What’s New and Notable in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country in 2017
CODY, Wyo., October 13, 2016 – With openings of new tourism-enhancing attractions, the centennial of the National Park Service and numerous other notable milestones, 2016 has been an eventful year in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country. And next year is shaping up to be another big year that will certainly support Cody’s strengthening position as an authentic Western destination and the preferred gateway into Yellowstone National Park.
“With so many big events and milestones, 2016 has felt like one big celebration,” said Claudia Wade, executive director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm of the destination. “The fun will continue into next year, as we celebrate a new round of anniversaries and events that showcase the evolution of Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country. We think our town’s founder would have been immensely proud.”
What’s New and Notable in 2017
· 100th anniversary of the death of Buffalo Bill Cody. The legendary showman’s death in Denver on January 10, 1917 and his controversial June burial – funded by The Denver Post and local legislators — is still a matter of legend and intrigue today. Some long-time Cody residents are convinced the town’s founder is buried on Cody’s Lookout Mountain – as was his wish — not in a grave in suburban Denver.
· 100th anniversary of the formation of the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association, which started the Buffalo Bill Museum, the first of five museums of Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Formed just weeks after Cody died, the association’s modest museum has morphed into a world-class facility with five museums and an acclaimed research library under one massive roof. The museums include the Buffalo Bill Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum and Cody Firearms Museum. The Center is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. A recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for 2013, 2014, and 2015, the Center was recently named the “Top Western Museum” by True West magazine.
· 15th anniversary of the Draper Natural History Museum. With internationally acclaimed exhibits focusing on the ecology and natural history of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Draper museum’s exhibits are presented as the “Greater Yellowstone Adventure,” with three interconnected galleries – the Expedition Trailhead, Alpine-to-Plains Trail and Seasons of Discovery. The Draper was the first American natural history museum established in the 21st century.
· 130th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, where Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show was the main attraction. The show continued to tour throughout Europe for years. The much-chronicled friendship between Buffalo Bill and Queen Victoria was lauded by international diplomats and citizens on both sides of the ocean. As a gesture of goodwill and thanks, the queen sent Buffalo Bill a room-long Cherrywood bar that is still in use in the dining room of the Irma Hotel.
· 115th anniversary of the Irma Hotel. In 1902, seven years after he founded the town of Cody, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody built the Irma Hotel on the town’s then main street – 12th Street – and named it after his youngest daughter. The Irma is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
· The 19th-annual Cody Ice Festival Feb. 10-12. Under new management, the popular festival promises the biggest ice of any festival in North America and clinics for beginners and experts alike.
· 50th anniversary of Old Trail Town. This enclave of 26 authentic frontier buildings includes one used by Butch Cassidy and his infamous Wild Bunch Gang. One of the town’s many gravesites belongs to Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston – portrayed by actor Robert Redford in the 1972 film “Jeremiah Johnson.”
· 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942. As a result of the order, some 14,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Confinement Site.
· 85th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s visit to Cody. In 1932, having just completed the manuscript for Death in the Afternoon in his Key West, Fla. home, Ernest Hemingway traveled to Yellowstone Country to enjoy some time fishing in Clark’s Fork River. In the evenings he’d swap stories with the locals at the Irma Hotel Bar across from the Chamberlin Inn, where he stayed during his visit. The guest register showing his name and opened to the page containing Hemingway’s signature is on display in the Inn today, and the room in which he stayed – now called the Hemingway Suite – is available to overnight guests.
· 60th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park visitation surpassing the million mark. In 1957, the park recorded annual visitation of more than one million after years of increasing interest in park travel during the post-war economic boom. In six decades, visitation has increased four-fold with annual visitation of around four million.
· This year’s milestones included the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Buffalo Bill’s 170th birthday, the 5th anniversary of the Heart Mountain WW II Interpretive Center, 20th anniversary of the Cody Gunfighters, 35th anniversary of the Plains Indian Museum Powwow, 100th anniversary of the Cody-Sylvan Pass Motor Company, the opening of a new zipline at the Sleeping Giant Ski area and the opening of the Cody Firearms Experience.
Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.
The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations