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Cody Yellowstone Celebrating Notable Anniversaries in 2021

CODY, Wyo., January 12, 2021– It’s been called the “most charming small town” in Wyoming, one of the “best small towns for history lovers,” and “best destination for nature-lovers” and the charm, authenticity and wide open spaces of Cody will be on full display as this revered gateway to Yellowstone National Park celebrates its 125th anniversary and other notable events in 2021.

“Founded by an American legend whose flamboyant Wild West Show entertained and inspired audiences around the globe, Cody is a classic Western town,” 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.  “Cody is an anomaly among modern-day Western tourism towns because it grew organically, and there is evidence of Buffalo Bill Cody’s leadership and vision throughout the town.”

Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody founded the town that bears his name in 1896. The town was incorporated five years later. The 125th anniversary of Cody is one of many notable anniversaries in the region this year.

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 first 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

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It has been 10 years since the Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center opened.

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 post-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

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The Cody Firearms Museum is celebrating 30 years.

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.

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.

5th anniversary of the Wild West Spectacular. This award-winning musical production is staged in the historic Cody Theater for six weeks during the summer. The 90-minute performance tells the story of Buffalo Bill Cody’s dream of becoming the world’s greatest showman through high-energy songs and dances performed by talented performers from around the region. The show has been awarded “Best Wild West Show” by True West Magazine.

Notable anniversaries in Yellowstone National Park:

85th anniversary of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.  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.

Looking ahead to 2022

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone, turns 150. In 1872, the U.S. government had the foresight to pass the “Yellowstone National Park Protection Act,” which says, “the headwaters of the Yellowstone River…is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy or sale…and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” That single act inspired leaders around the world to set aside their own countries’ treasures, and there are now more than 6,555 parks around the world. In the United States, there are 423 National Park Service-managed sites with a variety of designations including national parks, historic sites, rivers, memorials, monuments, battlefields, preserves and recreation areas.




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.


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Media contact:

Mesereau Travel Public Relations


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An archive photo of people in a car and on horseback in Cody, Wyoming