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This Date In Central Minnesota History – February 28th, 1883

ST. CLOUD — February 28th, 1883 Buffalo Bill stayed at the Central House Hotel in St. Cloud.

Photo of the Central House Hotel where Buffalo Bill stayed, courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

There has always been a hotel on the corner of St. Germain Street and 5th Ave South. The first one was built there in the 1850’s by Anton Edelbrock and called the Central House. Josiah and Mary Hayward took over for Edelbrock in 1863, and they built a three-story brick structure there in 1881. They would later change the name to the Grand Central Hotel.

William Frederick Cody, more commonly known as “Buffalo Bill”, was born in 1846. He worked as a U.S. army scout, a buffalo hunter for the railroad, and as a well-known prairie scout. But he is best known for his Wild West show, which he started in 1883. This traveling show was a four-hour program full of Indian war dances, a stagecoach robbery, trick riders, ropers, and shooters, as well as many different wild American animals. The lineup included such legendary figures as Sitting Bull, Calamity Jane, and Annie Oakley. This popular show ran until 1913. Buffalo Bill died in 1917.

A photo copy image of the original ledger recording of Buffalo Bill's stay in St. Cloud

Herman Pelzer, a local electrician, found an old and yellowed piece of paper in the walls of the Grand Central Hotel in the spring of 1956. This was a page from the hotel register of 1883! Imagine his surprise when he read the name “Buffalo Bill”! Apparently William Cody, aka: Buffalo Bill, stayed the night at the Central House Hotel on February 28, 1883. His first Wild West show wouldn’t take place until May 19, 1883 in Omaha, Nebraska, so this stop was prior to his show. The newspapers of the time didn’t mention his visit, and this registry is the only evidence that this famous man stopped here in St. Cloud.

Grand Central Hotel

The Grand Central Hotel was razed in 1972. Most recently the corner of St. Germain and 5th Avenue South has held the Radisson Hotel. Soon, a new chapter will begin on this corner with the Le St-Germain Suite Hotel, which will begin operation here on March 1, 2011.

Thanks again to the Stearns History Museum for their help with our Series This Date In Central Minnesota History.

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