Cody Looks Ahead to 125th Anniversary and Other Milestones in 2021
CODY, Wyo., July 29, 2020– Westward expansion was in full swing in the late 1800s, propelled by a new transcontinental railroad, the establishment of Yellowstone National Park and a restless population yearning for something – anything – beyond the industrial trappings of Eastern cities. Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody – a visionary whose skills at self-promotion had already been well-honed performing the Wild West Show around the world – decided that “something” should be a welcoming, one-of-a-kind Western town.
And all those Easterners? After riding that train for days, they checked into the town’s hotels and dude ranches, donned cowboy hats, developed saddle sores, fished, explored nearby Yellowstone National Park and had an all-around grand time in rugged northwest Wyoming. More than a century later, visitors from the East as well as around the country are arriving by plane, car and motorcoach to experience many of the same adventures.
Next year, that town Buffalo Bill Cody famously created and named after himself will celebrate its 125th anniversary, one of many milestones in Cody and Yellowstone.
“Cody is a bit of an anomaly among modern-day Western tourism towns because it grew organically and authentically,” said Claudia Wade, director of Cody Yellowstone, the marketing arm of the region that includes the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park. “It’s easy to imagine Buffalo Bill Cody effortlessly driving a horse-drawn carriage down the town’s wide streets because that’s exactly what he did.”
That authenticity can still be experienced by visitors today, said Wade. “You don’t have to go far to find evidence of Buffalo Bill’s vision, whether exploring the dam that was pivotal to this town’s success or staying in the hotel he built. Reviewing historic milestones is a good way to understand and appreciate our region’s colorful history.”
Notable anniversaries in Cody, Powell and Meeteetse:
125th anniversary of the town of Cody. Buffalo Bill passed through the Bighorn Basin for the first time in the 1870s, and it was then that he thought the combination of scenery, wildlife and rich soil as well as the location 52 miles from Yellowstone would be a perfect spot for a tourism-focused frontier town. After winding down the international performances of his famous Wild West Show, Cody returned to the region and began scoping sites and seeking investors. The town was founded in 1896 and incorporated in 1901. There are many ways to learn more about Buffalo Bill and the town he founded, such as the McCracken Research Library and the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
10th anniversary of Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. One of the bleakest periods in Cody Yellowstone history was the three-year period after Pearl Harbor when some 14,000 Japanese Americans – most from California – were confined at the Heart Mountain WWII Confinement Site in a hastily assembled camp on barren, windswept land near Powell, about 15 miles from Cody. The Interpretive Center tells the stories of the Americans confined to the camp through photographs, artifacts, oral histories and interactive exhibits. Dedicated on Aug. 20, 2011, the Center has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, 2012 Interior Exhibit Award, 2012 Excellence in Exhibition Award for Eloquent Presentation of Topic and 2012 Harriett “Liz” Byrd Award.
30th anniversary of the Cody Firearms Museum. Founded in 1991, this is one of five museums at the Smithsonian-affiliated Buffalo Bill Center of the West. With more than 7,000 firearms and 30,000 firearms-related artifacts, the museum houses the most comprehensive collection of American firearms in the world. The museum completed a full redesign and reinstallation in 2019. The new museum exhibits thousands of firearms through engaging and interpretive displays that contextualize the various roles firearms have played throughout history.
70th anniversary of the Cody Mural. Unveiled in 1951, the Historic Cody Mural offers a powerful glimpse into the lives of Mormon pioneers in the late 1800s. The mural was painted by artist Edward T. Grigware on the rotunda of Cody’s Church of Latter-day Saints Chapel.
40th anniversary of the Plains Indian Powwow. Each June, visitors from around the world gather at the lawn outside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West to experience the athleticism and beauty of a traditional pow wow. Dancers from American Indian tribes throughout the West compete for prizes in competitive categories including traditional, grass, fancy and jingle. The event is sponsored by the Plains Indian Museum.
95th anniversary of the Dude Ranchers Association. The Dude Ranchers Association was established in 1926 when several ranch owners established standards to accommodate the growing numbers of travelers whose trek to the West had become increasingly popular with railroad expansions. Today, more than 100 ranches belong to the association, including working dude ranches, traditional guest ranches and resort-style ranches.
Notable anniversaries in Yellowstone National Park:
85th anniversary of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. The recently renovated Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel is situated near the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Built in 1936, the hotel features a variety of room choices and experiences. Its signature Map Room contains a large wooden map of the United States constructed from 15 kinds of wood.
5th anniversary of the renovation of Canyon Lodge. The single largest lodging facility in the park, Canyon Lodge underwent a massive two-year redevelopment with a focus on sustainable construction. The renovation was completed in 2016. With 500 rooms and cabins, Canyon Lodge now features five LEED-certified lodge buildings.
135th anniversary of the U.S. Army’s arrival in Yellowstone National Park. In 1886, 14 years after the establishment of Yellowstone as the world’s first national park, the U.S. Army arrived to provide management and law enforcement, setting up an Army fort at Mammoth Hot Springs. Army cavalry soldiers patrolled the park’s massive interior and prosecuted poachers and others who threatened the park’s treasures and wildlife until 1918.
105th anniversary of the National Park Service Organic Act, which created a new agency whose sole purpose was to manage national parks.
150th anniversary of the first Hayden Expedition. The Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 led by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, surveyed the rugged northwestern Wyoming region and documented its many unusual features. The results of the survey prompted U.S. Congress to pass legislation creating the world’s first national park the following year.
Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations