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Maps and Trivia: Who Could ask for More?

November 5th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

There are a couple of things (maybe more, just saying) about me that my friends like to tease.

One is that I love trivia. While some might comment on my recall of factoids and say that I am full of “useless knowledge,” I say that you never know when an item can spark a conversation or lead to something truly fascinating. I explained once to a friend’s daughter that Telluride, Colorado got its moniker from miners who shortened “To Hell You Ride” into the town’s name. She rolled her eyes like all good teenagers do and left the room. A few weeks later I caught her in the act of retelling one of her friends what I had shared.

She doesn’t tease me anymore, and we always get a good laugh.

A second quirk I have is that I love looking at maps. I get this from my dad who would spread out state and national maps on the kitchen table where he would plan a route for our vacations or holiday visits. The two of us would have deep discussions about tolls, speed limits, timing and such until we agreed on our best route to get two states over.

One of my friends spotted Read More


Enduring Friendships – With Fireworks

October 30th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

We all have that one friend. Or if we are supremely lucky, those handful of friends. Whatever you need, you can count on them, even if you don’t know you need it.

They are the ones who bring you homemade chicken soup when you are sick or teasingly bully you into doing another set of squats at the gym. They offer advice when asked and listen to your woes without judgment. And they always – always – defend and promote your honor.

Buffalo Bill Cody had one of those friends, and her name was Caroline.

Thing is, they weren’t particularly close.

Caroline Lockhart was a barrier-breaker just like the founder of the town where she chose to move. A successful novelist at a time when most women in the country didn’t even have the right to vote, the ambitious, talented and nationally famous Lockhart had produced several bestselling novels by the early 1900s. She was wry, quick-witted and an intuitive news-maker.

She also was notorious. She drank hard liquor at a time when many prominent citizens enthusiastically supported the coming Prohibition. She had many male friends, but she never married. She was also sentimental, and she loved the Old West. She celebrated with her pen Read More


The Do-Good Sinners of Cody

October 5th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Every frontier town had its ramblers, gamblers, “sportin’” women and robbers, and Cody was no exception. While many of these less-than-upstanding souls were downright dangerous – just ask the families of the doctor who was mysteriously murdered right on his doorstep or the First National Bank cashier who was shot by robbers in 1904 – some had a soft side that emerged at the oddest times.

Picture a group of frontiersmen, including Buffalo Bill Cody, sitting around playing cards, boisterous, trash-talking, drinking. The year was 1902. It was a big year in Cody. The town had been incorporated one year earlier, with a population of 300 citizens, and growing. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad had completed the spur from Toluca to Cody. Buffalo Bill Cody opened the Irma Hotel that year. Named for his daughter, the Irma was promoted as the most modern hotel in the Rockies. And Buffalo Bill’s dream of damming the Shoshone River to supply water to his town and the surrounding ranchland was coming to fruition.

The country was experiencing the push of modernization, and citizens of all stripes were learning to adapt. Butch Cassidy, Harry Longabaugh and Etta Place had taken their well-honed bank-robbing skills on the road to South America by then. Stagecoaches were still being Read More


Getting Ready for a Great Dam Day

July 27th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

On August 18th I’m going to have a great dam day. That’s when the Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center will stage its annual “Great Dam Day,” a celebration of one of the most extraordinary engineering accomplishments in the West. The free event includes a hike down the “old dam road,” kids events and interpretive information on display in the visitor center.

I try to always participate in this fun celebration, as it reminds me of the extraordinary accomplishments and uncommon determination of our town’s founder, Buffalo Bill Cody.

Corrie will be participating in the annual Great Dam Day to celebrate the town of Cody’s showcase Buffalo Bill Dam. Photos courtesy of the Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center.

Not only was he a world-renowned showman, Buffalo Bill possessed unusual logistical abilities and the brain of an engineer. When he selected a barren, windswept region of northwestern Wyoming for the namesake town he would develop, Cody knew that its success would depend on the most valuable resource in the American West: water.

Buffalo Bill wanted his town to become the tourism mecca that it is, and he knew that a dependable water source was essential not only for residents and visitors but also Read More


I Found My New House

July 8th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

It seems everybody has a neighborhood in their town that they always wanted to live in. Maybe it’s the mid-century architecture, the mature trees or views of the lake (or mountains or city lights) that have always appealed to them. I’ve known quite a few people who worked hard and saved to make their dreams of living in a specific part of town happen.

I’m like those friends. There’s the coolest lineup of houses in Cody that, while the structures could use a few updates, simply calls to me. No matter how many hours I work and vacations I forgo, however, I will probably never be allowed to live in this neighborhood.

I’m talking about the collection of old homestead cabins near the rodeo grounds and site of the original downtown Cody. Old Trail Town does not actually house anyone even though I promise I would not be a bother, would not dramatically alter any of the original designs except for some reasonable improvements and would keep the number of visitors to a minimum. Dan Miller would only count as one, regardless of how many times he stops by, right?

Old Trail Town is the brainchild of one of Cody’s great characters. Bob Read More


The Woman Who Wrangled the Cody Stampede

June 26th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

When hundreds of celebrants gather at the Cody Stampede grounds on July 4 to experience the 99th-annual Cody Stampede Rodeo, they can thank the relentless efforts of Caroline Lockhart for the fun.

The everyday frustrations of running the Cody Stampede caused Caroline Lockhart to complain that she didn’t have enough time to pursue her passion of horseback riding. ( Archival photos courtesy of theAmerican Heritage Center.)

A prominent citizen who had earned fame and financial independence as author of Western novels – some which were made into major movies – it was Lockhart’s vision that led to the creation of the world-renowned Cody Stampede, which is consistently named one of the top rodeos in the world.

Caroline Lockhart flouted societal norms such as drinking alcohol at a time most citizens supportedProhibition. She was known to through raucous drinking parties at her home.

Lockhart was well-known to the citizens of Cody, and she gleefully flouted societal norms. At a time when traditional domestic life was the primary option for women, she juggled multiple boyfriends but never married. She unapologetically and publicly drank when most Cody citizens voted for Prohibition. She was a passionate horsewoman who jubilantly supported almost any initiative that promoted Western Read More


Check out the new Cody Heritage Museum

June 18th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Yet another top-flight museum is already making its mark in Cody Yellowstone Country. After years of laying the groundwork, the new Cody Heritage Museum has opened in the historic DeMaris House on Sheridan Avenue. I think Charles and Nellie DeMaris would be tickled to see what has become of their family home.

The tiny museum packs a lot of Cody history into a small space. I spent an engaging afternoon recently perusing the photographs, artifacts and documents artfully displayed throughout the museum.

The DeMaris home is a fitting place for exhibits of historic treasures from throughout the region, including Cody, neighborhoods along the North Fork and South Fork of the Shoshone, Greybull and Crandall.

Charles and Nellie DeMaris built the house in 1907 so their son Bill could go to school in town. The house was the only building on the block until the Park County Courthouse was developed in 1912. After Charles and Nellie died, their son Bill continued to live in the upstairs of the house while a variety of businesses occupied the main level. At various times, the building has housed a bar, a law firm, a real estate firm and offices for the Fire District. The house was slated for demolition when the Park County Commissioners agreed to lease it Read More


The most interesting man in the world is…

April 18th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

…not that Dos Equis guy. And I can prove it. Gone from this Earth for 101 years now, Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody is more interesting by far than the guy in the commercials. Although I must admit that Augustin Legrand, the actor who plays “the most interesting man in the world” in the beer ads has a pretty striking beard, almost as striking as Buffalo Bill’s.

But judge for yourself. Here’s a look at some of the claims made by That Dos Equis Guy (TDEG for short) and the true feats of Buffalo Bill Cody. Let the smackdown begin:

TDEG: “His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.”

What a joke. Did TDEG and his beard hunt and shoot 68 buffalo in eight hours like Cody did to win a competition for the Buffalo Bill nickname? That’s about one every seven minutes, Mr. TDEG. The crew of the railroad where Buffalo Bill was working was well-fed for many days after that event. Did you ever feed a crew of hungry railroad workers, Mr. TDEG.? I didn’t think so.

TDEG: “If he were to mail a letter without postage, it would still get there.”

But would he carry that letter himself? By the time he was 14, Read More


125 Pounds of Grit: Buffalo Bill and the...

March 26th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Yesterday, drivers from the trifecta of home delivery services – the U. S. Postal Service, UPS and Federal Express – rang the doorbell at my home in Cody and dropped off packages with an inane array of everyday stuff: shampoo, batteries, a shirt and some athletic shoes. It reminded me of just how easy it is for packages to be delivered from there to here these days. But I still prefer to buy my Dan Miller CDs in person.

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody would have been amused, I think. He was just 11 when his father died, leaving behind a wife, four daughters and William. As the only man in the family, off to work went William.

Most of his early jobs involved getting stuff from one place to another. He drove an ox-team at the age of 11, became a messenger boy on a westbound bull train at the age of 12 and was promoted to assistant wagon master at 13. When he turned 14 – an age when boys today are playing “Zombicide Black Plague” (I’m not kidding; that’s what my sister’s 14-year- old son plays with his friends) – Buffalo Bill Cody embarked on his third career: Pony Read More


Ask Corrie: a visitors’ guide to Cody...

March 21st, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In just a couple of months, the streets of Cody’s Sheridan Avenue will be teeming with visitors from around the world, and I can hardly wait. It is always thrilling when I hear so many different languages spoken on our streets. It’s also great fun to chat with visitors from the East when it is their first trip to the Western part of the country.

We locals often are asked a broad range of questions about our beloved little corner of Wyoming, and we are always delighted to chat with our out-of- town guests. Here are some answers to common questions:

Who is the most famous person to visit Cody?

Buffalo Bill Cody was the most famous man in the world when his Wild West Show was in full swing, so even though he’s the town founder he’s also the most famous person to walk the streets. There have been plenty of others. Ernest Hemingway stayed at the Chamberlin Inn down the street from the Irma Hotel, and Buffalo Bill hosted the Prince of Monaco at Pahaska Tepee.

Pahaska what?

That’s the name of the hunting lodge Buffalo Bill built just outside the east entrance to Yellowstone. He liked to host famous guests there. They’d hunt in the forest and fish in the Shoshone Read More