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The Irma, Buffalo Bill's Own Hotel - Cody, WY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 31.552 W 109° 03.857
12T E 653817 N 4932103
Quick Description: Completed in 1902, The Irma was built by Colonel William Frederick Cody (Buffalo Bill) to accommodate the myriad tourists and visitors he anticipated would soon be visiting his new town of Cody, Wyoming.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 6/29/2017 1:38:13 PM
Waymark Code: WMW249
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member 8Nuts MotherGoose
Views: 1

Long Description:
The original hotel in the newly founded city of Cody, The Irma Hotel has been, for much of its life, the entertainment centre of the city, receiving guests of Buffalo Bill from around the globe until his death in 1917. Built with forty second floor guest rooms, in 1929 a two storey annex was added to the building, adding 28 more rooms. A second addition was added in 1976-1977.

Though remodelled and updated through the years, The Irma retains much of the Victorian and Wild West charm it initially possessed. Much of the decor remains as it was on its opening day on November 18, 1902, personally hosted by Buffalo Bill himself.

Designed by Alfred Wilderman Woods, a Lincoln, Nebraska church architect, The Irma is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the most photographed locations in Cody is the hotel's famous cherry wood bar, a gift from Queen Victoria. The original tin ceilings remain in some of the public areas. The hotel, incidentally, was named by Buffalo Bill after his youngest daughter, Irma.

A bit of the story of The Irma, from the NRHP Nomination Form, follows.

The Irma Hotel

Buffalo Bill, of course, foresaw the need for a hotel, but he thought that need was for something more than just the ordinary cow-town "meals and beds" venture. The same thinking governed as regarded the saloon business. He was content to let someone else provide the first services along all such human need lines. For he had in his mind the plans for a really outstanding hotel, one featuring lobby, bar, dining room and other accommodations that would appeal to the type of worldly visitors he envisioned as coming to Cody in ever-increasing numbers.

The Irma was opened with a gala party on November 18, 1902. It established, on that first day, a reputation as a center of social activity which it has maintained throughout the seventy following years. Colonel Cody sent invitations to a long and diverse list of guests. Those accepting and arriving included, besides a large representation of local citizenry, residents of such distant places as Denver, Chicago, New York and even some from foreign lands. The crowd was cosmopolitan, it included cowboys, Indians and ranchers; soldiers, politicians and industrialists; and showmen, artists and writers.

Buffalo Bill delivered a speech at the banquet ceremonies. He wore white tie and tails and while nt all of his ranch country neighbors could find in their wardrobes such formal attire, it is a certainty that they wore the best they owned.

Despite this auspicious opening, or--more likely--foretold by it since as host he bore a heavy burden of expense, it is doubtful if the Irma was ever a financial success during Buffalo Bill's proprietorship. For one thing the town and the surrounding community was not developing as fast as he and the other founders had hoped; for another his own entertaining--of hunting parties and numerous other guests concerned with his various promotions was a too heavy load for the Irma and overtaxed its ability to show a profit.

Buffalo Bill died on January 10, 1917 and one month later, February 10, 1917, the Irma Hotel was foreclosed upon and sold at public sheriff's sale to one Barney Link. However, on December 22, 1917, it was deeded back to Mrs. Cody by Henry A. Luce, administrator of the estate of Barney Link. Louisa M. Cody, widow of Buffalo Bill and owner of the Irma Hotel, died in 1921. On March 12, 1925, the executors of her estate sold the Irma and all of its contents to Henry T. Newell and his wife, Pearl C. Newell, for the sum of $28,000.

Not the least important phrase in the immediate foregoing sentence is "and all of its contents", for the Irma contained many treasures collected by Buffalo Bill. These ran the gamut from simple photographs and Wild West Show posters lining corridor walls to large canvases from the brushes of recognized artists which hung on lobby, dining room and bar room walls.
From the NRHP Nomination Form


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moelsla visited The Irma,  Buffalo Bill's Own Hotel - Cody, WY 8/22/2018 moelsla visited it