Pictures of Visiting Buffalo Bill Cody's Iowa Boyhood Home

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Cody Homestead

Cody Homestead

Who Is Buffalo Bill Cody?

While visiting my aunt and uncle in Bettendorf, Iowa, one year, they graciously decided to show my mother and me a bit of the surrounding countryside, which included, among other sites, Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home. The address is 28050 230th Ave, at Bluff Road in Scott County, Iowa.

This site was interesting because many people worldwide have heard about this famous fellow who has been memorialized in books, television shows, on Broadway, and primarily because of his showmanship and his famous Wild West Show.

William Frederick Cody was born in Iowa near LeClaire on February 26, 1846. Born in an era when wagon trains were heading west, Indian wars were still taking place, and the Civil War, William Cody would eventually participate in all of that and more.

Cody Homestead

My mother and I were surprised at the Cody homestead's size as it was a large and well-appointed residence. It overlooked open lands where donkeys and cattle still graze as they would have in days of yesteryears. William Frederick Cody was a small child when he lived there with his family.

Tickets only cost $2 for adults, and children 16 and under are free to tour this home and grounds in Princeton, Iowa. There is a replicated log cabin schoolhouse on the grounds, which is similar to one attended by some Cody children.


William Cody's parents came from a family background of Quakers. The belief practices of Quakers included, among other things, equality among people. Thus they were firmly opposed to any form of slavery. His father paid a lethal price for his speaking out against the practice of slavery, as did William Cody in a different way.

His father eventually succumbed to his stab wounds and died from being assaulted by a pro-slavery opponent; little William had to start earning a living to help support his mother and siblings at the young age of eleven.

As a boy, William Cody rode horses well. He started working to support his family by bearing messages between pioneers heading west in those long and dusty wagon trains.

As he aged, he reputedly also did a myriad of jobs, including such things as becoming a wagon-master, stagecoach driver, Pony Express rider, and bison hunter. His nickname of "Buffalo Bill" originated because of his supplying meat to the Kansas Pacific Railroad workers by supposedly killing many thousands of American bison (also called buffalo). Despite his history of hunting and killing, Buffalo Bill Cody was to become a well-known conservationist in later years.

Fighter and Soldier

Buffalo Bill Cody became the chief of scouts for the 3rd cavalry during the Plains Wars and received a Medal of Honor in 1872 for "gallantry in action." Sadly, the Plains Wars' primary reason between the native Americans and the European settlers was the rampant killing of the buffalo, which supplied the native Americans with their way of life. During the Utah War, he was a fighter and was an American soldier fighting for the North during the Civil War.

Just as he had become a conservationist in later life concerning the decimated herds of buffalo and other wildlife, William Cody also advocated rights for the native Americans and extended it to women's rights.

Buffalo Bill Cody

Buffalo Bill Cody

Buffalo Bill's Wild West

What made William Cody famous was his ultimate showmanship. After being introduced to the stage and starting this portion of his life in 1872 by joining James Butler's Famous Wild West Shows, with people like "Wild Bill" Hickok appearing in it, William Cody started his own Wild West show in 1883.

Nebraska would be the premier of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which would eventually travel across the United States and even appear in Europe. It was a circus-like show with horses, cattle, covered wagons, costumed Indians, campfires, and marksmanship.

Another famous person, Annie Oakley, and her husband performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West and dazzled the crowds with her accurate hitting of targets using guns. Millions of people saw this show at Madison Square Garden in New York between 1886 and 1887 during the summer and early fall season.

The Wild West would forevermore be engraved into Europeans' minds and others not familiar with the real thing because of this branding by Buffalo Bill and his troupe of actors.

"It was because of my great interest in the West, and my belief that its development would be assisted by the interest I could awaken in others, that I decided to bring the West to the East through the medium of the Wild West Show."

— Buffalo Bill

Cody, Wyoming

William Cody founded the town of Cody in Wyoming in 1895. It became incorporated in 1901. As his fame and fortunes increased, William Cody acquired more land, eventually owning about 8,000 acres in this country's beautiful area.

He started a hotel in the town, had an ever increasingly sized ranch, grazed cattle, and entertained people by offering camping and hunting trips, among other things. He loved that part of the country but also had a home in North Platte, Nebraska.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, was previously known as the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Visitors can learn much more about this famous man and see five different museums portraying the American West's art and history.

Shaping of a Life and Legacy

Looking at the boyhood home of William Cody, his family was certainly doing well financially. What would have happened had his father survived the stab wounds?

William Cody would not have had to take on the mantle of wage earner at the young age of eleven. He would probably never have had all the life experiences which led him to the nickname of Buffalo Bill and, ultimately, the world stage. Would he have become a gentleman farmer and rancher? We will never know.

William Cody died on January 10, 1917, with much of the fortune that he had earned over the years gone. His gravesite is on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado.

Two different United States Postage Stamps honor the man known as Buffalo Bill. His legacy continues to live on even to this day and time, and he has become larger than real life in many people's minds due to the hype of shows like Buffalo Bill's Wild West and other entertainment media sources.

Wild West Show in Disneyland, Paris


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 30, 2020:

Hi Denise,

At least there are still a few places out west where bison still roam freely. Going back centuries, it must have been a sight to see vast herds of them roaming the prairies. Buffalo Bill did lead a fascinating life.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 30, 2020:

What a fascinating life he had. I think I'd love to visit this place myself someday. I love the old photos of him but I do wish he didn't decimate the buffalo so much.



Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 29, 2020:

Hi Carl,

I have never lived in Iowa, but have visited it several times when driving through your state, or when visiting relatives. Thanks for reading this and leaving a comment.

Carl on October 28, 2020:

Great information and well done. As a fellow native of Iowa, this was indeed enlightening. Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 21, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving this year. I received your card and have one in the mail to you. Thanks for the wishes of angels. Wishing the same for you!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 20, 2018:

Hi. Just stopping to say hi. Hope all is good with you and your family. Angels on the way ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2017:

Hi Roberta,

Many things are possible "only in America" compared to other areas of the world. That is one reason so many people dream of coming here. Am sure you would enjoy a trip to Texas! :)

RTalloni on December 10, 2017:

My first thought on reading of the wide range of contrasts in this man's life was "only in America!" My second thought is that eventually you are going to get me to Texas for a real visit. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2013:

Hi Pencil Drawing,

That could well be the case. Nice that you have that piece of artwork.

Pencil Drawing. on November 30, 2013:

I have a Pencil drawing of Bill Cody's home in McCausland, Iowa. This drawing was done by Paul N Norton. Although the house is built the same

this was has clabboard all the way around it. There is a tree by the house.

It has a out building close to the house. A fence of wire with bobwire on top of the fence. I am thinking this was done before the house had been updated.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2013:

Hi Dolores,

So happy to be able to share some information about Buffalo Bill Cody's early boyhood home. Thanks for the visit, vote up and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

The boyhood home of "Buffalo Bill" Cody was much larger than I expected to see. His parents were obviously doing well prior to his father's early death. Thanks for your comment and the share. I enjoyed learning more about him when doing the research for this hub. :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 16, 2013:

Hi Peggy - I enjoyed sharing your visit to Buffalo Bill's home. I love to visit historic homes, and visiting the home of an historic person, you get a feel for their personality. Too bad you couldn't get the interior shots but there are a lot of those kinds of places where they do not allow you to take photographs. Voted up and shared!

moonlake from America on April 15, 2013:

How interesting and I love the house. Will vote and share this one. If I ever get there I will have to check out the Buffalo Bill Cody home.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 14, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

We can thank my aunt and uncle who thought to show us Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home which happens to be not that far away from where they live in Iowa. It was quite a house! Thanks for your comment.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 14, 2012:

You just stumble upon the most interesting places, Peggy. Thanks for pointing this out -- if I ever visit Iowa, it's worth a stop. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 13, 2011:

Hi Billy,

Buffalo Bill Cody certainly did his part to keep the images of the wild west alive!

billyaustindillon on September 13, 2011:

I always enjoy a good cowboy yarn - tales of the wild west are timeless.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2011:

Hi WesternHistory,

Will look forward to reading your hubs about William Cody aka Buffalo Bill Cody. Thanks for your comment.

WesternHistory from California on July 21, 2011:

Excellent hub. Enjoyed reading. I also have two blogs regarding William Cody and I've found the subject quite interesting to research.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2010:

Hello agusfanani,

The reconstructed log cabin and those authentic old wagons that graced the grounds of Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home were certainly added attractions. As to my picture...that was quite the crazy outfit looking at it now...but it was lightweight and I used to wear it often. Thumbs down on fashion sense. Haha!

agusfanani from Indonesia on September 20, 2010:

I love this place, and the log cabin is the best attraction. From this hub I can see your picture which makes me know one of my favorite hubbers better.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 19, 2010:

Hello hypnosis4u2,

I was also surprised to learn that "Buffalo Bill" Cody started out in Iowa. Obviously he spent much time in Wyoming and elsewhere for that matter...but even has the town of Cody, Wyoming named after him. Yes those old wagons and stagecoach were fascinating to be able to touch and see up close. Thanks for stopping by, reading and leaving a comment.

hypnosis4u2 from Massachusetts on September 19, 2010:

Great subject for a hub and lots of interesting facts and photos. I always associated Cody with Wyoming and not Iowa so thanks for correction. Seeing those old wagons in the photos was fascinating, but being up close to them must have been amazing for you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 19, 2010:

Hello Prasetio,

Glad that you found this hub about Buffalo Bill Cody of interest. We were glad that my aunt and uncle took us to the location of his boyhood home as well as other interesting areas around where they live in Iowa. Thanks for your nice comment, as always.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 19, 2010:

Peggy, I saw this place like in my television. But you always come up with beauty, like this one. Amazing pictures. I'll put this places in my list. Thank you very much. Vote up!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2010:

Hello reddog1027,

Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed this hub about Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home plus a bit more of his history. I also enjoy learning things via hubpages.

reddog1027 from Atlanta, GA on September 18, 2010:

I love visiting historical or little known places via hubpages. Thanks for the tour complete with a brief history of the Old West.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2010:

Hello Mike,

Glad that you liked this hub about the boyhood home of the famed Buffalo Bill Cody. Yes...I am just traveling down memory lane in creating these hubs. Some memories are further back and some more recent, but I have my photo albums to guide me.

There is a one room abandoned schoolhouse near where my aunt and uncle live. It is a shame that no one to date has sought to renovate and keep it from entirely falling apart.

Thanks for your nice comment. You should write a hub about your father's one room schoolhouse!

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on September 16, 2010:

I love the fact that all your travel articles are places you have actually visited--documented by your own photographs. The old log cabins are amazing to me and remind me of the schoolhouse my father went to as a young boy on a farm.

I don't head up to Iowa often, but it is only a short drive and perhaps with luck I can see this in person someday. Thanks for sharing your travels with us!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hi Cheryl,

Buffalo Bill was certainly an interesting and widely traveled man of many experiences along his life's path. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hi nifty@50,

Yes...DO check out Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home in Iowa the next time you visit your family. In what part of Iowa do they live? My relatives live in Bettendorf.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hello SimoneSmith,

Not only does Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home still exist, but it is furnished in period style and is well worth a visit. Had I owned a digital camera back then, I would have provided you with many inside shots as well. Thanks for the comment.

Cheryl on September 16, 2010:

A very interesting presentation on Buffalo Bill. A brave soldier and hunter. I loved the old schoolhouse. Thanks for sharing a piece of history to be remembered.

nifty@50 on September 16, 2010:

Have family in Iowa, will have to make a detour on our next trip and check this out! Thanks Peggy for sharing!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 16, 2010:

Gosh, I hadn't realized that Buffalo Bill Cody's old home still existed! Very cool!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hello Ellimac Ymac,

I think that you will find visiting Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home very interesting. It is quite a house! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Ellimac Ymac on September 16, 2010:

Interesting post. I live in Iowa and have not been there. I will have visit soon.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello,

Glad that you found this hub about the life and boyhood home of Buffalo Bill Cody interesting. I also found it interesting as I was doing the research for this hub. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hello Deerwhisperer,

Yes, Buffalo Bill Cody certainly had an interesting life. Thanks for taking a look at his boyhood home in Iowa and what followed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2010:

Hello Jess Killmenow,

Yes...Iowa has all kinds of interesting sites and history...Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home being just one. Thanks for the comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 16, 2010:

Thank you for such a detailed account of Buffalo Bill Cody'slife and home. You can imagine how I was fascinated reading your hub.

Brenda K Krupnow from Ravenden, AR on September 15, 2010:

Interesting account, and I loved your pictures.

Jess Killmenow from Nowheresville, Eastern United States on September 15, 2010:

Fascinating! Iowa: who knew?

Thank you, Peggy

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 15, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

Glad you liked this hub on Buffalo Bill Cody. If you noticed I put in the link to the one you did on him. Think that they compliment one another perfectly. Iowa has more to offer than most people probably think.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 15, 2010:

Hi Peggy W

I sort of miss those places around Scott county, Iowa. My memory is a bit fuzzy on some of it.It's nice to see your pictures.Nice hub on buffalo bill.

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