Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Old Trail Town - Part 1

My Mountain Boy and I ate a short stack breakfast at Granny's Restaurant downtown this morning.
We have been in there often enough now that the waitresses know to keep pouring the coffee non-stop and that I always eat a short stack of pancakes.
LC chooses differently each time we go in there but my lack of imagination and lack of interest in actually reading a menu dictate the same order each time.
Well.......that and the fact that I really like pancakes.
As we walked out of this popular mom and pop restaurant we on the spur of the moment decided that we would visit the Old Trail Town on the west side of Cody.
We have seen some of the structures many times from the highway as we drove by and were looking forward to the museums' opening.
Today was finally the day that these new residents of Cody would play tourist.
We ended up having a really wonderful time.
It was a hugely interesting place and I had more fun that I ever imagined I would walking around old buildings and seeing old artifacts from a bygone era.
Ridiculously, I took 222 pictures in the space of only a couple of hours.
I thought that I might be able to cut the blog into only two parts but as I downloaded pictures soon realized that was not going to be possible.
There were just too many really interesting things that needed to be posted.
And so the tale of the Old Trail Town will end up being a three part story.........
From the brochure I picked up this morning:

Bob Edgar, a native of the Wyoming Big Horn Basin, had developed an interest in archaeology and history at a young age.  After exploring much of the region and having spent seven years working as an archaeologist for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Bob realized that the old historical buildings and associated material were rapidly disappearing from the landscape.
In the Spring of 1967 the work began to gather the historic buildings and relics displayed at a site on the west side of Cody.  This was the area Buffalo Bill and his associates had chosen for the first town site of "Cody City" in 1895.
Many of the buildings were taken completely apart, moved to the new site and reassembled.  The Old Trail Town collection now consists of 26 buildings, which date from 1879 to 1901, one hundred horse drawn vehicles, an extensive collection of memorabilia from the Wyoming frontier and authentic Indian artifacts.
The project has been helped by the support of the ranch people of the region and by the cooperation and support from many friends.  Old Trail Town is the largest collection of its kind in Wyoming..........
A wonderfully creative stool covered in the fur of deer legs.......
Each of the cabins had a plaque posted outside providing information on the cabin we were visiting........
I wandered through a few cabins feeling as though I had already seen much of the items before, during our trip to Meeteetse a few weeks ago.
But then I walked out of one of the cabins, looked at the unsettled sky and beautiful mountains in front of me and slowly began to realize that I was having a very good time............
Unlike LC I did not grow up watching western movies.
From my experiences over 51 years I have learned that you never really know where life is going to take you.
But I never in a million years imagined that I would be living in cowboy country.
LC pulled out a road atlas and showed me where Thermopolis was located in Wyoming way back when we were still living in Tennessee.  
He knew a law enforcement officer who had moved to Thermopolis and who loved it.
At the time Thermopolis seemed like it was a million miles away from our small home town in Tennessee.
That was before I flew 4000 miles to take on a job in Juneau Alaska.
So here we are a year and a half later living just down the road a few hours from Metropolis.......uh........Thermopolis.
It is an adjustment.  Not a bad adjustment.  Just an adjustment.
Wagons, saloons, barns, cabins, black smith shops in this picture.
All kinds of coolness.............
The Shell Store - 1892
Built in 1892 this was the first store in Shell Wyoming.......
Jeremiah "Liver Eating" Johnson
The grave of "Liver Eating" Johnson was relocated to Old Trail Town on June 8, 1974.
The movie Jeremiah Johnson was based on the life of John Johnson, now commonly known as Jeremiah Johnson.
During his colorful career, Johnson, who was born in 1824 and died in 1900, had been a trapper, hunter, woodhawk, army scout, marshal and Civil War veteran.
Over 2000 people attended the reburial service for "Liver Eating" Johnson at Old Trail Town, probably the largest burial service in the history of Wyoming.
The bronze statue of Johnson  erected over the grave was sculpted by Peter Fillerup  of Cody........
Jim White 1828-1880
Jim White, one of the foremost buffalo hunters of the western plains and mountains, is buried at the Old Trail Town.  He killed over 16,000 buffalo and was ambushed by thieves at his hunting camp on Shell Creek in the Big Horn Mountains in 1880.  His grave and cabin are both at Old Trail Town, along with his Sharps rifle.........
There are six graves on the site of the Old Trail Town:
1.  Jeremiah "Liver Eating" Johnson 1824-1900
2.  Jim White "Buffalo Hunter" 1828-1880
3.  Jack Stilwell "Frontiersman" 1850-1903
4.  Philip Vetter 1855-1892
5.  W.A Gallagher 1855-1892 (killed by a grizzly)
6.  Belle Drewery 1867-1897
A clump of beautiful, small and very fragile wildflowers close to the cemetery...........
But I had no idea how much I would enjoy the second half.
Wonderful wagons of every description, farm equipment, stores and cabins and more..........

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