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Archives On The Air 246: The Development of Cody — Beck Family Papers

George Beck was one of the founders of the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company.

The company was formed to divert water from the Shoshone River for irrigation in northwest Wyoming. With sufficient irrigation, ranchers and farmers could be enticed to homestead on the arid land.

One of the other investors in the company was William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Cody was world famous for his Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Capitalizing on his name recognition, Cody was named president of the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company. Soon surveying began on a new town – and Cody, Wyoming was founded.

A 1904 brochure advertising homesteads proclaimed that Cody was a beautiful little city of about 500 souls. Although it didn’t yet have electric lights, homesteaders were promised a telephone system, city water works and a fire department.

Learn more about the early history of Cody in the Beck Family papers at UW's American Heritage Center.