The history of Cody area eateries; cafés, diners, bakeries, coffee shops, drive-ins and restaurants from 1900 -2019 will be explored at the Cody library. Park County Archivist Robyn Cutter will discuss the hundreds of establishments she has so far researched at 2 p.m. on the first three Saturdays in November.
On Nov. 2, she will present the eateries which span the letters A-H. Topics include the A&W Drive-in, Bronze Boot, Cody Spudnut, Green Gables, Hughes Systems Inc. – a diner and Cody’s first cafe started by Buffalo Bill’s cook, George Grupp, in 1900.
The program on Nov. 9 will address I-P or the Irma through Patsy Ann’s. Queen’s Parlor and Café to Zapata’s, Q-Z, wind up on Nov. 16.
Robyn delights in the stories. For instance, Ken Quintiliani stopped by the Archives with a question about a largely intact portable diner he had acquired. It had been serving as a chicken house in Otto, Wyo. He knew it had been in Cody at one point, but, had no idea what the name had been or where it was situated. Robyn thrives on solving this kind of mystery.
Her research revealed that the Hughes System Inc. diner originally stood on the corner of Beck Avenue and 13th Street. It opened in 1948. The module was manufactured in Wichita, KS. by Valentine Laboratories. From there it moved to East Sheridan Ave. where it was dubbed the Reclamation Diner by virtue of its proximity to the Bureau of Reclamation. Moved to Meeteetse, the diner operated as the Standard Service Café, then on to Greybull where it was known as DeLane Café. Quintilliani found a DeLane Café menu in the course of his restoration.
Robyn’s restaurant study is part of a larger Cody Business history project that she undertook three years ago. The projects grow every day.
Robyn relies on obituaries, newspaper ads and articles, the sponsors listed in the back of yearbooks, grave registries, Rotary Club and Stampede programs, menus and random people dropping by with information to build a picture of Cody through time. When a business changes owners, the name is often changed, too.
She stresses the importance of adding critical details to print advertisements. A photograph of the business, owners name, location and notice of name changes will serve future archivists well.
Beyond simple documentation, Robyn feels that capturing history pays tribute to people gone but not forgotten. Seeing the photos and the names makes people say “Oh, I knew them.” “I loved Coley’s Café broasted chicken.” “Remember chili cheese dogs at Bud’s?”
The holidays seem to trigger memories of family and past events. “I hope people will share their photos and memorabilia with the archives,” Robyn said. “It all helps to complete the puzzle that is Cody history.”