When Buffalo Bill Cody Called Rochester Home

William F.  Cody (1846-1917) was born in LeClaire, Iowa in 1846 but we know him as the legendary showman Buffalo Bill. How did he get the name Buffalo Bill? He got the name Buffalo Bill after he killed 4280 buffalo in 18 months in order to supply meat for the workers building the Kansas Pacific RR. He rise to fame was accelerated by  Elmo Judson, who under the penname Ned Buntline, wrote hundreds of fantastic paperback tales about his hero Buffalo Bill.  Buffalo Bill  was a frequent visitor to Rochester and had many friends here like Professor Henry Ward of Ward’s Natural Science Establishment. In 1874 he was performing his stage show Buffalo Bill, King of the Border Men at Cooks’ Opera house on South Avenue later renamed the Embassy theater, when his wife got tired of traveling. The Cody’s who normally rented rooms at the Waverly house on State Street rented a house at 10 New York Street in Rochester from 1874-1876, where he was a neighbor of Susan B. Anthony. Mrs. Cody and the children lived here while her husband traveled with his show. His wife Louise always called him  "Will."  His daughter Arta and son Kit went to No. 2 School on King Street where Susan B.’s sister Mary Anthony was principal.  In 1875 Buffalo Bill performed a new show called “The Scout of the Plains” at the Opera house on South avenue and when the theatrical season ended in May he lived here with his family. Buffalo Bill had his favorite watering hole in Rochester owned by Lafe Heidell on Water Street. The locals always knew when he was back as he would walk thru the swing doors, up to the bar, and shout  “Drinks on the house.” He performed annually at Rochester’s Driving Park, a former racetrack to crowds of 15-20k with his Wild West Show which included Kit Carson, and Annie Oakley. Some ministers objected to his show being open on the Sabbath and asked Susan B. Anthony if she would you allow a young man to go to a Wild West show on Sunday?" Her answer, "Of course I would. In my opinion he'd learn more from Buffalo Bill than from listening to an intolerant sermon." Col. Cody heard of Miss Anthony's response and sent her box tickets to one of his performances. During the second year of residence in Rochester their second child Kit Carson Cody died of scarlet fever when only five years old. That same year the Cody’s packed up & headed back west where Buffalo Bill was giving up the stage & taking a job as General Sheridan’s chief of scouts. His last appearance in Rochester was in 1910. Buffalo Bill Cody died in 1917 and although he is buried with his wife on Lookout Mountain 20 miles outside the city of Denver. Buffalo Bill Cody, one of America’s greatest entertainers, will always be a part of Rochester as his three children are buried in Rochester’s historic Mt. Hope Cemetery.