Since we moved here in 2014 I have had a few nieces and nephews come out to visit from California. While they were here, I had a great time getting to play tour guide. We had fun going to such places as the Garden of the Gods, Hammonds Candies, and Celestial Seasonings. However, I took two of them to a local attraction that actually was quite close to home for them: We visited the grave of Buffalo Bill, who was their great or great-great uncle on their mother's side. Since I am into genealogy, I thought this was so cool. They both seemed interested and enjoyed visiting his gravesite and museum.
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, Iowa, 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.
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, other family members of Cody said he should be buried in the town he founded. The controversy continued, but eventually, on June 3, 1917, Cody was buried on Lookout Mountain, 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 pay our respects to Buffalo Bill. Being able to do it with my niece made it even more special.
The site has more than 400,000 visitors each year. There is also a museum in his honor that 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. You can also 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.
Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum Visitor Info
- Address: 987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Road, Golden, CO 80401
- Phone: 303-526-0744
- Winter Hours: November 1– April 30 (closed month of December)
Friday through Sunday 10 am–5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving and New Year's Day
- Summer Hours: August 31 – October 31
Friday through Sunday 9 am–5 pm. Open Labor Day
- Admission: Adults: $5, Seniors (65+): $4, Children 6–15: $1, under 5, free
Children age 5 and under: free
- Getting There: At this time there is no public transportation to the Museum site. It is less expensive to rent a car than to take a taxi. Parking at the Museum is free for cars, campers, trailers and buses.
Those not interested in renting a vehicle may want to consider a tour package. Gray Line and Colorado Sightseer, Inc both offer standard tours including the Museum.