Shoshone Dam and Reservoir, photos by
A. G. Lucier, Left photo, 1924, Right, 1926, Cody Road to right in photos.
In 1895, 1897, and 1899, Wm. F. Cody and Nate Salsbury (1846-1902) acquired the right to take water from the Stinking Water
as a part of his plans for the
Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company. Financially strapped, Cody ultimately turned to the
Federal Government to take over the project. Salsbury was partner with Cody in the
Wild West Show and was general manager. To him some give credit for Cody's success, and
attribute Cody's subsequent problems to the fact that after Salsbury's death, Cody no longer had anyone to manage his affairs and
keep him away from women, liquor, and bad investments. It should be noted, however,
that in the last years of his life, Cody was a teatotaler.
Spillway, Shoshone Dam, approx. 1935. Photo by A. G. Lucier courtesy of
The bus is a White.
In 1903, the government took over
the project. The following year, the State Engineer, Clarence T. Johnson, reported that the
Reservoir when completed would permit the irrigation of 200,000 acres of arid land. Construction of the dam started in 1905, but the first contractor soon abandoned the job.
Difficulties encountered included no
ready source of sand or gravel for the concrete and problems when 1/2 of the
entire annual flow of the Shoshone River came in one thirty-day period. A second contractor took
over the work in 1906. The same year, the Reclamation Service was
required to take over the construction of the Corbett Tunnel portion of the job. When the dam
was completed in 1910, it was the highest concrete arch dam in the world, with a height of
325 feet, a thickness of 108 feet at its base, and a width of 200 feet across. The Reservor and
Dam were renamed after Buffalo Bill 1946. By 1975, the reservoir provided irrigation to about half
of the original expectation, 94,000 acres. Additionally, the dam provides power through
the 5,600 kilowatt power plant.
Cody Road to Yellowstone, Sentinel Rock, Right, adjacent to Shoshone Reservoir, photo by A. G. Lucier
Beneath the reservoir's
waves are the remnants of the town of Marquette, named after George Marquette. The Town of
Marquette was not much. In 1903, it was described asconsisting of a few scattered log houses, a little
log post office and a school-house described as "a little lot structure, rude, bare, unattractive, but
occuying a lightly sheltered pot on the South Fork of the Shoshone River." Slightly downstream from the town was a wire cable structure
stretched from post to post on either side of the river. Suspended from the cable was a small box, attached to
a rope and pully atachments by means of which the occupant of the box could pull himself across the river during
periods of high water. Marquette had come
to the South Fork of the Stinking Water in 1881 and in 1882 established a ranch at what is now
the site of the reservoir. George Marquette received his first land patent in 1891. The town
received its post office in 1890.
As justice of the peace and acting coronor, Marquette investigated
the killing in 1892 of the horse thief John M. "Jack" Bliss along the South Fork in an
area now known as "Bliss Meadows." Bliss was killed by a former partner in crime, Alfred "Slick" Nard,
reputedly a former member of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. [Writer's note: Nard' first name is sometimes also
referred to as "Albert."] Slick had such an awful reputation that when he was taken into custody for the
shooting of William Ewing near present-day Slick Creek ["Creek" is pronounced "Crick"],
the deputies sneaked him out of Thermopolis in the dark of the night in order to preclude him
from being freed by the other outlaws. Ed Farlow recalled:
In the morning there was a little excitement when I came over to dress Ewing’s wounds.
Slick and the deputies were gone and no one knew just how. Several of the boys were at the
saloon talking about it. When I rode up they told me Slick had gone.
I said, “Yes, I know it. He should be on the top of Ten Sleep Mountain now on his way to
Mike Brown spoke up and asked what was the big idea.
I told him straight. “We did not know how soon you fellows would say ‘turn him loose.'”
Mike replied, “Turn that son of a bitch loose? If you had said the word we would have
helped you hang him. I want you to know this, Farlow. We may rob a bank, or hold up a
stage or a railroad pay car now and then, but we are not killing working men for their
money. We are not that damn low yet.” Farlow, Edward J, Wind River Adventure, High Plains Press, Glendo, 1998.
Nard was married to Jennie Hollywood, sister of Thermopolis saloonist
John "Jack" Hollywood. Hollywood himself was reputed to have killed three men, but convicted
only once, and that for manslaughter of Smith Bray in 1909. Hollywood's defense was three-fold: (a) His shooting of
Bray didn't really kill Bray; Bray died of hypostatic pneumonia caused by a weakened heart brought on by the use
of morphine. (b) Self-defense. (c) Bray had forgiven him. On Bray's deathbed when Bray was "feeling badly," Bray told a nurse,
"It is no use. I am going to die in spite of hell. I want to tell you Jack was not to blame. It was all my fault."
Allegedly, Marquette was unable to find any friends of Bliss along the South Fork, and directed that Bliss
be buried on the spot along the Stinking Water where Bliss fell. Bliss's bones were later swept away in a flood.
Workers on the Shonshone Dam, 1908
But the death of Bliss was not the only one with which Marquette was indirctly involved. Marquette was noted for his
ability with a fiddle and would thus play at dances. Dances were a popular entertainment in the 1880's. People would
travel miles to a dance. In the 1880's, the only town around with a hall was Arland located near present day Meeteetse. Arland was not much
of a town, consisting of the obligatory saloon, livery stable, and store operated by the town's founders John F. Corbett (1848-1910) and Victor
Arland. Corbett was originally from Massachusetts and Arland from France. The town also had a hotel or rooming house, the rooms of which were separated by
"walls" made of muslin sheets. Rose Williams operated a sporting parlor. Corbett and Arland had come to the
area about 1880 from Ft. Custer and established a trading post near the foot of Rattlesnake Mountain near present day Cody.
In 1883, the two moved the trading post to Cottonwood Creek.
At Ft. Custer, Corbett had been a freighter and Arland had, apparently, been a buffalo hunter and earlier a miner in the
Black Hills. In 1883, the wagon road from Rawlins to Red Lodge, Montana, had been established by the government and the
businessmen of Red Lodge had raised a public subscription to build a $5,000.00 bridge across the Stinking Water. Thus, the following
year Corbett and Arland moved the trading post once again, apparently to be closer to the action produced by the
twice-a-week stage. Thus, the
town of Arland was born.
In 1887, Marquette was providing the fiddle music for a dance at the Hall in Arland. On the night in
question, Marquette was tuning up and the dancers pairing up. There appeared in the doorway an
individual variously known as "Broken Nose" Jackson or "Rawhide" Jackson. The music stopped. A hush came over the crowd, that strange
silence which occurs when there is some horrible faux pas. There lying on the doorstep was the dead body of
Jackson and in Victor Arland's hand was a smoking gun. The festivities, however, resumed, with
Vic's remonstrance, "Stop staring like a bunch of idiots. Start up the music, he can't hurt you. He's dead."
Jackson was stowed away in a backroom awaiting burial the next day. And as old-fashioned social columns used to say,
"A good time was had by all." Three years later, Vic Arland and Rose Williams were visiting Red Lodge.
While Vic was playing poker in Dunivan's Saloon, he was killed by a shot through the
window. Rose Williams, herself, was ultimately found dead in the road outside of a house belonging to
Belle Drewry about five miles downstream from Arland.
The music finally stopped in Arland in 1897. At a dance, Belle Drewry plugged
Jesse Conway. Belle was, as they say, "a professional lady" and had arrived in Arland about 1891 from Sundance where
she had run into problems with the law. Conway and Corbett were in a dispute over the affections of Belle. Earlier, others found themselves pushing up daisies as a
result of such disputes. William Gallagher, a Pitchfork cowboy, was killed by
Bill Wheaton after Gallagher beat up Belle. Previously, Belle and Gallagher had been friends. When
Bill was arrested for improperly branding a horse, Belle had gone his bail. A one-eyed cowboy named Bill
Hoolihan attempted to avenge Gallagher's killing. Wheaton was the better shot.
Wheaton was sent off to Laramie for eight years.
After Conway was plugged, his friends loaded his body over the back of
a horse and departed. The next day, however, they returned and killed Belle and three of her
co-workers. By this time, Meeteetse had been founded and probably the main raison d'etre for the continued viability of
Arland were the ladies. With their deaths, Arland faded from existence, the only trace remaining is the
Cody Road, adjacent to Shonshone river, photo by F. J. Hiscock
Right: Cody Road, approx. 1936. Photo by A. G. Lucier, courtesy Betty Amendson.
Next Page: Cody Road Continued.