Monday, September 16, 2013

Ghosts of the Old West

My husband and I are planning a trip out to Montana and Wyoming this fall, and though we will not be going to Cheyenne (we’ve already been to the southern parts of Wyoming) I hope some of you might find this post about Cheyenne’s Plains Hotel interesting. 

In 1878 Laramie County Wyoming was named the wealthiest county (per capita) in the United States. The lush grasslands and mild winters had allowed cattle companies to flourish surrounding the community that had been established while the railroad was being built ten years before. Lavish homes and prosperous businesses filled the town claiming to provide comfort and a touch of elegance. 

The elegant accommodations of Cheyenne—known as ‘The Magic City of the Plains’—catered to cattle barons, oil men, and travelers on their way to see the legendary Yellowstone. Shortly after the turn of the century, a new hotel was planned and built downtown. Completed in 1911, the Plains Hotel, cost $250,000 to build and furnish. 

The modern hotel hosted three elevators, velvet carpets, private baths, and had telephones in the 100 guest rooms—luxuries that had never been heard of before. 

Legend has it, shortly after the hotel opened a couple chose to honeymoon there. The story claims that one evening the groom went down to the lounge, upon where he met a ‘soiled dove’. His wife, ‘Rosie’, evidently tired of waiting for her groom to return, went downstairs as well, where she witnessed her husband and said soiled dove leaving the lounge. Rosie followed them to a fourth floor room—the ‘other woman’s' room. There Rosie proceeded to shoot, and kill, both her husband and his newfound lady friend. Rosie then returned to the honey-moon suite and turned the gun on herself. 

Numerous accounts of seeing the spirits of Rosie, her husband, and the soiled dove have been made by employees and guests ever since the tragedy. Housekeeping staff have claimed to hear a woman crying (even after all the renovations to the hotel) in the room Rosie and her husband once occupied, and Rosie has been seen walking the second floor halls in a long blue gown. 

Her husband seems more restless, he’s appeared everywhere from the basement to the top floor. He wears a long black coat, black boots, and a white shirt with a large silver top button. 

The soiled dove—yes, she’s there, too, wearing a short red dress with white lace. It’s said that one time the hotel was decorated for Halloween and had two mannequins dressed up as a bride and groom in the lobby. A hotel worker claimed to have seen the ‘soiled dove’ nearby and the next moment, the bride mannequin toppled over. 

The Plains Hotel is still in operation today, with 130 fully restored guest rooms that are decorated in an “old west” style. 

My next release is set in Wyoming 1881, and is part of Harlequin’s Christmas Cowboy Kisses anthology. (Though there are no ghosts in the story.)

Christmas with her Cowboy: Ranch hand Tanner Maxwell is not pleased that Anna Hagan has returned to the Double Bar for Christmas. But the little girl he once knew is now all grown up…

A short snippet:
Tanner Maxwell tugged his hat down and flipped the collar of his coat up to protect his ears from the biting wind whipping around the corner of the depot. Planting the sole of one boot against the wooden building behind him, he crossed his arms and leaned back.
The judge must have drawn straws. No one would have volunteered for this job. Tanner sure hadn’t and assuming he was the short straw didn’t help his temperament. Neither did the gray sky or the bits of snow swirling about. Hauling Anna Hagen back to the ranch was going to be unpleasant enough; he sure didn’t need a storm to fight along the way.
Never seeing the judge’s granddaughter again would suit him just fine. Guilt had nothing to do with it either. He hadn’t done anything to be guilty about. She on the other hand—


Caroline Clemmons said...

Very interesting, Lauri. So many old places are haunted. Thanks for sharing.

Lauri said...

Thanks, Caroline. I love a good ghost tale. :)