“Buffalo Bill” Cody: Did You Know?

July 31st, 2015

“Buffalo Bill” Cody – Library of Congress

This weekend is Lanesboro’s biggest festival, “Buffalo Bill Days.”

Just check out everything that’s planned for the weekend!

You might wonder why Lanesboro, Minnesota hold a festival for that famous western showman, “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Well, as it turns out, in the year 1900 Mr. Cody performed some of his first Wild West shows right here in Lanesboro. Even back then, Lanesboro was a hot traveler’s spot, and Lanesboro’s own Doc Powell, who went by the stage name of “White Beaver” helped put on the show.

One of Doc Powell's remedies, courtesy of the Lanesboro Historical Musem's collection

One of Doc Powell’s remedies, courtesy of the Lanesboro Historical Musem’s collection

But did you know…

-Cody’s nickname came from the fact that he killed over 4,000 Buffalo personally in his time out west.

-Cody served in the Union Army as a scout during the Civil War, and his continuing work as chief of scouts following the war earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1872.

-Cody took part in some of the first “media events” in American history, gaining publicity for the Army of the West by taking people like the Grand Duke of Russia on a buffalo hunt.

-Buffalo Bill successfully blurred the lines between fact and fiction in his shows, bringing in real Wild West legends like “Wild Bill” Hickok and Texas Jack Omohundro alongside his performers. It was the first reality show!

-At the height of his popularity, Cody was known the world over and was consulted by Presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Woodrow Wilson about matters concerning the American West.

-Because of his shows, the term “cow-boy” went from being an insult (meaning a coarse and callous person) to a term to be admired. The shows featured skilled riding, roping, and trick shots from famous shootists like Annie Oakley.

-In 1887, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show was invited to England to perform for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Hard to believe that only a hundred years before, we had just got done fighting for our independence from England!

-Buffalo Bill gave out many free passes to orphanages when the Wild West show came to town. He argued for equal pay and voting rights for women, and the show’s women received pay comparable to the men in the show.

Come on down to Lanesboro, Minnesota this weekend for a celebration, and be sure to check out the Cannon Old West Society as they pay tribute to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows with re-enactments here in Lanesboro this Sunday. I hear they might rob the downtown bank!

photo from the Fillmore County Journal.


Try-It Tuesday: Back Pedal

July 28th, 2015

When it comes to Lanesboro, there’s not only food that you can try for the first time, but lots of new businesses to try out as well! As you may have read, Lanesboro welcomed ten new businesses this year: some were old familiars under new management, some were additions to existing businesses, and some were brand new ventures looking to add their own special something to the city. Now, if you can believe it, we have even more businesses coming in for the fall season, and even some planned for 2016. Lanesboro is hopping!

"It's all about layering" says the official Back Pedal Facebook page!

“It’s all about layering” says the official Back Pedal Facebook page!

One of our new shops to try is Back Pedal, located right upstairs in our corner grocery, Beste Byen. You might remember them last week as the folks who sell that wonderful, Lanesboro-roasted coffee from Pedal Pushers, but all you have to do is head upstairs to enter a whole different kind of place. One look around Back Pedal’s bright, welcoming interior makes you instantly glad you hopped up the stairs: with antiques, furniture, clothing, and vintage items for re-purposing, it’s a little bit of everything that makes Lanesboro great. It’s all got the theme of a well-traveled life, with a thin-spoked bicycle wheel perched atop a classic wooden sled, perfectly blending the seasons and the outdoors with style.

How about an insulated purse for all of you thirsty travelers?

How about an insulated purse for all of you thirsty travelers?

In short, Back Pedal is an upstairs full of everything that makes Lanesboro Lanesboro: unique, fun, and not something you’re going to find in your average sort of place. Lanesboro is a haven for the home-made, the hand-made, and the heartfelt, something truly different along the banks of the Root River. Here at Lanesboro, we’re thrilled to have Peggy and Sara bringing their passion to town, and we invite anyone who wants to follow their bliss to consider Lanesboro as a business destination and as their new home. It’s because of all of you that Lanesboro is what it is!

Psst! If you’re a little farther north, feel free to check out what Back Pedal has to offer at the Junk Crush event in Lake City by clicking here! The event happens on September 12th and 13th, so if you’re looking for more re-purposing and fun, be sure to take a look!

Lanesboro’s Historical Walking Tour

July 24th, 2015


Lanesboro is a town that is steeped in history: from the early heyday of the Phoenix Hotel, to the modern splendor of the Lanesboro Arts Campus, to the ancient and stunning area bluffs, it’s impossible to walk down any street in Lanesboro and not be surrounded by history.

So, why not do exactly that?

The Lanesboro Historical Walking Tour & Map is a fantastic tool for the local history buff. Anyone who has spent time studying history will tell you that, while the big names and the big events get all the credit, all those big names were once little names, and those big events often took place in little places, like Gettysburg, or New Madrid, or Centralia. Why, even Buffalo Bill Cody himself had the genesis of his world-famous Wild West Show start in a little, unassuming Bluff Country town… and that town was called Lanesboro.

With the walking tour, you can finally answer that pesky question of “hey, was this old building something before it was a tasty sandwich shoppe, or a world-class Bed & Breakfast?” The map lists 32 locations within the city limits, and all within a good walk, that tell the story of Lanesboro from the very beginning. Lanesboro was originally designed to be an attraction town, and you can see it all through the town’s timeline. Just from walking around, map in hand, you can see generations come to life on these very streets, and see how Lanesboro has gone from railroad destination to a biking and arts mecca on the Root River. At the very least, you’ll finally find out who Habberstad, Scanlan, and Thompson actually were, before their names graced some of our B&Bs.

The paper map is currently out of print but, luckily for us, these 100+ year-old buildings are pulling up roots and moving any time soon. Check out the last printing of the Historical Map, in digital form, and play the part of city anthropologist for an afternoon: what was here, what’s here now, and is what was here now what was still there when the map was printed? These are the questions all good historians love to answer, so let yourself get lost in the rich, fascinating history of this little town of Lanesboro.

Click here to download digital versions of the Lanesboro Historical Walking Tour & Map!

Try-It Tuesday: Pedal Pusher’s “Beste Byen Breakfast Blend” Coffee

July 21st, 2015
Lanesboro coffee... in a Lanesboro mug, naturally!  A big thank you to Deneen Pottery for the awesome mug!

Lanesboro coffee… in a Lanesboro mug, naturally!
A big thank you to Deneen Pottery for the awesome mug!

Benjamin Franklin loved coffee:

“Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable.”

Amen, brother. Is there anything better than a cup of coffee to get you going? Morning, noon, or night, you can count on coffee to give you that one-of-a-kind kick, along with some surprising health benefits. Your standard cup of joe contains antioxidants called polyphenols that studies are showing can combat cancer and take out those pesky free radicals in your body. According to AARP:

“Recent research has shown that coffee, in particular, may help prevent diseases like stroke and certain cancers, lower our risk of Parkinson’s and dementia, and boost our concentration and memory.

All of this leads to one thing: have a cup of coffee, won’t you?

Luckily for us here in Lanesboro, we’ve got a one-two coffee combination that’s sure to be good for what ails you. Did you know you can get freshly-roasted coffee right here in our own downtown? Our local-food-loving café, Pedal Pushers, actually roasts its coffee in the restaurant, ensuring you get the freshest cup possible. What’s more, you can head across the street from our corner café to our corner grocery, Beste Byen, and grab the roasted whole beans to take home with you.

Pedal Pushers makes several different blends, but what you see up there is a cooperative effort between the corner café and the corner grocery: the Beste Byen Breakfast Blend. It’s a smooth, comforting roast that’s just what you need to warm you up on a quiet, misty morning. It was served at the Lanesboro Chamber Board meeting this morning and it was a big hit!

So take a little bit of Lanesboro back home with you, and enjoy all those fond memories every time you grind those beans up fresh. Smell is the closest sense tied to memory, after all, and for my money there’s no better smell than freshly-ground coffee.