Buffalo Bill Cody was the most famous man in the world in the years around 1900 and he founded our town of Cody in 1895.
Sharpshooter Annie Oakley was likely the most famous woman in the world during this same time due to her worldwide performances with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.
Wild Bill Hickok is commonly mixed up with Buffalo Bill but was famous in his own right. Buffalo Bill & Wild Bill were actually friends.
Still Cool Today
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.
We Bring Buffalo Bill To Life
Our “Best of Cody” trolley tour shares the Buffalo Bill story while we take you past the amenities he created that still stand today. You’ll also learn about Annie Oakley, “Little Sure Shot,” the amazing sharpshooter who traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West for 17 seasons.