The Cody Road

This 1946 brochure advertises the route from Cody, Wyoming, to Yellowstone Park. Burlington rails had reached Cody in 1901, and no doubt the railroad lobbied hard for the construction of the Cody Road, which opened in 1903. This made it possible for people to go into the park through the Cody or Gardiner entrances and leave by the other, thus staying on trains of NP or Burlington–which was nearly half owned by the NP–in both directions.

Click image to download a 7.4-MB PDF of this 12-page brochure.

Many of the photos in the brochure date to 1903, when Cheyenne photographer Joseph Stimson, who had photographed scenes on the Union Pacific‘s original transcontinental route, was hired by the state of Wyoming to take pictures of this new route into the park. The photo of Sylvan Pass on page 8, for example, can also be found on page 112 of Passage to Wonderland, in which photographer Michael Amundson rephotographs many of Stimson’s original scenes. Burlington artists added the image of a streamlined bus to the Stimson’s original photo to bring it up to date, just as the Burlington postcard below, which dates to the 1920s, has the image of a touring car added to a colorized version of Stimson’s photo.

Click image to download a 537-KB PDF of this postcard.

The back of the postcard indicates it was mailed to someone in St. Louis in August, 1926, and contains the words, “I can’t resist the temptation to send you a card from the Burlington diner. The trip has been fine & pleasant thus far, the scenery wonderful, worthy of Wis. & Minn.” (Most westerners would bristle to hear their scenery being considered “worthy” of scenery in the Midwest.)

Click image to download a 438-KB PDF of this postcard.

Page 12 of the brochure has a tiny image of “Burlington’s Cody Inn at Cody, Wyoming.” This inn, located right next to the Burlington’s railroad tracks but a couple of miles from the Cody city center, opened in 1924 and, judging from the postcards above and below, expanded soon thereafter. Some sources say it opened in 1927, so perhaps that was the year it was expanded. The inn continued to operate in some capacity until 1956, when Burlington ended passenger service to Cody.

At some point, the Burlington built a large, three-story structure between the two original two-story buildings that made up the Cody Inn. Click image to download a 287-KB PDF of this postcard.

The Cody Road brochure shows many natural features found along the route into the park. But it doesn’t include the image below of the road spiraling over itself. While unusual, this was not unique: similar bridges can be found on the Iron Mountain Road in South Dakota, and I believe one survives on old highway 99 near Ashland, Oregon.

Click image for a larger view.

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