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Buffalo Bill Ranch a National Historic Landmark

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 9:39 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During a recent trip to the home of Buffalo Bill Cody, we learned more about his mansion and the ranch that surrounds it.

It turns out that back in January, the Secretary of the Interior signed off on the ranch as a National Historic Landmark. “This encompasses about eight acres of the land,” park superintendent Adam Jones said. “It’s a great honor.” This designation could lead to more visitors to the park this summer.

“Bill settled down here a little before 1886,” Jones said. “The mansion was built in 1886, the barn was built in 1887. He just felt like North Platte, which was a very small town at the time, was a great place to settle down and spend his retirement.” Buffalo Bill had a couple of requests for the house when it was being built. It had to have 10-foot porches. “Back then, the norm was 6 feet,” Jones said. “And, he wanted walk-in closets, which was not the norm at the time. The mansion has 18 rooms, and there was an addition put on in 1909. He would spend his time here in between shows.”

The “shows” relate to his “Wild West Shows”. “Those shows to him were technically not wild west shows,” Jones said. “To Buffalo Bill, these were realistic representations of what the west was. He gathered people from all over the world, and the performers included Native Americans.”

The architecture of the mansion is the Second Empire style. Perhaps one of the reasons why the mansion still stands out today, is the fact that it was very large at the time it was built. “What I think is the neatest is the cupola, the very high window at the top of the mansion,” Jones said. “You have to imagine the grounds here. There were no trees. It was just open prairie. They used the cupola, which has windows on all four sides, to see who was coming and going.”

The public is invited to tour the mansion. It’s open 7 days a week right now from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is a $2 admission to the mansion, and you do need a state park permit to enter the park.

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