There are no highway signs outside Dodge City announcing this was his home, but he is in the Ring of Honor at the Dodge City High School Commons.

Frederick "Fred" Lee Hall was born in Dodge City on July 24, 1916 and graduated from Dodge City High School. His success on the debate team got him a scholarship to the University of Southern California where he earned a B.A. in 1938. Here he was on the International Debating Team. He continued at U.S.C., obtaining his degree in law. Around this time, he married Leadell Schneider.

Due to failing his physical exam, he couldn’t serve in World War II. From 1942 to 1944 he was assistant director of the Combined Production and Resources Board in Washington, D.C. Here he coordinated production planning with Britain and Canada.

Hall returned to Kansas setting up law offices in both Topeka and Dodge City. He was Ford County attorney from 1947 to 1949. In 1950, voters elected him as Republican Lieutenant Governor of Kansas and he served two two-year terms.

In 1954, Hall defeated George Docking in the Gubernatorial race and he took the oath of office on Jan. 10, 1955. Actions during his term included the firing of the Director of the State Purchasing Agency, authorization of a high school aid law, the organization of the Water Resource Commission and his vetoing of a "right to work" bill.

When Hall was governor, he traveled to Denver with the Dodge City delegation in their unsuccessful bid to house the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Dodge City. In the 1956 primary election, fellow Republican Warren Shaw ran against and prevailed over Hall. Democrat George Docking subsequently defeated Shaw in the general election.

During Hall’s time as a lame duck governor, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Smith was contemplating retirement. However, Smith didn’t want Democrat Docking selecting his replacement. Coincidently, Smith was a strong supporter of Hall. Outgoing Governor Hall, his outgoing Lieutenant Governor, John McCuish, and Justice Smith initiated the "triple play of 1956" which ensured everything worked in both Smith and Hall’s favor.

Chief Justice Smith resigned on Dec. 31, 1956. Gov. Hall followed suit when he resigned on Jan. 3, 1957, which left McCuish as governor for a total of 11 days. McCuish’s only official act as governor was appointing former Gov. Fred Hall as Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

At the time, this sequence of actions was controversial. Many deemed it unethical. However, the actions by these three individuals was perfectly legal.

Hall served just a little more than a year as Chief Justice, resigning in the spring of 1958 to campaign again for the governorship. His attempt at retaking the office was unsuccessful.

He moved to California to take a position with Aerojet General Corporation. Later, he returned to Dodge City to resume practicing law.

Fred Hall died at the age of 53 on March 18, 1970 in Shawnee, Kansas, and is interred at Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge City.

 

Kathie Bell is the curator of collections and education at Boot Hill Museum.