My favourite place: Cody, Wyoming

In the October 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine, Peter Cozzens selects Cody, Wyoming as his favourite place. History Extra caught up with him to find out more...

Old Trail Town gives visitors a taste of life on the Wild West’s frontier

When did you last travel to Cody and why were you there?

In August 2016 I had the good fortune to debut my new book The Earth is Weeping: The Indian Wars for the American West at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. It was my wife and I's first trip to Cody and it didn't disappoint.

 

Why do you love the location?

Cody – which rests in the scenic Bighorn Basin at an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level – and the majestic countryside and mountain ranges that surround it are a fascinating taste of the American West. What's more, its proximity to Yellowstone National Park (located a little over 50 miles away) makes it the perfect base from which to explore this part of the US.

 

What top 3 sights would you recommend people visit there, and why?

The town is named after the American icon William F Cody – more commonly known as Buffalo Bill – so a trip to the Buffalo Bill Center is a must for any first-time visitor to the area.

Old Trail Town is a convincing re-creation of a frontier community consisting of 25 buildings dating from 1879 to 1901 and with the feel of a movie set come to life.

Thirdly, I'd recommend a trip to the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. Located just 15 miles north of Cody, at the foot of Heart Mountain, the national historic site tells the stories of the 14,000 Japanese-Americans who were detained at this former confinement camp during the Second World War, many for the entire conflict. It's a sobering reminder of a dark chapter in American history.

 

During what period of its history would you most wanted to have visited Cody and why?

I would love to have visited Cody shortly after Buffalo Bill Cody opened the sprawling Irma Hotel, named for his daughter, in 1902. Buffalo Bill kept an office at the Irma, and the chance to sit in the opulent cherry-wood bar (a gift from Queen Victoria), and hear him tell frontier stories would have been priceless. 

 

 

Peter Cozzens is author of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (Atlantic, 2017)

You can read more of Peter's experiences in Cody in the October issue of BBC History Magazine – on sale from 14 September

 

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