Irma Hotel

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The spirits of Buffalo Bill and his daughter still stay in their favorite place.

Bill keeps a watchful eye and Irma is still a hospitable hostess!

Their guest from hell still hasn’t left…


“Just the sweetest hotel that ever was.” (William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody)

I agree with Buffalo Bill! Tom and I visited the two story, historic Irma Hotel and felt that we had stepped back in time to an elegance that appealed to the rich and everyday folk as well. It has a large sculptured buffalo head attached to the outside 2nd floor central corner, where the hotel turns east along Sheridan Ave. Buffalo Bill’s private suite and verandah are just to the right of it. Below the buffalo head is the hotel’s name, THE IRMA HOTEL.

On the outside of first floor that is on 12th street, there is a fine, wide covered porch that provides ample room to sit and watch the people go by. The side entrance brings the guest into the dining room. The front entrance leads to the hotel bed and breakfast. The left side entrance leads into the old dining room, that is used for a variety of things. There are long mirrors on the walls.

The staircase that is in the lobby area goes up to rooms that are in the original part of the hotel. When The Irma Hotel opened, there were forty rooms, that weren’t up to the 21st century standards. The bathrooms were down the hall, etc. What people during that time thought were luxuries, today are considered necessities, like a private bath.

Recently, the current owners remodeled twenty-two of these rooms, taking down some walls to enlarge the space, adding private bathrooms and thus making them into suites, with Victorian furniture and decor. Each room is named for a historic character from Buffalo Bill’s time, including Buffalo Bill himself. His name is still on his old, historic suite.

What is now the glorious dining room, that sits facing Sheridan Ave., was where the spacious saloon and billiard room were located when The Irma Hotel opened its doors. The beautiful, French-made cherrywood bar and backbar gifted to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria still stands in its place of honor, behind the dining room counter.

The 1929-30 annex is a two story cream-colored addition that was built on the next lot next to the dining room area on Sheridan Ave. It has fourteen rooms on each floor. Each floor is connected to the northwest side of the original structure by hallways.

Buffalo Bill would approve of the extras that are offered to guests and the public. The old dining room is used for parties and events, and there is a gift shop as well just off the side hall across from the old dining room.

For the price of tickets, there are various tours that can be taken, as well as the nightly gun battle between warring cowboys on the hotel’s side street. No one is ever hurt because of the defective bullets bought at Walgreens and Walmart, according to the cowboys participating in the street gun battle. A cowboy on one side wonders, “I can’t hit anything! Where did you buy the bullets?” The cowboy, full of regret, who was responsible to buy bullets says, “I bought them at Walgreens.” The same thing happens on their foe’s side of the gun battle.

Community events, like the Mother’s Day horse auction have been held in the street in front of The Irma Hotel. Buffalo Bill would enjoy that as well.



In 1895, William F. Cody, known as Buffalo Bill Cody founded the town of Cody, Wyoming. The Irma Hotel was one of three hotels that was built by Buffalo Bill Cody. Its location was conveniently near the town’s railroad station; to provide lodging for the lucrative visitor business. In 1902, The Irma Hotel was named for his youngest daughter, Irma Cody, and opened to serve visitors from many countries as well as America. These folks included summer tourists, those who wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park, wanted to hunt the big game, and businessmen wanting to learn about investment opportunities in mining and ranching.

He financed its construction from the proceeds collected from his Wild West shows. Buffalo Bill held try-outs for his Wild West Shows near this hotel, and had established his own ranch in Cody as well. He enjoyed staying at The Irma Hotel himself, reserving two suites for himself, and had an office there as well.

The Irma Hotel was designed by a Lincoln Nebraska Church architect by the name of Alfred Wilderman Woods. Exterior walls were constructed from river rock and sandstone from quarries from Beck Lake that was just south of Cody. The Irma Inn’s large fireplace was made up of a creative mix of minerals, rock, ore and even fossils from the Big Horn Basin. Queen Victoria was so pleased by Buffalo Bill’s command performance of his Wild West Show done for her and the royal family, that she gave him a very handsome cherrywood bar, made in France.

In 1913, Buffalo Bill was forced to sign the Irma Hotel property over to his estranged wife, Louisa, probably because of a divorce settlement. After Buffalo Bill died in 1917, The Irma Hotel was foreclosed on, and sold at auction to Barney Link. Barney Link, a kind man, in turn sold it back to Louisa, who lived there until she died in 1925.

The Irma Hotel has been fortunate to always have owners that were willing to keep her competitive with the other competing hotels and inns. New owners, Henry and Pearl Newell, did a good job running their Irma Hotel, and were able to put money back into the Irma Hotel, expanding the building to accommodate the needs of visitors. In 1929, the owners built a northwest addition to the hotel. They added this annex to serve the automobile travelers.

After Henry Newell died in 1940, Pearl continued on alone in owning and running the Irma Hotel until she died in 1965. In her will, Pearl willed the hotel’s extensive collection of Buffalo Bill’s artifacts and memorabilia to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and provided funds as well to keep it going.

On April 3rd, 1973, The Irma Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the owners to protect this structure from people who may be tempted to tear her down in the future.

During the years 1976- 1977, the southwest addition was added. The need for rooms jumped, and they answered the need by expanding.

The recent restoration and renovation mentioned above in the DESCRIPTION section, kept within the rules of being a property on The National Register of Historic Places. On the NRHP report, many of the plumbing fixtures used are patently antiques — marble stands and intricately worked faucets — but antique and modern designs have been fitted together to create comfortable, functional and aesthetically pleasing bathrooms and sitting rooms.”
The spirits who stay and visit here, like the new improvements, and have no complaints, though some have issues they are trying to work through.

Listed below could be some reasons why they prefer this world, or can’t seem to cross over to the spirit world.



People who throughly enjoy running a business while alive, still like to stick around and do what they can to help; things they themselves enjoyed doing. Both Buffalo Bill and his daughter, Irma, still enjoy their time at their favorite place in this world.

People who enjoy a hotel and its saloon while alive, like to stay or visit there when they are in spirit form. Former soldiers of any age sometimes like to tease the living for chuckles. Other spirit soldiers keep an eye on the living for the owners; becoming a seen or unseen security force.

The Irma Hotel has its own soldier entity, who is full of fun.

People who were nasty, crabby or cruel and/or enjoyed bullying others to the point of death, while alive, don’t improve in their mind-set after they pass from this world into the next one. Being dead does not improve their character or attitudes.

Sometime in the past, the Irma Hotel had their own “guest from hell”; a mean, twisted male individual with no conscience who liked to bully other men and hang his male victims from his window with a belt around their necks, perhaps even killing some of them. He eventually got his comeuppance but he never repented of his evil pleasures in torturing/perhaps killing others.

Some spirits who did some bad behavior in this world, sometimes are afraid of what may await them in the spirit world. The Irma’s Hotel former guest from hell may still be a spirit in residence because he may be afraid to cross over to the spirit world.



Entity of Irma – Room 16

Still the hospitable hostess, She likes to visit guests who stay in her old room, while sitting in her favorite spot; the rocking chair that is found there.

Entity of a Confederate Soldier – Room 35

Still a fun-loving soul, he gets his personal chuckles by appearing in front of guests who stay in this room, surprising them to his delight.

When a housekeeper was standing in the hallway, she looked over and saw half of this soldier, from his waist down, dressed in his Confederate uniform.

Entity of Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill still likes to keep an eye on the staff. When a server was setting up for an event in the old dining room, he was startled to see the face of Buffalo Bill in the long mirror on the wall of the dining room, watching him. The waiter dropped the large tray of food in fright.

Buffalo Bill also enjoys visiting his old suite that has the balcony veranda that overlooks the intersection of Sheridan Ave. and 12th Street.

If you look like his ex-wife, don’t stay in his suite, or talk to him first. A couple who stayed soon found out that the wife did resemble someone who Buffalo Bill didn’t like.

When she was inside, something hit her on the arm. When they went out on the veranda, an unseen presence knocked her drink out of her hand.

The husband called to the unseen presence for a talk inside. The husband told the spirit not to hurt his wife, and that they planned to stay one night in the suite. He asked for a peaceful stay.

That did it. The unseen presence realized that the wife wasn’t the person he thought she was, and straightened up and let them have the room in peace for their stay.

Spirit Of The Horrid Guest

This sour, former bully/killer guest presents himself as a menacing presence that has been felt by guests, psychics and sensitives.

His menacing presence has been felt by guests, psychics and sensitives.

On occasion he has appeared briefly to guests and staff.

While he bolsters all his energy to give out a negative aura, he hasn’t tried to hurt anyone living.

He is willing to talk to paranormal investigators and has told them some chilling things as he expounds on his true feelings and desires.

Perhaps he hasn’t done anything to guests and staff because he is afraid of being made to leave through an exorcism or blessing. So he talks tough and enjoys scaring the less experienced paranormal investigator.

General Activity

The Hallway that runs by the best room in the inn; (The Colonel Cody Room), is an active spot.

Footsteps are heard going up and down the hallway when no one living is present in the middle of the night.

Knockings on the hallway walls are also loud enough to wake guests up.



A Huge YES INDEED is in order.

Besides the many reports of personal experiences from guests and staff alike, many paranormal investigators over the years have caught some hard evidence that backs up the claims made by these reported personal experiences of interactions with thinking spirit people.

For example, paranormal investigators asked this former bully entity, if he indeed did hang men out the window with belts.

“Yes” was the answer.

Did you enjoy it? “Yes”.

Would you like to do it again? “Yes”. (What a charmer!)

To find out the other paranormal findings reported and captured, please visit the links listed below in the “Sources Include” section.



The Irma Hotel
1192 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY 82414

The Irma Hotel can be found on the southwest corner of the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and 12th street, which is smack dab in the middle of downtown Cody, Wyoming.

You really can’t miss it, as it sits right on the corner of Sheridan Ave. and 12th Street, with its structure being on both streets; starting on 12th and bending around onto Sheridan.



  • The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
    by Rich Newman
    Llewellyn Publications
  • Irma Hotel page on Wikipedia
  • National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form
  • The Haunted Hotel”
    by Tom Lawrence
    for the Powell Tribune
  • Irma Hotel page on
  • YouTube:
  • Stay and Play Episode 6
  • 307 Ghost Chronicles
  • Hotel Irma Haunted?
  • One from the vault — Hotel Irma
  • 307 Ghost Chronicles — Irma Hotel (HD)
  • Wyoming Area Paranormal Society — Personal Experiences of staff

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Wyoming