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Irma Hotel

Wyoming’s Irma Hotel Restaurant and Bar Closed by COVID

in News/Coronavirus

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

The Irma Hotel is an icon in Cody – the property was built by Buffalo Bill himself in 1902, before the town was even incorporated.

It houses a cherrywood bar that was a gift to Colonel Cody from Queen Victoria, and is a must-see on the list of tourist attractions in a town known for its western history.

But this week the restaurant and bar has been closed down, because of a cluster of positive cases discovered in a routine test of employees – although most of them were asymptomatic.

And Bill Crampton, the Public Health Nursing Supervisor in Park County, says the restaurant is one of several in the county that closed its doors voluntarily this summer due to the virus.

“The Irma would be the… 1,2,3… fourth, I think, that chose to shut down,” he estimates. “Everyone else has been, you know, just motoring along, some of them wearing masks, and some of them not.”

Park County has had a surge in positive cases in the last week – and medical services have responded by making sure that people know that tests are available. Cody Regional Health released a statement this week reminding residents that they are still offering drive-through testing two days a week.

In addition to the increase in positive tests, the County has been relying on wastewater based epidemiology to monitor the presence of the virus.

According to the Park County Health Officer, the percentage of people using the Cody municipal sewage system that are shedding the COVID virus has increased from 1.7% to 2.0% – that’s about 500 people estimated to be carrying the coronavirus, including people who have recently recovered.

And Crampton says the increase is having an impact on their available resources.

 “The contact tracers are starting to get overwhelmed – the state contact tracers are starting to get overwhelmed.”

But Crampton adds that the surge is happening amid a push by residents to relax measures – in fact, Governor Mark Gordon this week announced relaxed restrictions on spaced-out seating in restaurants, and Crampton notes that a movement by “anti-maskers” is gaining momentum across the state.

But health officials continue to urge caution and remind people to take the best care to avoid spreading the virus to those who are at the most risk. 

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Cody, Wyoming Has Plenty of Ghost Stories

in Community/arts and culture

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

It’s no surprise that Cody, with its history rooted deeply in the Wild West, might have some ghost stories.

Several can be found at the historic Irma Hotel, according to hotel co-owner Mike Darby.

“I’ve heard stories that housekeeping (staff members) actually saw the bottom half of a soldier walking through the room and all they saw were his faded blue pants with a gold stripe and a saber,” said Darby, whose family has owned the hotel built by western showman “Buffalo Bill” Cody for 30 years. “And he just journeyed across the room and went out (into the hallway) through the door, which was closed.”

Some ghosts, apparently not satisfied with being seen, make their presence known in other ways, Darby said. He recounted the story of two travel writers who were staying at the hotel and had gone to bed for the night.

“And pretty soon the sink starts going off and on, three or four times, and they’re really worried, so they turn the lights on,” he said. “Somehow they go back to sleep, they wake up in the morning and here their clothes are piled up in a pyramid at the foot of the bed.”

Darby said he regularly hears ghost stories from guests at the Irma.

“I’ll hear about them say, once a week, once every 10 days,” he said. “Somebody will see something, somebody will come in and all their cell phones will go dead, their computer will go dead. And as soon as they walk out the door, everything comes back to life.

Jeannie Cook, a retired Park County historian, also knows plenty of stories about hauntings, such as the one reported at a business inside what was once the furniture store of J.H. Vogel.

“I talked to some of the ladies who worked there and they told me there was a young boy that would appear from time to time,” she said. “Come to find out, (Vogel) had a furniture store and was also the undertaker. They had the coffins. So apparently, this little boy must somehow be connected to that.”

Cook, whose grandfather settled in Cody in the early 1900s, said spirits are also often seen in the yard of what used to be Cody’s Lane-Bradbury Hospital and have been reported in what was once a cemetery for the community.

The bodies from the cemetery were moved to another location in the 1960s, but some may have been missed.

“They probably didn’t get all the bodies because in the early days, when they buried somebody, they may have only had a wooden cross or something and it just went away,” she said.

Interest in such paranormal sightings appears to be growing as people hear more stories about them, Cook said.

“I think in modern times, people are beginning to recognize there really is something with paranormal activity,” she said. “And I think there’s really been a lot of it in this town.”

Darby agreed.

“Different things have happened that weren’t explainable,” he said. “People have passed away and in their rooms I’d find things, I’d hear things. It’s not that I believe, I was shown.”

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A horse sale on Main Street? It’s right in front of Cody’s Irma Hotel

in Travel
Cody Wyoming Horse Sale on Main Street
Buyers and sellers gather at the pen erected on Cody’s Main Street for the annual Cody Country Horse Sale. More than 100 horses will be offered during the sale on Saturday, which will take place in front of the historic Irma Hotel. (Photo Courtesy of Clark Management Co.)

By Cowboy State Daily

A horse arena will go up in front of Cody’s historic Irma Hotel this week in preparation for what has been referred to as the “prom of the horse sales.”

The Cody Country Horse Sale, now in its 21st year, will be held Saturday on Cody’s Main Street, where an arena will be erected so those selling their horses can put them through their paces for a large crowd of potential buyers.

“It’s a fun time,” said Kay Clark of the Clark Management Co., the company that stages the sale. “It’s like the prom of the horse sales. The horses are spic and span, they’re looking good, you’re looking good, wearing all your western memorabilia.”

More than 100 horses are expected to be offered for sale on Saturday and those bringing horses for sale are urged to bring stock that is ready to ride, Clark said.

“We want people who are going to bring the right horse,” she said. “We don’t want any buckers at all. That’s how you treat your customers right. then they both get a benefit because the consignors get paid a good amount of money for the right kind of horses.”

Saturday’s sale is only part of the event and is preceded by a ranch horse competition at the Clarks’ ranch in Ralston, about 20 miles from Cody.

“We have an area there, so consignors can show off their horses’ abilities,” said Clark, who has run the show with her husband Jake for the last 19 years. “If they have a roping horse, they can show its roping ability, if the horse runs barrels, we can let them run barrels.”

On Saturday, the action moves to the front of the Irma Hotel, where a 400-foot arena will be erected across Cody’s Main Street.

“Saturday morning, the consignors can ride in the area to show (the horses) off for the buyers,” Clark said.

The sale in Cody will begin at 1 p.m. Video clips of some of the horses being offered for sale, along with more information about the event itself, can be seen by visiting the website CodyHorseSale.com or the sale’s Facebook page.

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