Saturday, August 25, 2012

Buffalo Wyoming, something about this city...

I promised earlier that I would do a posting on the City of Buffalo Wyoming.  In an earlier blog I mentioned that this is the second time I have been "stuck in Buffalo", and all I can say is, there are worse places to be stuck in, that is for sure.

Fort Phil Kearny was established in the late 1860's just north of Buffalo along the Bozeman Trail.  At one time this fort housed 400 troops and 150 civilians.  The area around the fort was the site of the Fetterman massacre and the Wagon Box Fight.  Soldiers who died in these skirmishes are buried at Custer's National Cemetery.

Buffalo elected its first mayor in 1881.  In 1877 Fort McKinney was established near Buffalo, named after Lieutenant John McKinney, 4th U.S. Cavalry, killed in an attack on a Cheyenne village on November 26, 1876 on the Red Fork of the Powder River.  In 1878 the fort was moved to just west of downtown Buffalo.  The fort, at times, was the home to the units of the 6th Cavalry, and the 9th Cavalry, a black army unit of "Buffalo Soldiers".  In 1894 the fort was closed down, but in 1903 it was converted into a Wyoming State Home for Soldiers and Sailors, and is still in use today.

Above and below is the lawn and older building of the Soldier's Home, which sits on the site of the old fort.
 Below is a more modern building that is part of the Soldier's home.

Historic personalities such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Tom Horn, Teddy Roosevelt and Calamity Jane paid visits to Buffalo for a soft bed or a strong drink. Historic buildings dating back to the 1800's are now homes to unique shops & restaurants in downtown Buffalo, like in this picture below.  The Occidental Hotel and Saloon holds the distinction of being the oldest working hotel in Wyoming, and where Butch and Sundance once stayed.
One of the other historical events which took place near Buffalo was the historic Johnson County War, a range war that took place in 1892.  Fought between small ranchers against larger ranchers in the Powder River Country, it culminated in a lengthy shootout between local ranchers, a band of hired killers, and a sheriff's posse.  Intervention of the United States Cavalry on the orders of President Benjamin Harrison calmed the war down...but the underlying reasons lasted for many years, and many a movie and western story has used the theme of the war.

Today Buffalo is a city of just under 5,000 people, the largest city in Johnson County, and its county seat.  We have found the people to be very nice, friendly and helpful.  It is a pleasure to go into a gas station store and be greeted with a smile and hello.  The medical professionals we have encountered have been very nice.  The police actively, yet quietly, go about doing their business.  There are many tourist who drop through for a day, perhaps two before moving on.  Two Interstate Highways run through Buffalo, I-90 and I-25, the later which finds its northern most point at Buffalo, spurring off of I-90 and headed down to Cheyenne, Denver, and eventually through Albuquerque New Mexico to Las Cruces.  Of course, highway 16 across the Bighorn Mountains also runs through Buffalo, which brought us here.  Highway 16 also runs near Mount Rushmore, one of our future stops, and the last item on this years "want to see" list.

Above is the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum.  The museum in contained in a few buildings, including the nice looking building in the picture which was, at one time, the County Library Building.  The new Library is pictured below.
Below is the Johnson County Medical Complex.  It contains the hospital, emergency room, health clinic and a nursing home.  The hospital contains around 25 beds, 2-3 for maternity, 3 ICU, and the rest for other medical problems.
 Below is the one and only Drug Store.  They were also very nice and quick.
Below is the Buffalo Calvary Chapel Church, which includes a radio station.  We look forward to attending church there on Sunday, and have been listening to the radio station while driving around town.
 Below are some of the various types of homes which can be found in Buffalo.




Below is a view from the outskirts of town, just west of the main part of town.  Here there is a wide collection of new and old homes. 
The one male nurse that gave me the IV once during the week told me that until the housing crunch hit, there was about a dozen areas where small groups of homes were being built.  The economy has not hit Buffalo too hard...those who want to work can find a job, with the unemployment rate in the low 6% area.  There has been a bust in the natural gas industry due to the low prices, but once prices pick up, this industry will pick up again.  

 As for the weather, the winters are not too bad on the average.  Low 30's in the day, teens or single didget at night.  November through March together is only around 2" of precipitation.  The rain season is April-July when a total of 7 inchs of the yearly 13 inches fall.  Summer highs arverage in the mid-80's, with lows in the 50's.  On the extreme side, it has been as cold at -35 during the winter, and as high as 106 in the summer.  It snows, but it does not snow that much.  Back in 1959 there was a death due to a tornado, the only F2 tornado in recent history.  Of the few tornadoes reported, most have been F0, minor tornadoes.  

Overall, Buffalo seems to be a nice little place to live in.  I am glad we encountered such a place as we had to hole up for a week...but we both look forward to moving on this Tuesday.

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