Hot springs couldn’t save Buffalo Bill
William F. Cody packaged the icons of the American West and presented them to the world’s curious. Native Americans in tribal costume, sharp shooting women dressed in buckskin, and cowboys trick riding on fast western horses were only some of the attractions seen by the audiences attending Cody’s Wild West Show. Cody’s attempts to bring America’s western frontier to the civilized world earned him the identity of “Buffalo Bill.” As a scout, express rider and Indian fighter, Cody had experienced firsthand in his youth the hardships of the frontier. He endured an unhappy marriage and financial ruin in later years. By 1917, the health of the popular but aging frontiersman was in serious decline. Through the suggestion of a Glenwood Springs physician, Dr. William Crook, Buffalo Bill came to Glenwood seeking the restorative powers of the hot springs. Dr. William Crook was not just a physician to Cody. He and his family had become acquainted with the Cody family while living at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in the 1860s. The ties between the two families remained strong throughout the years. Buffalo Bill arrived in Glenwood Springs the first week of January 1917. Per Dr. Crook’s instruction, he paid visit to the hot springs, took in the clean air, and rested. On Jan. 7, he boarded a train bound for Denver. A stop in Leadville created excitement, with the newspapers there reporting Buffalo Bill in excellent health. However, three days later, William Cody died.Even in death, Buffalo Bill was legendary. Family squabbles over his burial site – Cody, Wyo., or Denver – postponed his funeral. The famous scout was finally buried on Denver’s Lookout Mountain June 3, 1917.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Mondays, and Thursdays through Saturdays.
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