COOKIE SLEPT HERE! THE SHERIDAN INN!!

Don’t know about y’all, but after kickin’ it up at the Mint, Cookie and me had to find a place to bed down.  So, we beat our boots on over to the Sheridan Inn where it’s always in apple pie order.

Ya never know who yer gonna meet at the Inn, so keep a sharp eye.  Who knows ya might even see Cal and Josie, at least in passin’.  Those two are always on the move. I’ll be given the tour since Cookie’s still sawin’ on the logs; dang lazy ol’ coot sleepin’ off a rounder.

By 1892, the railroad was built as far as Sheridan, Wyoming and westward expansion was at the height of popularity.  The railroad brought adventurous souls out West in search for a new life, as well as transporting agricultural goods, coal and cattle back East. Recognizing the advantages of the railroad in establishing the new frontier, and the need for lodging along the line the Sheridan Land Company, with the blessing of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad, undertook the ambitious task of building the Sheridan Inn.

The Inn’s design was inspired by its architect, Thomas Rogers Kimball’s visit to a Scottish hunting lodge and included 69 gabled windows. Construction of the Inn began in December of 1892 and was completed six months later. The Inn boasted the first running-water bathtubs and electric lights in town, and the first telephone line was connected to a downtown drugstore.

George and Lucy Canfield were the Inn’s first managers and were known for their extravagant dinners and gracious hospitality. George was responsible for acquiring the Inn’s furnishings; among them was the saloon’s bar. The bar was made from American oak with a mahogany countertop, and included front and back bars complete with wine cooler, liquor cabinet, and cigar case.  If you didn’t get your fill at the Mint you can still belly up to this bar today, where Buffalo Bill Cody used to by rounds for the house.  Make sure you order a Wyoming Slug a concoction of champagne and whiskey popular with the saloon patrons of the past.

Western legend Buffalo Bill Cody had many ties to the Sheridan Inn.  In 1894, Cody became a Sheridan Land Company partner when he purchased the Inn’s furnishings and opened the W.F. Cody Transportation Company behind the Inn.  The Canfields continued to manage the property, which now included a livery barn, stage line (part of Cody’s line from the Inn to Deadwood, SD), freighting service, and mail carrier. The Inn’s mud wagon ferried passengers back and forth from town about a mile away.

Cody auditioned local cowboys for his Wild West show from the comfort of the Inn’s sprawling porch. A few of the cowboy’s wives were featured in one of the Wild West show’s acts. The wives rode sidesaddle and, with their partners, performed a square dance on horseback.  For many years the Inn sponsored a Wild West show as a fundraiser that also honored its extraordinary past.

Not all Cody’s visits to the Inn were pleasant. In 1902, Cody’s son-in-law, Horton Boal committed suicide in room 52 of the Inn.  Then in 1905, Cody visited the Inn while seeking a divorce from his wife Louisa. The divorce was not granted and after that, Bill Cody didn’t visit the Inn until 1910 as plans for the town of Cody, Wyoming took much of his time.

Author Ernest Hemingway was another frequent guest at the Sheridan Inn. Hemingway wrote parts of A Farewell to Arms from a room on the third floor of the Sheridan Inn from August 3rd to 8th, 1928. Eventually, he found the activity at the Inn to be too distracting to his productivity, and he went in search of quieter locations. His search for peace ended at the Spear-O-Wigwam ranch in the Big Horn Mountains, where he finished the novel. Hemingway returned to the Inn several times in the 1930s to visit. (I told Cookie to keep it down, but the old codger was really tyin’ one on, and once he gets to whoopin’ it up well…)

Other notable visitors included, Bob Hope, Robert Taylor, Will Rogers and a number of U.S. Presidents.

The Inn hit hard times in the late 1930s as owner after owner passed through its doors struggling to maintain the building and operate the business. In 1965, the Sheridan community feared the worst that the Inn would have to be demolished.  The Sheridan County Historical Society tried to save the Inn holding an auction, but proceeds fell short.

New York heiress, Neltje, purchased the Inn in 1967, and became known as the “woman who saved the Inn.”  The saloon re-opened in 1968, and was followed shortly with the re-opening of the dining room, Ladies Parlor, and Wyoming Room. During Neltje’s two-decade run as the Inn’s owner the Inn’s place in Sheridan was revitalized. The Inn hosted many public events and dinners.  Struggling to make money, the Inn’s doors closed again in 1986. Despite the purchase of the Inn by the Sheridan Heritage Center and plans to revive the historic building, the Sheridan Inn is once again facing financial difficulties and looking for someone (s) to step forth and resuscitate this Sheridan institution.

Cookie and me would sure hate to see the old girl go. We shared a great steak and even better bread puddin’ at the old Inn not too long ago.

But on a brighter note, and let me tell y’all the tongues are waggin’ about that rodeo cowboy Cal Renner upstairs in his room with local girl, Josie Allison! Cookie is blushin’ to beat the band! Me…I’m enjoyin’ this show ‘til the big rodeo this Saturday! Whoa, I think I just saw Ma and Pa Renner headin’ upstairs…

 

SOURCES:

http://www.sheridaninn.com/history.html

Blair, Pat, Prater, Dana and the Sheridan County Museum. Images of America: Sheridan. Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

**Photos in color belong to Kirsten Lynn. Black and White photos are property of the www.sheridaninn.com**

4 thoughts on “COOKIE SLEPT HERE! THE SHERIDAN INN!!

  1. What a great place to visit! And you had me hooked for sure when you mentioned a juicy steak topped off with bread pudding. I’d love to visit that old saloon too. I sure hope someone saves the inn. I absolutely hate when they tear down historical places. It makes my heart ache.

    • Hi, Linda! I can’t imagine how someone or a group hasn’t stepped forward to save the Inn, yet. It really is a large part of the town’s history, and Sheridan is a town proud of their history. And yes the steak and bread pudding were fabulous, and they certainly didn’t skimp on portions. I took my parents (sorry not Cookie) there and we all rolled out of the restaurant. :)

      Always great to have you at the campfire, Linda!

      –Kirsten Lynn

    • Hi, Ella! I hope you get to the Inn some day, it’s an incredible place. It’s always great to have you stop by the campfire.

      –Kirsten Lynn

Leave a Reply to klynn Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


8 + = fourteen

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>