Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, along with a veritable “Who’s Who in the U.S. Navy,” put World War II behind them with a visit to Wyoming in the summer of 1946. On January 12, 12:15 p.m. at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, historian Bob Richard tells their story with photographs captured by his father, well-known photographer Jack Richard, as well as his own recollection of the visit. The free illustrated talk takes place in the Center’s John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery.
During their five-day trip to the state, U.S. Senator E.V. Robertson (R-Wyo.) and his then secretary, Jack Richard, accompanied the naval entourage—a troop that also included famed Antarctic explorer Rear Admiral Richard Byrd. Their first stop was Cheyenne where the group landed at midnight, Wednesday, July 11, 1946, and enjoyed the Frontier Days Rodeo the next day.
On Friday, the Nimitz party headed to Yellowstone National Park, over-nighted at Old Faithful, and discovered the order of the day on Saturday to be fishing, swimming, and lunch on Stevenson Island in Yellowstone Lake. That afternoon, it was off to Cody for a welcome in “fine western tradition,” according to the younger Richard.
Among the Cody notables were Senator Robertson, Paul Stock, Ernest Shaw, Milward Simpson, and artist Edward Grigware, who had served with Nimitz in the Pacific, and who presented a portrait of Nimitz he’d painted for the occasion. All attended a special dinner party in honor of the admiral, and on Sunday, traveled to Coe Lodge and the Hoodoo Ranch before returning to Washington, DC, that night.
The Richard family has guided people to the wonders and beauty of the Greater Yellowstone region since 1902, including Admiral Nimitz’s staff and dignitaries. Today, Bob Richard carries on the tradition, sharing stories about the Greater Yellowstone region—including those about his own tenure as a ranger in the Park—and writing books about his experiences in the area.
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Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.