Opened in 1911, The Plains Hotel has been a landmark in Cheyenne ever since.
City business boosters, including Sen. Francis E. Warren, built the five-story building to keep Cheyenne up with the times. They selected William Dubois, an architect schooled in Chicago whose imprint stretches across Wyoming, as their mastermind.
Drawing from a boom sparked by the ground-clearing Chicago fire of 1871, cheap steel, Elisha Otis’ elevator and an innovative, bustling economy, the Chicago aesthetic changed the face of that city and others across the country. Practitioners of the Chicago School of Architecture discipline shucked neoclassical convention to embrace a new paradigm.
The Plains Hotel lobby, complete with tile and marble accents and a striking two-story chamber illuminated by a skylight, recalls the soaring interior vertical spaces pioneered and celebrated in the Second City’s revival.
A 1936 remodeling brought in Thomas Molesworth furniture, including in the Wigwam bar.
A book published by current owner Astride A Starship, LLC, documents the succession of owners who hosted countless movers and shakers. Harry P. Hynds ran The Plains for many years and was responsible for the hotel logo depicting Arapaho Chief Little Shield.
Hynds had J.E. Stimpson photograph Chief Little Shield, an image copied by portrait painter Helen Benko Lillywhite for the hotel in 1928. The painting disappeared for 20 years before one-time hotel owner Alvin Wiederspahn secured it from a private collector and returned it to the establishment. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.