Being a tourist in Cody Wyoming
Today, we played tourist in Cody.
First, we stopped at a few overlooks.
The first was an area called Colter’s Hell and Extinct Geyser Basin. John Colter was part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804-1806. In 1807, he was the first American to explore the area and found geysers, steam vents, and flames shooting from some vents. When he reported what he had found, some did not believe him and called it Colter’s Hell. The name stuck even after he was proven to be accurate. Today, only a few hot springs are still active.
We visited the Buffalo Bill Dam. For several years, it was the tallest dam in the world. It is not very wide just tall.
The dam was installed to give Cody and the farms in the area access to water year round. Until the dam was completed, water was only available during the spring melt of snow from the mountains to the west. Today not only is power generated but 93,000 acres of land are irrigated.
Warning history lesson....
The dam was installed to give Cody and the farms in the area access to water year round. Until the dam was completed water was only available during the Spring melt of snow from the mountains to the west. Today not only is power generated but 93,000 acres of land are irrigated.
It was completed in 1910. For many years and several companies tried to finish the dam but most went bankrupt trying to get the dam built. One problem with building the dam was that construction had to be done during the winter months. This was because the river would be low and in the spring there were frequent flash floods making work impossible. Working in winter means temperatures below zero and concrete does not set well in freezing weather. This required that canvas be draped over the work area and steam be pumped in to heat the area above freezing. The amazing thing is that the construction was completed, even with the failed attempts, in 5 years. Today this would be impossible. The dam is 200 feet wide, 108 feet thick at the base but only 10 feet thick at the top. To prove this point the 25 feet was added to the dam. This work was started in 1985 and not complete until 1993. At that rate if the dam were started in 1910, it would still not be finished.
We walked out on the dam and looked down. The river is 325 feet down on the east side. To the west the lake formed by the dam is very large and extends for xx miles and holds 623,000 acre feet of water (whatever that means and what normal person measures water in acres?).
Below the dam is a hydro electric power station which can create 91 gigawatts per year. That is a lot of power and far more than needed by the Cody and other local communities.
The visitor center at the dam had very good information and a video showing the history of the construction.
There was also information on a cave nearby. Because of the shape of the opening, animals unlucky enough to fall in died in the cave. This left a history of animal bones to investigate.
Next, we stopped at “Old Town” which is a collection of 100 year old or older buildings from the area and the original town of Cody. The layout was in the form of an old west town and included every kind of building of the day.
Cody City was established in 1895 by Buffalo Bill Cody with a general store and blacksmith shop. By the start of the next year, they had 12 business including 2 saloons. Two years later, the railroad came to the area and the town moved to its current location near where the railroad stopped. The down was then renamed to just Cody.
Some of the buildings were surprising like the "Hole in the Wall Gang" cabin.
There was also a second cabin used by Butch and Sundance. They also frequented the Rivers Saloon.
There is a small cemetery on at the "town". Buried there is Jeremiah Johnson 1824-1900, Jim White "Buffalo Hunter" 1828-1880, Jack Stilwell "Frontiersman" 1828-1903, and several others but also included was Belle Drewry 1867-1897 who was a lady of the evening.
A couple of buildings were setup with cases of memorabilia and wagons.
We ended the day with a visit to a local brewery and a trip to Walmart to refill the fridge and pantry.
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