Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum – Lookout Mountain, CO

Earlier this year my niece was out here visiting us from California and I got to play tour guide. We had fun going to such places as the Garden of the Gods, Hammonds Candies, and Celestial Seasonings. However, we also took her to another local attraction that actually was quite close to home for her. We visited the grave of Buffalo Bill who was her great or great –great uncle on her mother’s side. Since I am into genealogy, I thought this was so cool.  She seemed to enjoy visiting too.

Before I share more about our visit, I wanted to share a little bit about Buffalo Bill, his life, and how he ended up buried here in Colorado on Lookout Mountain.  He was born William F. Cody on February 26, 1846 in Le Claire, IA and was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West.  Later known as Buffalo Bill, he l started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and Europe.

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In 1895, Cody was instrumental in the founding of the town of Cody, Wyoming, Cody first passed through the region in the 1870s and was so impressed by the development possibilities from irrigation, rich soil, grand scenery, hunting, and proximity to Yellowstone Park that he returned in the mid-1890s to start a town. Streets in the town were named after his associates: Beck, Alger, Rumsey, Bleistein and Salsbury. The town was eventually incorporated in 1901.

Cody died on January 10, 1917. He was surrounded by family and friends at his sister’s house here in Denver, and his funeral service was held at the Elks Lodge Hall in Denver.  He received a full Masonic funeral, and the governor of Wyoming, John B. Kendrick, a friend of Cody’s, led the funeral procession to the cemetery. Upon his death, Cody’s wife stated that he had always said he wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain, which was corroborated by their daughter Irma, Cody’s sisters, and family friends. However family members of Cody said he should be buried in the town he founded. The controversy continued, however, on June 3, 1917, Cody was buried on Lookout Mountain, in on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, overlooking the Great Plains. It is a truly amazing area to visit and I can see why he would want to be buried there.

It is so amazing to be able to go up to Lookout Mountain and say our respects to Buffalo Bill. Being able to do it with my niece made it even more special.  Today they state that there  are more than 400,000 visitors each year. There is also a museum in his honor and illustrates the life, times, and legend of William F. Cody. It includes exhibits about Buffalo Bill’s life and the Wild West shows, Indian artifacts and firearms. See Sitting Bull’s bow and arrows, Buffalo Bill’s show outfits,  and many other objects from the Old West. We had a nice time walking through the museum and I will do another post of the museum in the future. In the meantime, hoped you enjoyed our visit, and please check out their website for more information.

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