December 14, 2009

Wild West Show billboard found

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show billboard found under Mankato home's siding

By Brian OjanpaWorkers ripped the siding from a circa 1880 house in Mankato and Old West history burst forth.

Tattered from more than a century’s worth of wear, the large billboard montage once touted the Mankato appearance of a world-famous entertainment extravaganza—Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
And:On the basis of the billboard’s references, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wy., determined the show’s Mankato appearance date was Sept. 2, 1899.

A headline in the Mankato Daily Free Press a few days later alluded to the performance, describing it as “Mankato Invaded by Indians, Filipinos, Mexicans and Other Picturesque People.”
Comment:  The Daily Free Press headline is revealing. It sums up how people perceived Indians. To them, Indians, Filipinos, and Mexicans--i.e., anyone brown-skinned--was an invader encroaching on (white) American land.

Did they realize Indians once owned the whole continent and Mexicans owned a third of it? Probably not.

For more on the subject, see "Buffalo Bill and the Indians on the Beach" and Mythologizing the American West.

Below:  "Bits and pieces of a billboard uncovered Dec. 1, 2009 by workers re-siding an old house in Mankato, Minn., are from an 1899 billboard touting Buffalo Bill's Wild West show that performed in the community, Sept. 2, 1899. It is suspected that the billboard wasn't placed there as an advertisement but was used years ago as a make-shift housewrap." (AP Photo/John Cross, Mankato Free Press)


Kat said...


dmarks said...

And they never left. When I was in Venice, a "tribe" of stereotypical and presumably fake Indians was set up playing poppy new-agy flute music. CDs for sale too.