Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Glimpse of Cody City 1895

We stopped at Old Trail Town for what we thought would be a quick walk-through of the historical buildings.

In 1967, Bob Edgar, an archaeologist, began gathering historic buildings from various points around Cody, WY, with the aim of displaying them on the site that Buffalo Bill Cody and his associates had chosen for the site of "Cody City" in 1895.

Many of the buildings were taken completely apart, moved to the new site, and reassemled. Today, the Old Trail Town collection cosists of 26 buildings, which date from 1879 to 1901.

The buildings have been placed along what would appear to be the main street through town. The result is a town that looks as though it had be planned and somehow preserved over the decades.

We could almost hear the sounds from the piano, the voices of the participants in a card game, and the stories of gold miners and outlaws over drinks in the Rivers Saloon (1888, moved from the nearby town of Meeteetse).

We found this chuck wagon in the Burlington Store (1897), which had been moved from Burlington, WY. The chuckwagon was owned and operateed by Henry C. Larsen, a pioneer cattleman in the 1800s.

It seemed ready to prepare a meal, and it was the small touches of the boxes labeled Prunes and Puffed Wheat that brought this display to life.

In the Museum of the Old West, we saw this Lewis and Clark era carved canoe. This one had been found under eight feet of Yellowstone gravel about 20 miles east of Billings, MT.

In the display case below the canoe were a Cheyenne War Shield and a Cheyenne War Shirt.

This case showed the complete paraphernalia for one horse of the Mountain Crow tribe. This material was from the late 1800s.

At the back of the Museum was this horse-drawn hearse. The carving on the sides was so well done that the curtains looked like drawn cloth curtains.

This hearse was from the late 1800s.

The Carter Cabin was built on Carter Mountain in 1879 by William Carter's men.

In contrast to the Carter Cabin is the Dry Creek Homestead Cabin, built around 1900. The owners of this cabin seemed to be wealthier than most. Note the number of rugs and what looks like a type of washing machine.

Here, also, was another cabin in which the owners had a pedal organ. While a luxury, this instrument must have been very important to have for the emotional well-being of the residents--and even the community.

There are some 100 horse-drawn vehicles in the collection, and these were two of the most interesting.

Visiting Old Trail Town deserved more than a "walk-through;" members of the non-profit Museum of the Old West had devoted considerable time to the buildings preservation.

We felt we were beneficiaries of their attention to detail. We will return to complete our tour.

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