By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
One of Wyoming’s most well-known bed and breakfasts recently shut its doors after 22 years in business.
Cheyenne’s Nagle-Warren mansion operated as a bed and breakfast since September 1997 under the direction of owner Jim Osterfoss.
Osterfoss, who has spent more than 60 years in the hospitality industry, said it was time for him to retire.
“It’s just time to move on,” he said. “Innkeeping is not a contact sport but it’s pretty close. Lots of hours and a lot of hard work.”
Osterfoss said he spent 12 years looking for the perfect bed and breakfast and decided on the Nagle-Warren mansion because it was an “excellent historic stage to play on.”
The mansion, built in 1888, is named after Erasmus Nagle, a wealthy Wyoming businessman, and Francis E. Warren, Wyoming’s first governor and a longtime U.S. senator from the state.
“It’s one of the most important and iconic homes in the State of Wyoming,” Osterfoss said. “President Theodore Roosevelt stayed here. President Taft stayed here. The Vanderbilts and many other titans of the early 1900s stayed here. This was the place to stay in Wyoming.”
Osterfoss dipped deep into his bank account to equip the home with modern-day essentials like air conditioning, to update the electrical and plumbing systems and make other improvements, but he said the structure itself was in “amazing” condition.
“It escaped the horrible renovation period that so many historic homes went through in the 1950s and the 1960s,” he said. “It bypassed the period where people faded out woodwork, ripped out fireplaces, and removed rooms.
“The fireplaces are original, the flooring is original, and the extensive woodwork is original,” he added.
Osterfoss said he has put the mansion on the market but is in no rush to close any deal.
“It’s kind of like selling your daughter,” he said, laughing. “I want to find someone who will take care of the place. I want to get to know what their expectations are and they’ll get to know what my expectations are.”
Although he is officially retiring, Osterfoss said he will continue to contribute to the community by holding an occasional event at the mansion.
Osterfoss is a longtime supporter of the Cheyenne symphony and was instrumental in bringing ballet to the Capital City by providing rooms for performers.
“There are a lot of wonderful events in Cheyenne,” he said. “Whoever we can support, we try to.”
Until the mansion is sold, Osterfoss may be found in one of his favorite rooms — a room he calls the tower.
The third floor octagonal room was a favorite location for authors and writers.
“Somehow the writing community found us,” he said. “They fell in love with the place. When they get up there, they really fall into it and all of a sudden they have a book.”
Osterfoss won’t dish dirt on any of his guests over the past 22 years proclaiming that whatever “happens at the Nagle, stays at the Nagle”.
When asked if there were any surprises that he discovered at the historic home, he said, “The secret tunnels to the old whorehouses in Cheyenne..”
The innkeeper paused for a moment and deadpanned, “Gotcha.”