Field Notes

History of Cody, WY

by Monica RobinsonApr 10, 2024

Cody, Wyoming, is a town steeped in the rich lore of the American West. Founded in 1896 by the legendary Colonel William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, this picturesque city located in Park County offers fun and exciting ways to explore its storied past and vibrant present.

At the heart of Cody is Buffalo Bill, an iconic figure known for his daring exploits as a soldier, bison hunter, frontiersman, and showman. He was and presently still is a symbol of the Wild West. His vision for Cody was as a gateway to the nearby Yellowstone National Park due to its location and abundant resources. He turned this dream into a reality and the town thrived, continuing to do so today. As the town flourished, it became a hub for settlers and tourists alike, setting the stage for economic development in agriculture, ranching, and tourism. Now, it is a popular destination for visitors to Yellowstone and adventure seekers in the rugged Wyoming badlands.

The completion of the Buffalo Bill Dam in 1910 further solidified Cody’s place in history, facilitating irrigation and enhancing agricultural practices in the Bighorn Basin. Today, Cody stands as a testament to its Wild West roots, preserving its cultural heritage with a blend of authenticity and modernity.

The Inviting Entrance To The Chamberlin Inn Features A Brick Facade With Flowers And Front Steps
The Arid Badlands Of The McCullough Peaks Wildlife Management Area Is Home To 70-140 Wild Horses

Immerse yourself in the charm of Cody’s downtown, where its western past is reflected in the architecture and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the community. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West stands as a beacon of culture, housing museums dedicated to art, firearms, Plains Indian culture, natural history, and the life and times of Buffalo Bill himself. See historic weapons of the time, specimens of local flora and fauna, historic wagons and stagecoaches, and actual props from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows. It is an incredible, diverse display of all the things that make Cody and the history of the West so captivating.

Don’t miss the excitement of the Cody Nite Rodeo, an enduring tradition since 1919. Each night, witness the electrifying performances that showcase the daring skills of rodeo performers. Feel the adrenaline as bull riders, bronc riders, barrel racers, and ropers compete in gripping events that embody the true spirit of the American West. The Cody Rodeo goes beyond mere observation – kids even get invited down into the ring for a lively calf scramble! This family friendly tradition invites all to experience the enduring cowboy culture that defines Cody.

A Wild Mustang Is Seen Standing Alone In The Vast Landscape Of The McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Management Area

Today, Cody continues to captivate visitors with its Western allure, offering a gateway to outdoor adventures and serving as the perfect base for exploring the wonders of Yellowstone National Park. Embrace the legacy of Buffalo Bill  and discover the enduring spirit of Cody, Wyoming – where the past and present seamlessly intertwine in an unforgettable journey through the American West.

A Raven Clad In Black Turns It's Head For A Better Look At The Photographer
Our Expert

Monica Robinson

Naturalist Guide
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