Yesterday at the visitor center, we purchased combo tickets for the trolley tour and the museum. Whenever we are in a place that gives these trolley tours, we love to take them. We learn so much about the town and area.
So our tour today was for 9 AM and we were picked up by the trolley at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and off we went on a history and geology tour of Cody and the area.
Our tour guides were great and very entertaining. I did not take many pictures – very hard to do thru the trolley windows and crowded trolley but we did have fun.
Buffalo Bill Cody did a lot for the town of Cody and left a great legacy:
“Buffalo Bill is such a big deal to our town because he not only founded the town, but he established the five things needed to assure Cody’s growth and survival:
Water: Buffalo Bill donated his water rights and lobbied the federal government to build the Buffalo Bill Dam that created the reservoir that supplies our drinking and irrigation water today.
Communication: Buffalo Bill founded the Cody Enterprise in 1899 and the newspaper still operates as Cody’s oldest continuously running business.
Transportation: Buffalo Bill made a deal with the railroad to build three hotels between here and Yellowstone if the railroad would build a spur to Cody. Both parties upheld the deal and the railroad arrived in Cody in 1901.
Lodging: Buffalo Bill built the Irma Hotel which opened November 1, 1902. This was the first of three hotels Buffalo built to fulfill his railroad deal. The second was between Cody and Yellowstone (one day’s horse ride) and has been demolished. The third was Pahaska Tepee (two day’s horse ride) one mile before the east gate to Yellowstone. This was also used as Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge and still operates today.
Tourism: Buffalo Bill created a fifth major need that assures Cody’s survival today. He scouted, blazed and financed the third entrance to Yellowstone National Park — our very own East Gate. Buffalo Bill had to lobby the federal government to authorize the new entrance. Did you notice that to get to or from the east gate you have to travel right through downtown Cody? Buffalo Bill’s vision is still feeding Cody 100 years later.”
How about that!
Here is another interesting story about Buffalo Bill’s burial site and the town of Cody:
“While thousands of people visit William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's gravesite on Lookout Mountain just outside Denver each year, many residents of Cody, Wyoming, believe Cody is actually buried on Cedar Mountain overlooking their town. The legend behind this belief is one involving a bold plan, a middle-of the-night trip to a Denver mortuary and an unlucky ranch hand bearing a likeness to Buffalo Bill.
While visiting relatives in Denver in the spring of 1917, Buffalo Bill Cody died. Soon after, his wife Louisa arrived to claim his body and settle his affairs. While in Denver, Louisa was approached by representatives from the Denver Post newspaper and the city of Denver who offered her $10,000 each to bury Cody in the area where they felt his grave would be a tourist attraction.
Although Bill Cody was at one time regarded as the best-known person in the world and his Wild West Show incredibly popular and profitable, he was also prone to bad investments and was extremely generous. As a result, he and his wife were broke when he died, and Louisa accepted the offer.
When Louisa returned to Wyoming and the town of Cody, its residents turned out to greet her with the expectation that she was bringing the town's founder home to be buried. The townsfolk were shocked and more than a little upset when Louisa informed them that she had sold Cody's body and that he was to be buried in Denver.
Among those who were unhappy were the town's undertaker and two of Buffalo Bill's old friends, Fred Richard and Ned Frost. These three hatched a plan to travel to Denver to switch bodies and bury Cody on Cedar Mountain where he had often said he wanted his final resting place to be. When a local ranch hand died and his body went unclaimed, the three put their plan in motion. After trimming the unfortunate ranch hand's beard in the Buffalo Bill style, the three loaded the body in the undertaker's vehicle and drove for two and a half days to Denver.
At the mortuary, the undertaker, Frost and Richard presented themselves as old friends of Cody and asked if they could view his body. After their request was granted, the three returned later that night, switched bodies and left for Wyoming. "All the way home they were convinced that the sheriff in every town they drove through was waiting to arrest them," says Bob Richard, Fred Richard's grandson. "Instead, they returned to Cody and buried Buffalo Bill on Cedar Mountain overlooking his town."
Once they had completed their job, they proceeded to make the rounds to all 13 of Cody's saloons where they riled up the townsfolk and convinced them they should all go to Denver to bring Buffalo Bill back to be buried where he belonged. A caravan of 100 cars with three to four men in each then left for Denver. In Denver, meanwhile, the locals heard about the plan to retrieve Cody's body, and they hurriedly and unsuspectingly buried the ranch hand's body on Lookout Mountain even though permission to do so had not been granted. For good measure, 20 tons of concrete was poured on top of the casket.
The final resting place of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody is a closely guarded secret. Bob Richard and other townsfolk who know where it is share the location with just a select few people they know and trust. They will say that it is on private property on Cedar Mountain, but as with any good legend, there are always a few details that must be left up to the imagination.”
I really like that story –
The trolley dropped us off at the Buffalo Bill Center of the Museum where we spent a good portion of the rest of our day. The museum is actually 5 museums in one: Buffalo Bill Center, Plains Indian Museum, Natural History Museum, Firearms Museum and Art Museum. So much to see – it was overwhelming.
We started out at the Plains Indian Museum where I fell in love with this incredible beadwork:
Teeth – amazing:
Check out this hat:
More beautiful beadwork:
From there, Andy went to the gun museum and I went to the Natural History Museum:
An example of a naturalist’s cabin:
They did a great job on the displays. The theme was to start out at an alpine environment and go down to a meadow environment with a few levels of displays in between. Each level had examples of plants, animals, videos, books – so much to take in.
Pictures along the way:
Andy found me in the Natural History Museum. At the bottom of the ramp where the meadow environment was located was another set of stairs down. This led to the research area and labs.
This was one part of that floor/area:
This place was amazing – reminds so much of the Smithsonian.
We had lunch in their cafeteria and continued to the Buffalo Bill Museum.
“William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), in Le Claire but he grew up for several years in his father's hometown in Canada before his family moved to the Kansas Territory.
Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven after his father's death, and became a rider for the Pony Express at age 14. During the American Civil War, he served from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout to the US Army during the Indian Wars, receiving the Medal of Honor in 1872. One of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill became famous for the Wild West shows he organized with cowboy themes, which he toured in Great Britain and Europe as well as the United States.”
His show employed more than 700 people and many animals. Plus he traveled all over the world with his group. This is what it took to feed them:
What a wonderful museum. We do have another day on our ticket but I think we need a break – it was overwhelming!
We came back home, took a rest, then went back to town to the Irma Hotel:
Where they have a mock shootout every night. Buffalo Bill:
And his crew:
It was kind of hokey but still fun. One thing I really liked was at the beginning he honored our military and veterans.
We finished the night by having dinner at the Elks Lodge – another great time and another great day!