The first overnight stay on our vacation with Bri's family was in Cody, Wyoming, named for "Buffalo Bill," William F. Cody.
For those of you who don't know, Buffalo Bill was a larger-than-life figure that helped shape what we envision when we think of the American West. Famous across the globe in his own time, he is best known for his traveling arena show, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which was founded in 1883. It toured the United States and Europe for 30 years, and featured sharp shooters, Indian rituals, and elaborate battle reenactments.
Buffalo Bill helped found Cody, Wyoming in 1895, and established his TE Ranch in the area. In 1902, he built the Irma Hotel, named for one of his daughters, as a stopover for people traveling to see Yellowstone National Park (the East entrance to the park is an hour's drive away). Many famous folks stayed, including Annie Oakley and Frederic Remington. Buffalo Bill maintained two suites and an office at the hotel for his personal use.
Though we weren't staying there, we did make dinner plans.
It was absolutely splendid, and decked out in holiday grandeur. The dining room is large and open. One wall is occupied by the cherry bar, original to the hotel. I've heard that Buffalo Bill reportedly paid $100,000 for in his time. I've also read that it was a gift from Queen Victoria, who attended his show when he toured Europe. I have no idea which story (if either) is true, but it is gorgeous.
It has a pretty bling cash register.
I loved the lighting...the elk shed chandelier and these old fashiony looking lights. They remind me of the skirts flappers wore in the 20s.
There are a lot of places and things that are interesting just because they are historic, but stepping through the doors of the Irma really transported us. The tin ceiling, the wallpaper, the bar...it all looked like it could really have been just the way it was back then. I'm sure it has been updated (imagine what all that cigar smoke must have done to the wallpaper) but it looks original.
The next day we spent a few hours at the Buffalo Bill Historic Center in town. This massive museum has five displays: The Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, and the Cody Firearms Museum. My husband enjoyed the latter's collection of (quite literally) thousands of guns. They also had on display several of the world's number one ranked big game mounts. It was cool to see some of the largest specimens on record.
We spent only a short time in Cody, but we really made the best of it with our dinner at The Irma, our trip to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center and some shopping at Sierra Trading Company. If you are ever on a trip to Yellowstone, Cody is worth seeing.