William F. Cody had done a lot by the time he came to be one of the influential figures in the Inn’s early days. As a young rider for the Pony Express, he had earned distinction for one of the fastest rides in the history of the Pony Express. Shortly after, he served in the cavalry and married Louisa Frederici. In the early 1880s Buffalo Bill was dazzling audiences with what would soon become his Wild West show, which gained him international prominence. Among his fans were some of Europe’s most powerful leaders, including Queen Victoria.
In 1894, shortly after the Inn’s completion, Buffalo Bill was involved in the Inn and invested in the Inn’s future. Buffalo Bill never owned the building, but did purchase the interior furnishings and hired George Canfield as his general manager.
Buffalo Bill formed the W.F.Cody Hotel Company and also the W.F. Cody Transportation Company and ran a stage from his barn.
Buffalo Bill lived at the Inn when ever he was in town from his Wild West shows, and often held auditions from the massive front porch which is 116 ft long and 14 ft. wide. The old green rocking chairs that are currently in the Lobby were much used on the cool porch. He held many dances in the dining room for his many traveling companions. He always sat on the third stool from the left at the bar. The original bar remains at the Inn and is in use today.
While at the Inn, he and his long time friend, George planned the irrigation system near Cody, Wyoming, and the city of Cody itself. He also designed and built the Irma Hotel in Cody, naming it after his youngest daughter, Irma. Once the Irma Hotel was built, he and his family stayed at the Irma but visited the Inn often.