This article was originally published in a 1983 Center of the West newsletter
The most solid emblems of permanence in a western pioneer town were the hotel, the railroad station, the church, and the newspaper. William F. Cody had a hand in building all four for his namesake, Cody, Wyoming. Because of the long memories of Mr. and Mrs. George Abrahamson of Lodi, California, the Buffalo Bill Museum now boasts one of the weightiest symbols of Buffalo Bill’s commitment—a two-ton Babcock drum cylinder printing press.
In 1889 Cody hired Colonel J.H. Peake of Washington, D.C., to publish and edit the Cody Enterprise. The press probably came from Duluth, Minnesota, where Cody had established a printing company for his sister, Helen, and her husband. Originally steam-driven and hand-fed, the press could turn out only 600 impressions per hour. By 1929 it had outlived its usefulness with the newspaper and was sold to Vic Abrahamson, brother-in-law of Enterprise owner Ernest Shaw. The two men made a gentlemen’s agreement that one day the press would come home to the Buffalo Bill Museum. Today we are indebted to the Abrahamsons for remembering a handshake made over a half century ago.