120 Year Old Poster Hidden Under Manistee Building Siding Destroyed

What started as a routine construction job in Manistee turned into something much more with the discovery of a Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show poster underneath a building’s siding. Since it’s discovery on September 16th, the historic artifact has been destroyed. 

“Happened while we were eating  lunch,” says Jesse Vanderbrie, a contractor with Jack Vanderbrie Building L.L.C. “We had the side of the building opened up because we were trying to continue our work and somebody came and helped themselves to it.” 

A resident at the building says the owner gave the person in question the poster. “It wasn’t stolen,” she says.

The poster is from 1898. It’s believed that Buffalo Bill – William F. Cody – made a stop in Manistee that year while touring Michigan. Cody Museum, in Wyoming, says it may be a rare version of the poster for the show says Vanderbrie. The Wild West show was popular in the U.S. and Europe from the late 19th-century to early 20th-century. 

Vanderbrie says he was working on removing siding on the building when he first made the discovery.

“We made a cut and stripped it down and said this kind of looks like something back there and we made another cut and stripped a little more back and what’s left here is the Buffalo Bill poster,” he says. “I’m an old west history fan so I kind of recognized it right off the bat, which is why we did more stripping and cutting and just really didn’t believe it. Once we fully got it out it was like holy cow this is the real thing here.” 

“Initial reaction was to take some good pictures of it and right away I called Mark Fedder at the Manistee Museum figuring they would know what to do with it,” Vanderbie says. Fedder did not return requests for an interview before 9&10’s deadline. 

Vanderbrie says the poster’s remains will be kept sealed under a tarp until the museum and the building owner decide what can be done. He hopes the person responsible for taking parts of the poster will do the right thing.