In the late 1800’s the City of Cheyenne, Wyoming was called “The Magic City of the Plains,” so it was only appropriate when a luxurious hotel opened in 1911, it called itself the “Plains Hotel.” The concept of the elegant hotel was born at the annual $1 dinner of the Industrial Club (now the Chamber of Commerce) in December, 1909.
In the midst of the meeting, Thomas Heaney, club President, interrupted the other discussions to give his opinion that Cheyenne was badly in need of a new and modern hotel. At the time, the main hotel in town was one called the Inter-Ocean which, over time had become outdated and had taken on the more of a role as the city’s principal watering hole.
Though Heaney had said this in a somewhat joking fashion, the other men agreed and by February of the following year, the Cheyenne Securities Company was organized for the purpose of building a new hotel. Moving quickly, the hotel was designed by architect William Duboise and in March, a contract was awarded to build it. Construction started in June, 1910 and in March, 1911 it was completed at a costs of about $250,000, including furnishings.
On March 9, 1911, the hotel hosted an elaborate grand opening that was attended by men in full evening dress, gallant Army Officers and a host of elegantly gowned ladies. As a band played until the wee hours of the morning, the guests danced and admired the magnificent appointments and furnishings of the new hotel, modern to the smallest detail.
The five story hotel featured three elevators, 100 guest rooms, lush velvet carpets, fine furnishings, private baths, and telephones in the guest rooms, luxuries not seen in most hotels of the time.
The lobby was lighted through a mission art panel skylight, decorated with heavy brass fixtures and leather furniture, and its floor was finished in tile and mahogany. The staircase leading from the lobby was made of solid marble and steel. The lobby bar gleamed with plate glass and mahogany fixtures. On the Mezzanine level, an orchestra entertained guests
The hotel soon attracted numerous cattle barons, oil tycoons, and the many travelers making their way to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Guests raved about the amenities and service provided at the hotel. But for one couple, their stay would end in tragedy.
According the legend, a bride named Rosie and her new groom checked into the hotel on their honeymoon. One evening the groom went down to the lounge to have a drink and while he was there he met a prostitute. After a prolonged absence, Rosie went in search of her new husband, only to find him and his “lady friend” pleasantly chatting at the bar. Within moments, she watched as the pair left the lounge and headed upstairs together. Rosie silently followed them to the woman’s fourth floor room, where in a jealous rage she shot them both with her husband’s gun. Afterwards, Rosie returned to the honeymoon suite and turned the gun on herself.
Since the tragedy, the spirits of all three have been seen on many occasions by both employees and guests of the historic hotel.
Housekeeping staff often hear the sounds of both laughter and crying coming from the room that Rosie and her husband once occupied. However, when they open the door, no one is in the room. Rosie, herself, is often spotted walking in a long blue gown on the second floor.
Seemingly, the groom is more restless as he is sighted all over the hotel dressed in early 1900’s clothing. Wearing a long tail black dress coat, black boots, and a white shirt with a large silver button at its top, he is most often spotted on the fourth floor and in the basement.
The “other woman” has also been seen, most often on the second floor, wearing a short red dress with white lace. On one occasion, when the hotel was decorated for Halloween, the staff had placed two mannequins dressed in wedding attire in the lobby. Just as an employee spotted the spirit of the “other woman,” the mannequin dressed as a bride toppled over. After looking down at the fallen “bride,” the employee looked up and the spirit had vanished.
Today, the Plains Hotel continues to cater to the many travelers of Cheyenne. Offering 130 fully restored guest rooms and suites, the rooms are furnished in an “Old West” style complete with original artwork and photography by Wyoming artists. Though maintaining its historic heritage, the hotel offers all the modern amenities that are expected of today’s travelers.