Saturday, June 2, 2007

1878 Buffalo Bill Billboard Restored

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An 1878 billboard promoting a "Buffalo Bill" Cody stage show has been restored, five years after it was discovered beneath the crumbling brick facade of a former hotel.

The 24-by-10-foot paper billboard had been pasted to an unfinished exterior wall of the hotel during construction 129 years ago and was sandwiched in by brick when the building was completed.

The billboard, a montage of the Wild West folk hero and scenes from his show, was revealed when part of the wall fell away from the building in June 2002.

"It's a miracle that it even exists," said Dr. Juti Winchester, curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo.

Printed from engraved wood blocks, the billboard resembles a watercolor painting in hues of orange, brown and blue. A multicolor, life-size depiction of the bearded Cody _ clad in fringed buckskin and holding a rifle _ is of particular importance, said Winchester, who traveled to western New York for Saturday's unveiling of the finished work.

"We don't have much of this early imagery of Buffalo Bill," she said.

William F. Cody, who died in 1917, was a prospector-turned-Pony Express rider and Civil War veteran who later hunted buffalo to feed railroad construction crews. According to legend, he earned the name Buffalo Bill in a daylong shooting match with a hunter named William Comstock, presumably to determine who deserved the title.

He became a national folk hero in dime novels written by Ned Buntline, who in 1872 persuaded Cody to tell stories of the Wild West on stage......

Source : washingtonpost

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