild West Delano

Rowdy Delano

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Wichita History Walk



Originally called Elgin, the town west of the Arkansas River came to be known as Delano in 1871. It was named for Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior under President Grant. Delano was an important cattle shipment point on the Chisholm Trail, and became known for its lawlessness and vice. With no sheriff to oversee the town, Delano became a haven for drinking, gambling, and prostitution. It was later incorporated as West Wichita in 1880.

Just northwest of the Douglas Street bridge, built in the 1870s, two neighboring saloons fanned a flame of rivalry between their owners. Rowdy Joe Lowe and his wife Rowdy Kate owned one establishment while the other was owned by E.T. "Red" Beard. Red became jealous of Rowdy Joe's business success and started a "slow-motion" shootout with Joe in 1873. According to local lore, Red walked over to Joe's, shot him, and returned to his saloon. Joe wasn't badly hurt so took the time to have a few drinks, then walked over to Red's place and shot Red and two bystanders. Red died two weeks later; Rowdy Joe was charged but acquitted because both men had been drinking. He left town to avoid charges from the other two shooting victims.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Wild West Delano


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