Cody's History

CODY'S HISTORY

Colonel William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody first entered the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming in the 1870's with Professor O.C. March, distinguished geologist of Yale University, who was making a study of the natural resources of the West. The tremendous possibilities for development of land through irrigation, the rich soil, the grandeur of the scenery, the abundance of fish and game, and the proximity of Yellowstone National Park, all were influencing factors in the decision of Colonel Cody to return during the mid 1890's.

The Colonel and several friends came to the area with the avowed purpose of land development and the building of a community. The original town site selected was located at the east end of the Shoshone Canyon, but was later moved to the present site of the city. At the insistence of Colonel Cody's fellow developers, the site was named Cody in 1895. Streets were laid out and named for General Phil Sheridan and the originators of the community. By 1902, the town was incorporated and Colonel Cody opened his famous "Hotel in the Rockies", the Irma, named after his youngest daughter. In the same year, he induced the Burlington Railroad to build a spur into the new town, and pioneered a road to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The famous TE Ranch, some thirty-five miles southwest of Cody, was established as a horse and cattle ranch and hide-away for brief periods of rest.

To bolster the economy of the struggling new town, Colonel Cody persuaded his friend, President Teddy Roosevelt, to establish the Bureau of Reclamation and to build the Shoshone Dam and Reservoir, later renamed the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir. With the completion of this dam, the highest in the world at the time, the community was established soundly in the irrigation and electric power fields. Also through his friendship with the President, Buffalo Bill helped establish the first great National Forest, the Shoshone, and the first Ranger Station, at Wapiti. The organization in 1901 of the Cody Club, Cody's Chamber of Commerce, the Cody Stampede and Rodeo in 1922, the dedication of the various structures of the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association, including the Gertrude Whitney Statue of Colonel Cody in 1924, the Buffalo Bill Museum in 1927, and the Whitney Gallery of Western Art in 1959, have all been steps in the development of the city.

Perhaps the greatest asset of Buffalo Bill's home town of Cody is the continuation of the spirit of individual accomplishment, western hospitality, honesty, and friendliness, and joint cooperation of the citizens as was instilled in the early settlers by the "Old Scout". That spirit still prevails and is manifested today on the streets and in the homes of Cody Country people.

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HISTORIC TIMELINE

1846

William F. Cody born in Scott County, Iowa, February 26. Bill has two older sisters, Martha (1835-1858), and Julia (1843-1928), and an older brother, Samuel (1841-1853).

1848

Eliza Cody, a sister is born (d.1902).

1849

The Cody's move to LeClaire, Iowa into the famous "boyhood home."

1850

Helen Cody, a sister is born (d.1911).

1853

Samuel, Bill's brother, is killed in a riding accident.

1854

Cody family moves to Fort Leavenworth Kansas.

1855

Charles Cody, a brother is born (d. 1926).

1857

Isaac Cody, Bill's father dies. Russell, Majors and Waddell hire Bill as a mounted messenger.

1858

Bill works as a bullwhacker for a wagon train; goes to Ft. Laramie.

1859

Bill spends the winter trapping beaver.

1860

Bill joins the gold rush to Pike's Peak, Colorado.

1861

Cody probably spends a few months riding for the Pony Express.

1862

Cody joins a Jayhawker band, a guerilla group loyal to the union.

1863

Mary Laycock Cody, Bill's mother dies.

1864

Bill enlists in the 7th Kansas Volunteer Calvary.

1866

Cody marries Louisa Frederici on March 6. On December 16, daughter Arta was born.

1867

Earns the nickname "Buffalo Bill" as a buffalo hunter for the rail road.

1868

Appointed Chief of Scouts for the 5th U.S. Calvary. On winter campaign Bill leads the rescue of a troop guided by Wild Bill Hickok.

1869

Bill guides the 5th Cavalry to victory at Summit Springs, Colorado; Ned Buntline writes the first dime novel with Buffalo Bill as the hero.

1870

The Cody's only son, Kit Carson Cody, is born at Ft. McPherson, Nebraska.

1872

Cody wins Medal of Honor. Bill guides the hunting party of Grand Duke Alexis of Russia. Cody's daughter Orra is born.

1873

Cody, with Buntline and John B. "Texas Jack" Onohundro, forms the Buffalo Bill Combination. Hickok joins Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill in the stage play.

1874

Cody guides Col. Anson Mills' Big Horn Expedition.

1875

Cody lives with his family in Rochester, New York.

1876

Famous fight with Yellow Hand (actually Yellow Hair) July 17. The Cody's son Kit dies April 20.

1878

Cody establishes the Dismal River Ranch in Nebraska with Frank North.

1879

As a public figure, Cody begins speaking out for Indian rights; publishes the first and only authentic auto-biography.

1882

On July 4, Cody organizes the "Old Glory Blowout" at North Platte, Nebraska.

1883

February 9, daughter Irma Louise is born; daughter Orra dies on October 24. The first Wild West at the American Exhibition in London.

1884

Annie Oakley joins the Wild West Show.

1885

Sitting Bull joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

1886

Cody builds his Scout's Rest Ranch at North Platte, Nebraska.

1887

Cody is appointed Colonel of National Guard, Nebraska. Introduces Europe to the Wild West at the American Exhibition in London.

1889

Cody takes the Wild West to France and Tours Europe for four years.

1890

Cody is requested by General Miles to attempt a conference with Sitting Bull.

1892

The "Rough Riders of the World" introduced to Wild West.

1893

Wild West opens near the World's Columbian Exhibition, Chicago, Illinois.

1894

Cody speaks out for women's suffrage and conservation issues.

1895

Cody establishes the TE Ranch and helps found Cody, Wyoming.

1898 The Trans-Missouri Exposition declares August 31 "Cody Day".

1899

Cody establishes a newspaper, The Cody Enterprise.

1900

Begins spending large sums for irrigation and other projects in Wyoming.

1902

Cody's longtime partner, Nate Salsbury dies. Cody forms a mining company and begins investing heavily at Oracle, Arizona.

1903

The Wild West tours England and Europe for four years.

1904

Cody's daughter Arta dies.

1905

Construction begins on the Shoshone, later Buffalo Bill dam.

1908

Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill merge their shows into Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Far East Combined.

1910

Cody begins a series of Farewell Tours.

1912

Buffalo Bill plays Santa Claus for miners' children at Oracle, Arizona.

1913

Wild West show bankrupt at Denver Colorado. Cody forms a motion picture company to produce a film on the Indian Wars.

1914

Cody tours unhappily for two years with the Sella-Floto Circus.

1916

Cody, with the 101 Ranch Show, urges military preparedness.

1917

On January 10, Cody dies in Denver Co, In June he is buried on Lookout Mountain, Colorado. The Buffalo Bill Memorial Association is chartered in Cody, Wyoming on March 1.

1918

The post-war flu epidemic claims the lives of daughter Irma and her husband, Fred Garlow.

1921

Louisa Cody dies in Cody, Wyoming, and is buried on Lookout Mountain, Colorado.

1923-1924

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney creates a sculpture entitled "The Scout". to be placed in Cody, Wyoming. It is dedicated on July 4, 1924.

1925

The Cody Family Association is organized in Chicago, Oct 27.

1927

The Buffalo Bill Museum opens in Cody, Wyoming, July 4.

1933

Buffalo Bill's boyhood home is moved to Cody, Wyoming.

1949 The boyhood home is deeded to the BBMA.

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