Buffalo Bill Ranch

Last updated
Scout's Rest Ranch
Scouts Rest NE.JPG
USA Nebraska location map.svg
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Usa edcp location map.svg
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Nearest city North Platte, Nebraska
Coordinates 41°9′48″N100°47′42″W / 41.16333°N 100.79500°W / 41.16333; -100.79500 Coordinates: 41°9′48″N100°47′42″W / 41.16333°N 100.79500°W / 41.16333; -100.79500
Area25 acres (10 ha)
ArchitectWalsh, Patrick
Architectural styleSecond Empire
NRHP reference # 78001705
Added to NRHPJanuary 30, 1978

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, known as Scout's Rest Ranch, is a living history state park located west of North Platte, Nebraska. The ranch was established in 1878 with an initial purchase of 160 acres south of the Union Pacific tracks by William (Buffalo Bill) Cody. The 4,000 acre ranch was sold in 1911 and has been under the management of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission since 1964. The 25 acre historic state park, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, is open weekdays from April to October. The house and outbuildings can be toured, including a museum documenting Cody's life from a Pony Express rider to his Wild West shows.

North Platte, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

North Platte is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Nebraska, United States. It is located in the southwestern part of the state, along Interstate 80, at the confluence of the North and South Platte Rivers forming the Platte River. The population was 24,733 at the 2010 census.

Nebraska State of the United States of America

Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. It is the only triply landlocked U.S. state.

Buffalo Bill American frontiersman and showman

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory, but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in Toronto Township, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory.


Founding of the Cody-North Ranch

In 1877 Cody contacted Major Frank North, the leader of the Pawnee Scouts, who was living in Sidney, Nebraska. Cody founded the Cody-North Partnership with the North brothers to form a cattle business. North found land along the Dismal River, 65 miles north of North Platte, on which cattle could graze and a ranch could be built. Cody continued touring his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show while North purchased cattle at the north end of the Texas cattle trail, near Ogallala, Nebraska. North hired cowboys to help operate the ranch while Cody was on tour. [1]

Frank North Pawnee interpreter

Frank Joshua North (1840-1885), was an American interpreter, United States Army officer and politician. He is most well known for organizing and leading the Pawnee Scouts from 1865 to 1877. His brother Luther H. North also led the Scouts.

Pawnee Scouts

Pawnee Scouts were employed by the United States Army in the latter half of the 19th century. Like other groups of Indian scouts, Pawnee men were recruited in large numbers to aid in the ongoing conflicts between colonists and the Native Americans in the United States. Because the Pawnee people were at times involved in territorial skirmishes with the Sioux and Cheyenne, some of them were amenable to serving with the army for pay. A number of Pawnee served between 1865 and 1871. They were armed with rifles, revolvers and were issued scout uniforms.

Sidney, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

Sidney is a city in and the county seat of Cheyenne County, Nebraska, United States. This city is nine miles north from the Colorado state line. The population was 6,757 at the 2010 census.

The ranch grew in size to encompass seven thousand acres. 2,500 acres were planted for alfalfa and 2,500 were corn. [2] The Omaha Bee reported on Cody's ranching operations several times. The Bee described the ranch as one of the most improved farms in Nebraska. In cooperation with Isaac Dillon, a neighboring rancher, Cody and Dillon built a 12-mile irrigation ditch, capable of watering 6,000 acres of crops. [3] This property was financially viable for Cody. By the 1880s, however, other homesteaders had begun to move into this area of Nebraska and had taken grazing land. In 1882 the Cody-North Ranching Operation ended and was bought out by John Bratt. [4]

Homestead Acts one of several related United States laws

The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which an applicant could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain, typically called a homestead. In all, more than 160 million acres of public land, or nearly 10 percent of the total area of the United States, was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders; most of the homesteads were west of the Mississippi River.

Founding of Cody Ranch ("Scout's Rest Ranch")

During the time of owning the Cody-North Ranch, in 1878, Cody began buying land surrounding North Platte. The first purchase of land was 160 acres for $750, south of the Union Pacific tracks that run through North Platte. Cody purchased nearly 4,000 more acres adjacent to North Platte. [1] An eighteen-room mansion on the property which was a treeless prairie. [5] Cody had land in Kansas that had many tall, established trees and wanted trees on his new ranch. Al Goodman, his brother-in-law, discovered why trees would not grow on his new property or the North Platte area. Goodman found issues of water absorption and planted many cottonwoods and box-elder around the property, able to withstand the conditions. The ranch now had many growing trees. This information was shared with the people of North Platte to increase tree population in the area. [2]

Kansas State of the United States of America

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

<i>Populus deltoides</i> species of plant

Populus deltoides, the eastern cottonwood or necklace poplar, is a cottonwood poplar native to North America, growing throughout the eastern, central, and southwestern United States, the southernmost part of eastern Canada, and northeastern Mexico.

<i>Acer negundo</i> A species of tree commonly known as boxelder maple

Acer negundo is a species of maple native to North America. Box elder, boxelder maple, ash-leaved maple, and maple ash are among its common names in the United States; in Canada it is commonly known as Manitoba maple and occasionally as elf maple; in the United Kingdom and Ireland it is known as ashleaf maple.

Barn, view to the north Barn, view to the north.jpg
Barn, view to the north

Louisa (Cody's wife) and their daughters moved to North Platte in February 1878. They monitored the property, where Cody wanted to retire. Cody showed his new land and brought out family, friends, and celebrities. These guests, along with his family, spent time with the cowboys employed on the ranch. The ranch grew with the help of the Goodmans, who maintained the ranch and managed the high-grade livestock and thoroughbred horses. [1] By 1885, 1,200 acres were planted as corn, 100 acres of alfalfa, 50 of broomcorn, and a small oat field. The ranch was operated with 80 horses and 30 men, rising to 60 men in busy seasons. [3] When the trees grew, the southern portion of the ranch turned into a wooded park with deer, several young buffaloes, and a large lake. This area of land would be called “Scout’s Rest Ranch”. [2] Cody had the words “Scout’s Rest Ranch” painted on the roof of the large barn, so that it could be read from the Union Pacific tracks a mile away. [1]

Louisa Frederici

Louisa Maud Frederici (1843–1921) was the wife of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. She married on March 6, 1866, in St. Louis, Missouri, and remained in a rocky relationship for 51 years until Cody's death in 1917. The couple had met when Cody traveled to St. Louis due to his Union Army duties at the close of the Civil War. The wedding was swift and took place shortly after their interactions in 1865, with Cody taking time out from scouting and horse-driving to marry Louisa. Louisa, often referred to as "Lulu" by her husband, was a proud woman who would not simply grant Cody a divorce in 1904, which led to trial in 1905. The case was given in Louisa's favor after a judge deemed "incompatibility was not a grounds for divorce."

Thoroughbred Horse breed developed for racing

The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility, speed, and spirit.

Alfalfa species of plant, alfalfa

Alfalfa, also called lucerne and called Medicago sativa in binomial nomenclature, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop. The name alfalfa is used in North America. The name lucerne is the more commonly used name in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The plant superficially resembles clover, especially while young, when trifoliate leaves comprising round leaflets predominate. Later in maturity, leaflets are elongated. It has clusters of small purple flowers followed by fruits spiralled in 2 to 3 turns containing 10–20 seeds. Alfalfa is native to warmer temperate climates. It has been cultivated as livestock fodder since at least the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Alfalfa sprouts are a common ingredient in dishes made in South Indian cuisine.

This ranch was revolutionary for the time. Cody imported many blooded cattle and thoroughbred horses at a time when that was not common. The land was transformed from treeless prairie to a forested area. Despite advancements and profitable years, operating costs were high and Cody sold the ranch in 1911 for $100,000.

Prairie ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome

Prairies are ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and a composition of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type. Temperate grassland regions include the Pampas of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and the steppe of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. Lands typically referred to as "prairie" tend to be in North America. The term encompasses the area referred to as the Interior Lowlands of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, which includes all of the Great Plains as well as the wetter, hillier land to the east.

Modern History

Cody House, view to the northwest Cody House, view to the northwest.jpg
Cody House, view to the northwest

The original two-story house was built in 1886 for Al and Julia Goodman. Al and Julia Goodman are Cody's sister and brother-in-law who managed the ranch. This house was built by Patrick Walsh, a native of North Platte, for $3,900. In 1964 the house was purchased by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as part of the process for making Scout's Rest Ranch a State Historical Park, Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park. [6] A Lincoln County Historical Society was organized to help raise money for the purchase of Buffalo Bill Cody's house. The group raised $37,500 and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to cover the other $75,000 required for the purchase. Another $90,000 was planned to be spent on restoring the grounds and buildings. [7] Since 1964, the State Historical Park has been open to the public.

Park Information

Map of Scout's Rest Ranch Historic Buildings Scout's Rest Ranch Historic Buildings.jpg
Map of Scout's Rest Ranch Historic Buildings

The Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park is 25 acres and contains 4 original structures. The structures on the park include the Second Empire style mansion built in 1886 for the Goodmans, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. [6] Other buildings are the cob house, used for storing corncobs that were kindling for the house stoves, the ice house that was built in 1886 along with the main house, and the original barn, built in 1887, used for storing the thoroughbred livestock and has “Scout's Rest Ranch” painted on the roof.

Flood of 2011

During flooding on the Platte River in the summer of 2011, the site was closed, exhibits moved and berms were built around the buildings. The flooding came close to the compound but was not as severe as expected. [8]

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History of Nebraska history of the US state Nebraska

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Glurs Tavern

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Barnes, Jeff (2014). The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill: Forts, Fights & Other Sites. Stackpole Books. ISBN   0811712931.
  2. 1 2 3 Wetmore, Helen Cody (1899). Last of the Great Scouts: The Life Story of Col. William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill". Duluth Press Publication Company.
  3. 1 2 Russell, Don (1960). The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill. University of Oklahoma Press.
  4. McIntosh, Charles Barron (1996). The Nebraska Sand Hills: The Human Landscape. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN   0803231849.
  5. Hill, William E. (2010). The Pony Express Trail: Yesterday and Today. Caxton Press. ISBN   0870044761.
  6. 1 2 Penelope Chatfield, Curator of Historic Sites (July 1977). "Scout's Rest Ranch". National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  7. "North Platte: Buffalo Bill Country". The Omaha World Herald. May 6, 1962.
  8. Sievers, Kent (July 1, 2011). "Cody Ranch plans August reopening". Omaha World-Herald. NET Radio. Retrieved August 2, 2018.