Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody helped found Cody, Wyoming, in 1895, and in 1902, had the Irma Hotel, named for his daughter, built there. Cody maintained two suites and an office at the hotel for his personal use. Designed by Alfred W. Woods, a Lincoln, Nebraska, church architect, the Irma Hotel is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lincoln Trade Review on August 16, 1902, called the new hotel “a Lincoln institution, because it is designed by a Lincoln architect, built by Lincoln men of material furnished from Lincoln under the supervision of Lincoln builders.”

The Review said: “Colonel Cody was induced by the Burlington to build this hotel at its Cody line terminal to accommodate tourists. When the hotel is completed the Cody line of the Burlington will be the most attractive and convenient route to reach the Yellowstone Park, distant fifty miles. The architectural designing of the hotel was done by Mr. Alfred W. Woods of Lincoln, who began work last fall. The plans are for a two-story building, 75×125 feet, containing fifty rooms. The first story is of native boulders of all shapes, sizes and colors, uncut-just as they were picked up in the vicinity. The second story is of native brown range stone. The building will cost in the neighborhood of $60,000.

“The general contract was let to Stephens Bros., of Lincoln, under estimates of $37,000. The contract for plumbing, heating, electric wiring and gas-plant went to the Pomerene Plumbing company, of Lincoln, for about $8,000. Searles & Chapin, of Lincoln, furnished $3,500 worth of lumber on the job, on which the mill work was done by the Stephens Bros. in their Lincoln planing mill. R. S. Young, of Lincoln, furnished six cars of cement, lime, hardwall plaster and mortar color for about $1,000. Western Glass and Paint company, of Lincoln, will furnish glass and paint amounting to about $1,000. Steelwork is furnished by N. Westover & Co., of Lincoln, worth $500; cast iron work amounting to $500 is furnished by Reddig, Mossholder & Co.’s foundry at Lincoln. The Geiser Manufacturing company, of Lincoln, furnish cornice work, and the Nichols Roofing company, of Lincoln, will put on the roof. Rudge & Guenzel, of Lincoln, furnish two tons of nails; the Lincoln Hardware company, of Lincoln, furnish $550 worth of other hardware. The decorating job has not yet been let, but will be done by some Lincoln firm. Practically all the carpenters, bricklayers, stone-cutters and other workmen are Lincoln men.

“This hotel when finished will be the finest of its size in the United States, for that is what Colonel Cody’s intentions are. The temper of Colonel Cody may be judged from the following extract taken from a letter to Alfred W. Wood[s], the architect:

“‘As long as we are bound to have a hotel, lets have a dandy. I am going to spare no expense in furnishing it. It must be a gem. I have engaged a Hoffman House cook and professional waiters. I am going to run this hotel myself if I have to keep the Wild West show running winter and summer to keep it going. No renter need apply.'”


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