William Cody had tried to finance privately a dam on the Shoshone
river, but he failed. His efforts were crucial in convincing the
federal government to take on the project, however.
Construction began on the Shoshone Dam in 1905 and was completed in
1910. The name was changed in 1946 to the Buffalo Bill Dam as a tribute
to Cody's efforts to use Shoshone River water for irrigation.
The dam was constructed at a narrow 70 foot wide section of the
canyon. The hard granite on both sides made it an ideal spot for the
Tunnels had to be cut through the rock in the canyon in order to
reach the dam site. The tunnels were cut by men working with pick axes
Seven men died and three companies went broke during the initial construction.
The dam was initially 300 feet high. In 1990 the dam was raised by 25 feet.
Water from the Buffalo Bill Reservoir provides irrigation for the Powell valley.