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The Historic and Haunted
The historic Sheridan Inn
Wyoming was once home to
Cody and though, until recently, had been closed for sleeping rooms, it remains
home to a ghostly spirit by the name of Miss Kate Arnold.
This historic inn, now on the National
Register of Historic Places, opened its doors on May 27, 1893 complete
with electrical power which ran from a coal-fired threshing machine
engine. A whistle would be blown at midnight to remind everyone that the
building’s 200 lights should be turned off.
Buffalo Bill Cody, who was
involved with the Inn from its inception, led the grand opening
celebration into the dining room on June 27, 1893.
When it was opened the Sheridan Inn was said by many
to be the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco. It
immediately became the social center for the Big Horn country area
which, at that time attracted many big game hunting parties, including
notables from all parts of the United States.
George and Lucy Canfield were the Inn’s
first managers, catering to people who stayed at the Inn when their
homes were being built, and the area ranchers who would spend their
weekends at the Inn. Some even kept their good clothes at the
Inn for the next party that would be thrown. Early prices at the
inn were $1.00/day for a room, 25¢ for breakfast and 50¢ for lunch or
dinner. A stagecoach made regular stops at the Inn so a meal
ticket could also be purchased for $7.00, which included 21 meals.
purchased the business, but not the building, and kept it until 1901,
retaining the Canfield’s as managers. Across from the Inn, Bill
Cody operated the W.F. Cody Transportation Company, the stage that ran
from the Inn to
was in town he lived at the inn and held many parties for his
traveling companions. Later he designed and built the Irma Hotel
naming it after his youngest daughter. He and his family then
lived in Cody but continued to visit the
Sheridan Inn often.
In 1901, Catherine B. Arnold,
familiarly known as "Miss Kate,” came to Sheridan from Virginia with
her parents. At the age of 22 she started working and living at
the Sheridan Inn and continued
work there for the next 64 years as seamstress, desk clerk,
housekeeper, hostess and babysitter.
Kate was well-loved by both the staff and the many guests of the
hotel. Flowers from her garden behind the Inn decorated the
dining room tables every day. She stayed at the hotel until 1965
when it was closed and sold to a developer, who planned to tear it
down and use the land for other purposes. However, the Sheridan
Historical Society started a "Save the Inn” campaign that lasted for
the next two years. Finally, a newcomer named Neltje purchased
the structure and she began extensive restorations on the first floor.
The Inn reopened in 1967 for dining and dancing and Ms. Neltje
operated the Inn for the next twenty years.
In 1968, Miss Kate passed away and her last request was to
return to the Sheridan Inn. Her remains were cremated and her ashes buried in the wall of the room
that she occupied on the third floor for so many years.
Miss Kate Arnold. Photo courtesy of the
In 1990 the Sheridan Heritage Center purchased the Inn from
bankruptcy court with the help of a $100,000 loan and an additional
$100,000 in grant monies from the State of
Wyoming. The Inn was reopened to the public in June, 1991. The
and Chop House is the "Keeper of the Inn,” serving both lunch and dinner,
and provides banquet and party services at the Inn.
Miss Kate’s room was fully
renovated by the Preceptor Tau Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, who
took on the room as a community project. Miss Kate’s favorite chair
was placed next to the wall where her ashes were buried. Today,
legend has it that Miss Kate continues to act as guardian over the Inn.
According to staff, Miss Kate’s presence is felt on an
almost daily basis. She is known to repeatedly turn lights on and
off and open and shut doors. Her presence is very strong in her
third floor room often felt by moving cold spots. Cold spots also
randomly appear near the front downstairs windows or in the ballroom. At other times, many have reported hearing the sounds of footsteps
throughout the old inn. One person reported driving by the inn at
2:00 a.m. to see the third floor windows dark with the drapes closed. However, thirty minutes later, they drove by again and the lights were on
and the drapes were open. The inn was obviously closed at that time
of the night and according to staff, there would not be anyone on the
third floor during these wee hours of the morning.
The Inn was listed on
the National Register of Historic Places on May 7, 1964.
years, many famous people have stayed at the Inn including Earnest
Hemingway, President Hoover, Will Rogers, Bob Hope, and many more. In
2013, Mr.& Mrs. Bob Townsend a group of
private investors bought the Sheridan and have since renovated and
reopened to guests in May 2015. Operators of the new Sheridan Inn say that
guests will get a feel of what it was like back in the 1800's, but with
all the modern amenities and larger rooms.
Their new website gives no indication that they
have removed Miss Kate's ashes from the room, and report that her watchful
presence is felt on a daily basis, and anyone who has spent hours at the
Inn has grown to love her as did everyone years ago when she was alive.
The Historic Sheridan Inn can be accessed from I-90, exit
#23 (Fifth Street). Travel one mile west on Fifth Street, just past the
railroad tracks and you’ll be there. The town of Sheridan is in northern
Wyoming, at the junction of I-90 and U.S.
Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Dave Alexander. Updated May 2015.
More information: See their website
for the Sheridan Inn.
The Miss Kate Arnold Room 306. Photo courtesy of the
Vintage Sheridan Inn
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