Buffalo Bill Cody founded the Irma Hotel in 1902, calling it “just the sweetest hotel that ever was.”
Located in Cody, Wyoming, the town that the legendary showman helped establish in 1895, the Irma was named for his youngest daughter.
Wanna-be performers often tried out for Cody’s Wild West Show in the vacant lots west of the hotel. Many of those landing jobs undoubtedly celebrated their good fortune at the Irma’s famous cherrywood bar, which Britain’s Queen Victoria had presented to Cody as a gift. If you visit the hotel’s lounge today, consider the labor required to transport the massive bar by ship, rail and wagon from England to Wyoming.
In 1929, a northwest addition was added to the Irma, followed by a southwest addition in 1976-77. The Irma’s current owners, John Darby and his sons Scott and Mike, purchased the hotel in 1982.
Although the National Park Service lists the Irma on the National Register of Historic Places, you can still sleep in one of the two suites Cody kept for his personal use—that is, if you fork over $100.
Billing itself as “fancy enough for royalty and plain enough for cowboys,” the Irma has hosted everyone from actor Tom Selleck to airline crews. After spending the night a few years back, a stewardess claimed to have been visited by the ghost of Buffalo Bill. Like old soldiers, old showmen also fade away—just not completely.
— R.G. Robertson