The State of Wyoming with its numerous historic places embraces its heritage of the American West through its ranches, museums, parks, monuments and well-preserved hotels situated across the state. Its historic past includes Indian tribes, pioneers, cattle barons, gold miners, gold rushes, outlaws and famous icons. If you are venturing across the state stroll back in time and visit a historic hotel for yourself and experience a piece of Wyoming’s well-kept treasures.
One such place that holds true to its time is the historic Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming. Founded in the late 1880s, the establishment has a reputation of being visited by outlaws and gold miners. Some famous guests were Butch Cassidy and the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Teddy Roosevelt, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and Tom Horn. This Wyoming hotel is beautifully preserved and restored to its original appearance. Many of intricate details are still visible today including the beautifully embossed ceiling in the lobby and the saloon. The original back bar that was delivered to the hotel over a hundred years ago by wagon is also in tacked. Bullet holes in the ceiling from a shootout during the Wild West Era create a reminder of the past.
Another piece of the Occidental experience is its rumored hauntings. A working lady who passed away upstairs in the hotel, which used to be a bordello, has occasionally been sighted. With long dark hair and wearing a white dress, the spirit is known to taunt guests and workers by moving furniture, luggage, tapping on shoulders and vocalizing her ghostly laugh.
Another historic hotel known as The Wolf Hotel is located downtown Saratoga, Wyoming. This Victorian-style hotel, constructed of local bricks was built in the late 1800s by German immigrant Frederick G. Wolf. Costing only $6000 to build, it served as a stage coach stop from the time it opened. The hotel quickly became a hot spot for local residents and visitors to socialize. The Wolf Hotel was named to the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1970s and was partially re-bricked while enduring extensive restoration. The resulting Wolf Hotel closely resembles the appearance it did on its opening day. Today it is known for its fine food, lounge, saloon and its uniquely-styled Victorian guest rooms. It is within walking distance to a natural hot springs, shopping and the North Platte River. Convenient to this historic Wyoming hotel is fishing, hunting, hiking and snow-sport opportunities.
In 1901, the historic Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow, Wyoming was being constructed by the town mayor. The Virginian is said to have been named after a famous book written in Medicine Bow by author Owen Wister. Known for its enormous size in comparison to the small Wyoming town, it was the largest hotel between Denver and Salt Lake City at the time. The Virginian was the first building in the town to have wired electric and a sewer system. Its rustic charm is seen throughout and the saloon is riddled with bullet holes. The 26 antique rooms are without TVs and telephones for a true old-fashion Wyoming experience. Since the hotel catered to tourist traveling on the Lincoln Highway it attracted a wide variety of railroad workers and guests. It is not surprising it has a history of being haunted. On occasion music from another era that was played for the guests can be heard. Cold spots, apparitions and objects mysteriously being found in odd places occur.
With only touching on a few historic Wyoming hotels there are many more to explore. Some other “must see” historic hotels are The Chamberlin Hotel in Cody, the Mill Inn and the Sheridan Inn located in Sheridan, the historic Plains Hotel in Cheyenne and the Wort Hotel in Jackson. All are a must see for the history buff when traveling through Wyoming.
Photographs courtesy of wyomingtalesandtrails.com.
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