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Postcard from the Past - Buffalo Bill in Camp

Written by Dick Perue

Recent articles in Wyoming newspapers indicate that “Buffalo Bill” was not only a showman but a businessman and entrepreneur, and his reputation as such extended from Cody in the north to Grand Encampment on the state’s southern tip along the Wyoming/Colorado state line.

In an interview with Cody printed on the front page of the Nov. 13, 1903 issue of the “Grand Encampment Herald” the weekly newspaper notes:

Famous Scout and Frontiersman Expresses Admiration For Grand Encampment

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Col. W.F. Cody, Returning from England, Accompanies Dr. Powell on Inspection of the Camp

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“How can I drive tunnels at Grand Encampment and build canals at Cody if I do not keep the old show going?” said the world renowned Buffalo Bill to the Herald Monday at the Wyoming House in Grand Encampment. “It takes capital to build up Wyoming, and we have to keep the ball rolling.” 

“I have been just two weeks coming home from England,” continued Col. Cody, “and I tell you the most enjoyable part of the trip was the ride over the sand from Walcott. It does me good to get back once more upon my old stomping grounds in Wyoming. Yes, I closed the show two weeks ago Friday night, turned loose my 600 men and about the same number of animals and brought 200 of the boys home with me. I stopped one day in New York, one day in Chicago, one day in Omaha, one day in Denver and here I am in Grand Encampment, 50 miles inland, after the fastest trip I ever took in my life.

No Discouraged Men

“Dr. Powell and I are here to visit our Copper Giant Mine and to take in the camp. Say, do you know, I have not met a discouraged man in these hills. I am agreeably surprised at the extensive work being done near Grand Encampment, and everybody seems to be confident of success. Why, the prospect for gold and silver is better in Wyoming than it was in Colorado when Denver was only six years old. That’s the age of your town here, I believe. Well you have copper and lots of it, and that’s one thing more than Colorado had when Denver first came upon the map.”

Nothing Undone

“There is one thing you must not overlook at Grand Encampment,” suggested the Colonel.

“And that is?”

“The interest of capital,” he replied. “But then I must take that back. When I see the improvements here I must say that you have not over-looked much of anything to have done what you have. You are not behind in anything – great camp, great future not only for the town but also for the surrounding country, as you have thousands of acres of sagebrush land and plenty of water to irrigate same and thus build up a great agricultural community. And by the way, agriculture is the basis of prosperity anywhere. While I admire the way you people have gone into these hills and mined for wealth, do not neglect the man with the plow, for he comes to stay and is always in the vanguard of civilization.”

Watched Wyoming Grow

Col. Cody loves to talk about the progress of Wyoming and prophesy for its future. He landed here in ’67 and should be an authority . . . but, then that’s more business for our next “Postcard.”