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Cody, Wyoming
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 31.626 W 109° 03.667
12T E 654065 N 4932247
Quick Description: Renowned as "The City That Buffalo Bill Built", Cody, Wyoming remains much a frontier town of just under 10,000 in the winter, many more in the summer.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 3/16/2018 6:16:18 PM
Waymark Code: WMXYC3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member 8Nuts MotherGoose
Views: 0

Long Description:
Today Cody, in its downtown core at least, retains the aura of a frontier town, having retained many of its turn of the century brick and stone buildings, which stretch for about four blocks along Sheridan Avenue. At the western end of Sheridan is the huge Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum. It is actually five museums rolled into one, consisting of the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indians Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, the Draper Natural History Museum and the Cody Firearms Museum. Just across the street to the east of it is the visitor centre, originally the Stock Center. Built in 1927, this is the building which housed the original Buffalo Bill Museum until 1958, when the first section of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West was built. Just east of the Stock Centre is the Park County courthouse, the first section of which was built in 1912, three years after Park County was cut out of Big Horn County.

Both its association with Buffalo Bill and its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, the nation's first national park, whose eastern boundary is but 25 miles away, have combined to make Cody a very popular tourist stop, bringing many thousands of visitors to the city each year.

CODY, 54.7 m. (5,018 alt., 1,800 pop.)

- on the Shoshone River, a vacation town at the western terminus of the Burlington's Frannie branch, are the headquarters of the Shoshone National Forest. Guides and dude wranglers are indistinguishable from the town's merchants and clerks, for, until deep snows end the tourist season, all wear bright silk shirts, cowhide vests, whipcords, high-heeled boots, and big hats. Visitors come in throngs. On Buffalo Bill Day (February 26), Cody celebrates, with a frontier ball and other entertainments, the anniversary of William F. Cody's birth. A Trappers' Ball, usually held in March, honors Bridger, Colter, the Sublettes, and others who trapped in the basin 50 years before settlers came. Guests appear in frontier costumes. The three day Cody Stampede, which includes Independence Day, features prizefighis, exhibitions of riding, and all modern rodeo acts. Cody is overrun by cowboys, cowgirls, cowmen, and cowwomen, all gay in fancy chaps, high heels, and fringed gauntlets. Indians in bright blankets and somber hats perform tribal dances.

The jagged Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, west of Cody, cradle glacial lakes and support vast forests. Highways and byroads lead to guest ranches and breathtaking timberline trails. Within a day's ride on horseback are wilderness pastures, where elk, deer, antelope, moose, and bighorn sheep graze.

The first Cody townsite was platted in the fall of 1895, near De Maris Springs, by George T. Beck, Horace Boal, and others. Buffalo Bill was then traveling with his Wild West Show. 'Horace and I had a talk,' Beck reported, 'and we concluded that as Cody was probably the best advertised man in the world, we might organize a company and make him president.' The company dug a canal to divert water from the South Fork of the Shoshone, and attracted homesteaders both by low rates and by the name of its president. Beck insisted that the town be moved up river to its present site, and Cody suggested his own name for the place; after some debate it was adopted. 'This did no harm to us, and it highly pleased the colonel,' said Beck. Within a year the Burlington built a branch from Frannie; when Park County was created in 1909, Cody became its seat. The first cabin, built by former Governor Frank L. Houx, is still standing.

From the beginning Cody was a true frontier town. When a missionary came to establish a church, some poker players in a saloon [one of which, naturally, is reputed to be Buffalo Bill] helped the good cause by giving him the pot. Cody was also one of the first Western towns to capitalize on its situation and atmosphere. Not many years after the Eaton brothers developed the dude ranch idea, and before Western States started seriously to build highways, the little shacktown became a vacation center and took full advantage of its proximity to the increasingly fashionable Yellowstone Park.
From the Wyoming, a Guide to its History, Highways, and People, Page 335

Though many believe that it was Buffalo Bill himself who was responsible for the building of the town of Cody, it really wasn't. The town was begun by a couple of Sheridan, WY businessmen, George T. Beck and Cody's son in law, Horace Boal, and others, who were the principals behind its establishment. This little city was originally named Richland when George T. Beck established the post office in 1895. It was also a couple of miles to the west of the present Cody, on land not owned by the promoters, so it was decided to move it to its present location. Astute promoters, they soon struck on the idea of associating their new town with a well known celebrity, and William Cody fit the bill perfectly. So well, in fact that he moved to Cody, after having the town named after him, and bought a ranch nearby, the T E Ranch, which he eventually expanded to about eight thousand acres, running about 1,000 head of "beef critters".

Older accounts have Cody more as a figurehead for the company which founded Cody, the town, and Cody as being the one who suggested the town be named after him. More recent accounts have Cody as a more active participant in the town's creation and development and the other developers as being the ones who suggested the town be named after him. With a larger than life figure such as Cody, more than a century after the fact it becomes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff in the Buffalo Bill saga. The dime novels of Ned Buntline, with "Buffalo Bill" as hero, have doubtless aided in the creation of the myth vs man dilemma.

In any event Cody was apparently at least somewhat involved in the development of the area as, in 1895, Cody, Beck and a host of others formed the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company, establishing the town and a large irrigation project to bring water to the surrounding area from the Shoshone River, a little over 6 miles to the west. This resulted in Cody's convincing his friend, President Teddy Roosevelt, to establish the Bureau of Reclamation and to build the Shoshone Dam and Reservoir, later to be renamed the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir. Overall an inspired idea, it enabled homesteading of the surrounding farmland and ensured a stable population base for the town of Cody. In 1899 Cody established a newspaper in the town which remains in operation to this day, The Cody Enterprise. In 1901 Cody built the Irma Hotel, still one the biggest tourist draws in Cody, naming it after the youngest of his three daughters.

Cody was born near Le Claire, Iowa on February 26, 1846, moving to the town . His boyhood home was donated by his descendents and eventually wound up as a display at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum. Cody and his father started for the California gold fields in 1857, but his father died in Kansas. Left to fend for himself while still less than 12 years of age, Cody, already a skilful horseman, found work with a freighting outfit. Only a year later he found himself headed to Salt Lake City, herding cattle, food for Federal soldiers. It is said that at this time, on or near the Platte River, he killed an Indian. By the age of 15 (some say 14) he was riding for the Pony Express, if only for a few months. During the Civil War, Cody served as a frontier scout for Northern armies, and later becoming one of only four civilian scouts to be awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars for valor in action. He acquired his nickname still later, when, having contracted to supply buffalo meat for Kansas Pacific Railroad construction workers, by his own account, he killed 4,280 bison in a span of 18 months. After his buffalo hunting days ended, Cody toured America and Europe with his Wild West Show, for a time becoming the most widely known American in the world. During off seasons, he visited old stamping grounds and guided hunting expeditions. He died in Denver in 1917.


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