The Charms of a Historic Hotel–Including a Ghost

 I’ve wanted to blog about the historic Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming for a several months now.  My husband and I stayed there last September when we traveled to Wyoming for research and then on to Denver for my brother’s birthday.  October got away from me with my oldest son’s wedding, then I had a December first deadline. Christmas came, then The Outlaw’s Return released in February.  There’s been lots of stuff to talk about, so I put the Plains Hotel on hold.  The time has come to give this quaint old hotel a bit of attention.  

In its day, it was quite extraordinary. Built in 1911, the hotel came into existence just a few decades after Cheyenne’s rambunctious beginnings. The idea for a luxury hotel was first arose at a meeting of the Industrial Club in December 1909.   By February of the next year, financing had been arranged and William DuBois was hired as the architect, and in March a contract was awarded. Construction began in June 1910 and it was completed in March 2011 for $250,000.

Those are the dry details. The fun begins with the hotel’s grand opening. It was attended by oil tycoons, cattle barons, Army officers in dress uniform, and women in the finest fashions of the day. A good time was no doubt had by all . . . except the man who married a bride named Rosie.  The story alleges that Rosie caught her new husband with a prostitute, shot them both dead and then turned the gun on herself.  Rumor has it Rosie’s ghost walks about the second floor.

I wish I’d known the story when my husband and I checked in. We were on the second floor and I’d have kept my eyes out for her!  

Rosie would have provided an interesting memory, but the hotel didn’t need ghosts to grab my attention. I was focused on the beautiful stained glass ceiling, the sweeping stairs and a host of things that reminded me of a scene in Wyoming Lawman that takes place in a fictional Cheyenne hotel.  I could picture my characters seated just as I described in the second chapter.  Deputy Wiley and Pearl Oliver felt alive as we walked around the lobby. It was almost the same as seeing Rosie.

Over the years, many celebrities have stayed at the Plains. Hollywood has visited while making movies, and so have Presidents.  Among the famous visitors were Presidents Truman, Nixon and Reagan, and actors Jimmy Stewart, Karl Malden and Ricardo Montalban. I can’t hear Ricardo Montalban’s name without thinking of Fantasy Island, and in a way that’s where I was . . . my own island of the past, though it wasn’t a historically pure experience. Instead of the gentle clop of horses on cobblestone streets, we heard car horns and ambulance sirens through the open window.  And instead of reading by lamplight, we turned on the TV and munched on microwave popcorn.

We had a wonderful time.  I hope to go back sometime!

Available Now from Amazon . . . The Outlaw’s Return

Victoria Bylin
Victoria Bylin is under contract with Bethany House Publishers for two inspirational contemporary romances.Prior to jumping to the present day, she wrote westerns for Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons. You can learn more about Vicki at


  1. What a beautiful place, Vicki. Too bad you didn’t see Rosie. I love places with ghost stories. Walking around, imagining the people who’d walked those same floors must’ve given you goose bumps! Thanks for a great blog.

  2. Hi Elizabeth! The hotel fed my imagination to be sure. It would make an interesting setting for a future story . . . a maid and a gambler? Or better yet, the woman owns the hotel 🙂

  3. So pretty. I always say if a hotel advertises a ghost you should get your money back if you don’t see it.

    Think it would make a great setting too. I like the idea of a woman owning the hotel but I am also a sucker for a good Cinderella story!

    Peace, Julie

  4. Good thing we don’t travel together. You would have probably been embarrassed if I stretched out in the middle of the lobby floor to stare at that ceiling for an hour or two!
    What is it about an old building that seems to jump start the imagination? A hotel would be a great setting for a book (or series). All sorts of people could cross paths.

  5. Hi Julie, We had a good time, even without a ghost-sighting. I like Cinderella stories too!

  6. Hello Judy H, I got a crick in my neck from looking up at the stained glass. It was beautiful. Everything about the lobby inspired ideas, even the sweeping stairs. It was easy to imagine guests from years gone by.

  7. Vickie, thank you for your blog and photos. I love old hotels and really enjoyed studying yours. Hubby and I stayed at one on the forty-niner trail in Calif. I stayed awake all night looking for the ghost of a young bride that reportedly resided there, but never saw her.

  8. Don’t fill bad, Victoria. I went on an actual ghost tour at a local movie theater and didn’t see a ghost either. Bummer! But what a beautiful hotel. And with great history to boot! Can’t beat that. The stained glass is beautiful, but I’d like to getter a better look at those long, narrow murals in either side. From what I can see they depict the landscape of Wyoming. Love the West!

  9. Oops! I can tell I’ve been behind the computer too long this AM. I meant “feel”. Geesh! 😉 I’m really not that dumb.

  10. Hi Margaret, I miss California. It will always be home to me, and there’s a lot of the state I never saw, including the 49er trail. Good reason for vacation, don’t you think?

  11. Hi Sherry, I’m now mulling over a “ghost” story where the ghost isn’t really a ghost, but a woman in hiding … that’s got real potential!

    1. Awesome plot line, Vicki. I love this post. I love historic hotels and staying in them. One of my favorites is the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge Mass. I’ve never stayed in a haunted one, though. Our daughter’s wedding site, a mansion in San Juan Capistrano CA is supposedly haunted….but “George” is supposedly friendly LOL. oxoxox

  12. I’ve got to get back to Cheyenne! Thanks for a great bit of history, Vicki.

  13. Sounds like such a cool experience. I’ve had lunch now twice in the Brown Palace in Denver. Very old and beautiful. They just don’t put that kind of workmanship into buildings anymore. For all that Iv’e been in some elaborate restaurants and hotels. It’s more likely now to be glasa and steel, then it was beautiful carved wood…
    thanks for the post, Vicki.

  14. Hi Tanya, San Juan Capistrano is such a pretty place. You and Margaret are *both* making me miss California!

    Howdy, Tracy! I’m researching something new and am trying to figure out a way to get to Jacksonhole, Wyoming 🙂 Or Cody. I’d love to fly into Denver again and do some serious driving.

  15. Hi Mary! I wonder what people will say 100 years from now when they visit old buildings made of steel and glass. Wood gets more beautiful with age (maybe it’s the Lemon Pledge). Steel and glass just look dated to me.

  16. What a beautiful hotel! I love those old places that are still in operation. They’re my favorite things to visit. And if they happen to have a ghost or two that makes it all the more enticing. I’d love to go there sometime.

  17. Vicki,
    What a great post! I loved the pictures–just beautiful. That trip sounds like you just had so much fun–very relaxing. That’s just what I need! But I have to say, if I’d known there was a ghost on my floor I probably never would have gone to sleep.
    Cheryl P.

  18. Hello to Linda and Cheryl! Ghost or no ghost, I slept just fine that night. After the flights and the drive, I was plumb-tuckered out!

  19. Another place to visit when we get a chance to travel out West again. We always look for the historic Inns and Hotels to at least visit if we don’t have the opportunity to stay there. There aren’t too many old places like that that do not have a ghost or two rumored to walk the halls.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

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