Buried with their boots on

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 10:02 AM CDT
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You could certainly say Sidney was once a wild town on the western frontier. You can learn about that with a visit to Sidney's "Boot Hill".

It started out as a burial ground for soldiers, but it ended up being a burial ground for almost anyone. "It varied from soldiers, to ladies of the evening, to midnight burials", Boot Hill committee member Kathy Wilson said. Her committee worked to restore the cemetery. As you might imagine, it took quite a bit of work. "First we used ground penetrating radar to see what the ground looked like. It showed us where the original walls were," Wilson said. "We did metal detecting, and then after that, we just went off of historical documents."

"The first recorded burial here was 1868, and the last recorded burial was 1899. We had so many unrecorded burials, that we don't know about those," Wilson said. "You figure that with disease, the way of life, and with 1,500 people coming through, you start doing the math and there are a lot of people still left here."

You can find out more about the victims that were discovered by reading information on kiosk boards near the cemetery. Wilson says the remains of 200 soldiers were saved from the cemetery and taken to Fort McPherson National Cemetery. The remains of six Pawnee scouts were also removed and taken to Fort McPherson.

"We get a lot of tourists, and we get a lot of ghost hunters," Wilson said of the types of visitors who come to seek out the cemetery. "There are people who come here to do night photography to see if they can capture orbs in the photo. Of course, many historians come out to see this cemetery as well."

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