WILLIAM F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody first entered the Big Horn Basin
of Wyoming in the 1870's while guiding Professor O. C. March, distinguished
geologist of Yale University, who was making a study of the natural
resources of the West.
The tremendous possibilities for development of land through irrigation,
the rich soil, the grandeur of the scenery, the abundance of fish
and game, and the proximity of Yellowstone National Park, all were
influencing factors in the decision of Colonel Cody to return during
the mid 1890's.
The Colonel and several friends came to the area with the avowed
purpose of land development and the building of a community. The original
townsite selected was located at the east end of the Shoshone Canyon,
but was later moved to the present site of the city. At the insistence
of Colonel Cody's fellow developers, the site was named Cody in 1895.
Streets were laid out and named for General Phil Sheridan and the
originators of the community.
By 1902, the town was incorporated and Colonel Cody opened his famous
"Hotel in the Rockies," the Irma,
named after his youngest daughter. In the same year, he induced the
Burlington Railroad to build a spur into the new town, and pioneered
a road to the west entrance of Yellowstone
National Park. The famous TE Ranch, some thirty-five miles southwest
of Cody, was established as a horse and cattle ranch and hide-away
for brief periods of rest.
To bolster the economy of the struggling new town, Colonel Cody persuaded
his friend, President Teddy Rooselvelt, to establish the Bureau of
Reclamation and to build the Shoshone Dam and Reservoir, later renamed
the Buffal Bill Dam and Reservoir. With the completion of this dam,
the highest in the world at the time, the community was established
soundly in the irrigation and electric power fields. Also through
his friendship with the President, Buffalo Bill helped establish the
first great National Forest, the Shoshone, and the first Ranger Station,
The organization in 1901 of the Cody Club, Cody's
Chamber of Commerce, the Cody
Stampede and Rodeo in 1922, the dedication of the various structures
of the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association, including the Gertrude Whitney
Statue of Colonel Cody in 1924, the Buffalo
Bill Museum in 1927, and the Whitney
Gallery of Western Art in 1959, have all been steps in the development
of the city.
Perhaps the greatest asset of Buffalo Bill's home town of Cody is
the continuation of the spirit of individual acccomplishment, western
hospitality, honesty, and friendliness, and joint cooperation of the
citizens as was instilled in the early settlers by the "Old Scout".
That spirit still prevails and is manifested today on the streets
and in the homes of Cody County people.