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buffalo bill oil companyEvery hear about a Buffalo Bill oil company? William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s legacy extends beyond his popular wild west show. A Wyoming town and museum named for him preserve his Big Horn Basin heritage. Lesser known is his brief exploration into the oil business.

buffalo bill oil company

“Bill, the Oil King” stands by one of his cable-tool wells drilled near Cody, Wyoming, at the beginning of the 20th century. Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

In his day, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show made William F. Cody the world’s most famous man. His fantastic travelling presentations of wild Indian attacks on wagon trains, amazing marksmanship by Annie Oakley, and a host of other attractions thrilled audiences across America and Europe.

Buffalo Bill Cody was a tireless promoter of the frontier town he helped found in 1896 that bears his name. A Cody, Wyoming, newspaper he and a partner started in 1899 is still publishing today. The Cody Enterprise acknowledges W.F. Buffalo Bill Cody on its masthead.

As a partner in the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company, he enticed the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad to build an extension from Toluca, Montana, to Cody to ensure future growth and prosperity in the Big Horn Basin of north-central Wyoming.

Always a businessman, Buffalo Bill had earlier formed the W.F. Cody Hotel Company when the railroad reached Sheridan, about 150 miles east of Cody, in 1892. He will open the Irma Hotel (named after his daughter) in Cody in 1902. Historian Robert Bonner notes that the veteran showman promoted his enterprises endlessly with anyone who would listen.

“He saw great possibilities in every direction, and he had an unquestioned faith in his personal ability to achieve whatever he set out to do,” writes Bonner in William F. Cody’s Wyoming Empire: The Buffalo Bill Nobody Knows. “He was always willing to back up his words with his money.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

His 1939 “Oil Fields of Graham” today remains on display in its original Texas oil patch community’s historic U.S. Postal Service building – now a museum.

Born in Memphis, Missouri, on February 22, 1898, Alexandre Hogue will become known for his paintings of southwestern scenes during the Great Depression – including murals of the 1930s petroleum industry. Read the rest of this entry »

 

 Published in June 2013, Texas Oil and Gas, is part of Arcadia Publishing’s series of books featuring historic postcards. Using often rare postcards from the state's historic oilfields, author Jeff Spencer, a Houston geologist, conveys a lot of fascinating details through his carefully researched captions.

Published in 2013, Texas Oil and Gas, is part of Arcadia Publishing’s series of books featuring historic postcards. Using often rare postcards from the state’s historic oilfields, author Jeff Spencer, a Houston geologist, conveys a lot of fascinating details through his carefully researched captions.

For anyone interested in exploring petroleum history – or vintage postcards from Texas – one book combines both in an educational 128 pages.

The history of America’s oil and natural gas industry provides an important context for teaching young people the modern energy business. Arcadia Publishing’s Texas Oil and Gas by Jeff A. Spencer is a teaching resource that should be in many Texas high-school classrooms.

A geologist with Amromco Energy, Houston, Spencer has authored or co-authored more than 20 oilfield history papers. He has documented petroleum-related postcards from West Virginia, California, Ontario, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas.

A tenacious researcher and collector – the majority of the book’s more than 200 images are from the author’s private collection – Spencer acknowledges help received from Texas oil museums. Read the rest of this entry »