August 17, 1910: Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West” show’s final visit to Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1910, Buffalo Bill Cody’s “Wild West” show performed in Duluth for the last time. The show had been to Duluth several times before, as William Cody’s sister lived in West Duluth (Duluth’s Cody neighborhood is named for the siblings, as was West Duluth’s Cody Hotel; Cody also built the Duluth Press Building in the West End for his brother-in-law). But Buffalo Bill was on his farewell tour in 1910. The popularity of his Wild west show was waning, as witnessed by the inclusion of the “Far East” exhibition of Major Gordon W. Lillie or “Pawnee Bill.” Two shows were performed at the fairgrounds, once called Oneota Park and better known today as the Wheeler Field softball complex. Admission was $1, just over $23 in today’s terms—a pretty good deal. Advertisements promised actors portraying all sorts of exotic peoples, including “American Indians [of course]…Bedouin Arabs,…Whirling Dervishes, Hindoo [sic] Fakirs… [and] American Cowgirls. Events included battles and war dances, shooting exhibitions, military drills by Royal Irish Dragoons and Royal English Lancers, feats of horsemanship, and “musical elephants.”

A poster advertising Buffalo Bill’s final Wild West Show tour in 1910. (Image: Public Domain)