Adolph Gluck, Early Pioneer Jewish Entrepreneur & Mayor of Dodge City, Kansas

Adolph Gluck

Values Codes I – E – L – P

 

Adolph Gluck was born in 1843 to a poor family in a small town in Hungary.

He arrived in the United States with his parents in the 1850’s.

 

Along the way . . .

The Glucks settled first in St. Louis, Missouri.

Adolph Gluck served in the Civil War on the Union side helping to assure Federal control of the Mississippi River, which eventually broke the back of the Confederacy in the West.

After the war, Gluck became involved in the jewelry business in St Louis.

 

Dodge City, Kansas

In 1878,  Adolph Gluck moved with his wife Sophia to Dodge City.

“The wildest, wickedest, frontier town of 700, with 60 saloons, 40 gambling halls, 20 dance halls, and more, catering to thousands of buffalo hunters, trail drivers, soldiers, cowboys, and roughnecks.”

Dodge City, 1978

Dodge City, 1878

Gluck continued with his jewelry business in Dodge City.

He also imported cattle — pure Herford sires — to grade up local stocks.

He lost all on this venture when the entire herd was lost in the blizzards of 1886.

Gluck purchased tracts and lots around Dodge City, selling them off in good times as the city changed from a cattle town to a more agricultural center.

 

Fraternal

Gluck was a Charter Member of the local chapter of the G.A.R., Grand Army of the Republic, veterans of the Union Army.

He was also a Charter member of the St. Bernard Lodge AF & AM, Wichita Consistory of Masonry, and was a Noble of the Shrine.

Gluck sponsored the Dodge City Cowboy Band, which paraded down Massachusetts Avenue in the Washington Inaugural Parade for President Benjamin Harrison.

Dodge City Cowboy Band

Civic

Adolph Gluck was elected to City Council ,where he persuaded Wyatt Earp to head the Police Department and Bat Masterson to serve as Sheriff.

Gluck was then elected Mayor of Dodge City.

He brought Dodge City’s finances back from near collapse to a strong financial footing.

Dodge City, Old Postcard

Dodge City, Old Postcard

Family

Adolph Gluck married childhood sweetheart, Sophia Loebnerof Bohemian birth, in 1865.

Adolph & Sophia Gluck, 1916

Adolph & Sophia Gluck, 1916

In Dodge City, Gluck and his family lived near the foot of Boot Hill Cemeterywhere cowboys who were “slow on the draw” were buried.

Sophia Gluck was esteemed for her charity work in Dodge City.

Gluck Residence on Front Street

Gluck Residence on Front Street

One son, Leo Gluck, grew up to be an outstanding consultant on mine engineering, a fine violinist, and connoisseur of rare violins.

Another son, Max Gluck, became a Chicago insurance man.

Their third son, Monte Gluck, became a jewelry manufacturer, operating in both New York and and Kansas City.

Gluck Family, 1914

Gluck Family, 1914

Adolph and Sophia lived to celebrate their 50th anniversary, which became a red letter community event.

Guests from New York and San Francisco poured in to celebrate with them.

 

Adolph Gluck died in 1917 in Kansas. His body was moved to and buried in St. Louis.

Sophia Gluck passed away in 1921.

 

Sources

  •  “Adolph Gluck: The Jewish Mayor of Wild and Wooly Dodge City Retires,” Jewish Voice of St. Louis, reprinted in Western States Jewish History 30/2.
  •  Harry L. Cary, “Adolph Gluck: The Jewish Mayor of Wild and Wooly Dodge City,” Western States Jewish History 29/4.

David Bittner is curator for this Adolph Gluck exhibit.

Thank you to Andrew Schwartz, a descendant of Sophia Loebner Gluck (3rd removed), for family pictures.