CODY, Wyo., March 8, 2019 – With the addition of a new museum and theater, the completion of a major renovation on another museum, the centennial of the Cody Stampede and an array of other anniversaries, it’s going to be an eventful summer in northwestern Wyoming’s Cody Yellowstone.
“Visitors to Cody and nearby Yellowstone National Park this summer will have a variety of new adventures to experience, along with a line-up of classic Cody events like the nightly Cody Nite Rodeo, numerous museums and other authentic attractions,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm of the region that includes the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the east valley of Yellowstone National Park. “When locals are already getting excited in March for the coming season, you know it’s going to be a big year.”
Wade noted that visitors to Yellowstone National Park often choose to first spend a few days in Cody to get acclimated to the area, learn about its history and natural offerings and generally get into the Western spirit.
Here’s what’s new this summer:
By Western Hands Museum & Archives. Years in the planning, this centrally located new attraction celebrates the region’s heritage of Western-style furniture-makers and artisans who incorporate natural or Western elements like gnarled logs, horse hair and elk antlers into their creations. Opening this June, By Western Hands includes an education and training center for artisans, a gallery where the latest work of Western artists is on display and available for purchase and a museum showcasing the work of early leaders in Western design such as Thomas Molesworth, whose Cody-based Shoshone Furniture Company popularized Western design beginning in the 1930s.
Irma Square Theater. Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue, a wildly popular and entertaining six-nights-a-week show, is celebrating its 15th anniversary of summer performances with a new home in downtown Cody. The theater is located behind the Irma Hotel, which town founder Buffalo Bill Cody built and named for his daughter. Guests have a choice of the show only or a package that includes dinner at the hotel.
Cody Firearms Museum renovation. Also new this summer, the Cody Firearms Museum will complete a major renovation that will result in new exhibits of the museum’s massive collection of firearms throughout history. One of five museums at the acclaimed Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the museum is especially known for its Winchester Arms Collection.
Notable events and anniversaries in Cody Yellowstone:
100th anniversary of Cody Stampede. Scheduled for Sunday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 4 this year, the Cody Stampede was created when the sentimental but pragmatic leaders of Cody, Wyoming circa 1919 wanted to honor the town’s legendary founder and the Western traditions he represented, as well as to capture the interest and a few dollars from tourists who passed through town on the new “Road to Yellowstone.” The celebration, called one of the top small-town American Fourth of July celebrations in the West, includes nightly Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA)-sanctioned rodeos, parades, free concerts, craft fairs, fireworks and much more.
95th anniversary of The Scout. Heiress and hyper-talented sculptress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney created this massive bronze sculpture depicting Buffalo Bill Cody on horseback. The sculpture was installed in 1924 and ultimately became the cornerstone of the Whitney Western Art Museum.
60th anniversary of the Whitney Western Art Museum. Another of the museums at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Western Art Museum was created in 1959 with initial funding provided by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the son of artist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Considered one of the top Western art galleries in the country, the museum includes original paintings, sculptures and prints by top artists including Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Remington.
40th anniversary of the Plains Indian Museum. Added to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in 1979, the Plains Indian Museum promotes the art and traditions of Plains Indians through exhibits and innovative storytelling. The museum also sponsors the popular Plains Indian Powwow staged each June in the Robbie Powwow Garden adjacent to the museum.
70th anniversary of completion of the LDS Chapel Rotunda, which houses the Cody Mural depicting the westward expansion of Mormon pioneers. Painted by artist Edward T. Grigware, the realistic painting was created off-site and then installed on the domed walls, measuring 36 feet in diameter and 18 feet high from the base to the peak of the ceiling.
115th anniversary of Pahaska Tepee, Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge. Situated a short distance from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Buffalo Bill Cody invited famous guests such as the Prince of Monaco to relax and hunt at this two-story hewn-log lodge. The lodge’s furniture and decorations have been carefully preserved, and visitors can explore the first floor for a small donation.
Noteworthy events in Cody Yellowstone history:
150th anniversary of the Folsom-Cook-Peterson Expedition, the first successful expedition of Yellowstone National Park. Although the 1869 expedition was unofficial, the explorers’ reports ultimately prompted the Washburn Expedition the following year, which is largely credited with bringing Yellowstone the publicity which resulted in its establishment as the world’s first national park in 1872.
110th anniversary of the creation of Park County. Established by the Wyoming Legislature in 1909, Park County is the fifth-largest county in the state of Wyoming, encompassing 3,349,120 acres, and is the ninth most populous county, with a full-time population of around 26,000. The county is largely comprised of state and federal land.
120th anniversary of the Cody Enterprise. This twice-weekly, award-winning newspaper was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody and Col. John Peake in August 1899.
150th anniversary of Wyoming granting women the right to vote, becoming the first place in the country to legalize women’s suffrage. Wyoming, nicknamed “The Equality State,” is celebrating the 1869 anniversary with events throughout the year.
60th anniversary of the Hebgen Lake earthquake near West Yellowstone, Mont.Although the epi-center of this massive, mountain-moving quake was in Montana, its impact was broadly felt in Wyoming. The earthquake killed 28 campers and changed the geothermal plumbing systems of numerous geysers and hot springs throughout Yellowstone National Park.
100th anniversary of Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 72-vehicle cross-country road trip. The young Lt. Col. was charged with determining the state of the country’s roads across the country. The Wyoming portion of the trip, and discovery of abysmal conditions throughout the state (the convoy traveled at 5 miles per hour, on average), ultimately led to the development of the country’s Interstate road system, including I-80, which allows modern travelers to travel to Yellowstone in relative ease.