(Jackson, Wyo.) - Yeah, everyone knows the history of The historic Wort Hotel in downtown Jackson (if you don't, you can read it here
). Most of us
have been to the Silver Dollar Bar and many of us have been to events in
But, there are 75 years of not only history, but secrets, gambling, babies
and ghosts inside the walls of the historic hotel.
Nancy Takeda grew up in the Wort because her father was hired there when
she was young and she actually lived in the hotel for a while. Beyond that,
she has worked there for 52 years now, doing every job in the hotel
including bussing, waiting tables, accounting, front desk, maintenance --
everything but bartending she says. Today, she is an auditor of the hotel
and plans to stay for the future.
Takeda has endless stories about The Historic Wort Hotel, but here are some
of our favorites:
*1. The ghosts that Haunt The Wort*
“If the hotel is haunted, I believe that these two individuals would haunt
the hotel,” she said.
Takeda is referring to Bob and Steve. Bob was a maintenance man at the
hotel from about 1950 to about 1994, although he only worked part time for
the later years. According to Takeda, he knew how to fix EVERYTHING in the
“Bob was a very talented and very inventive individual,” she said. "I do
believe that Bob probably is still hanging around downstairs somewhere,
although I have never encountered him.”
Steve was a bar manager that worked at the hotel. According to Takeda,
he would come into work at 4:30 p.m. and not leave the building until 8
"He was always here," she added.
“I do believe that Bob and Steve probably haunt the basement. I have had
people tell me that they have actually seen what they think is somebody
wandering around the basement. I have had people tell me that they will
hear a door open and close. They will go check and there is nobody there.”
“I will haunt this place once I am gone, trust me,” she laughed.
*2. A baby Born and Left in the Lobby Bathroom*
“This is probably not general knowledge," said Takeda. "We had a girl come
in and give birth to a baby in the woman’s bathroom and leave her. One of
the waitresses in the dining room found her and got her to the hospital.
She was adopted here in the area and she came back here for her 50th
"She has always been grateful to the hotel for her life," she added. "They
never found out who her mother was."
*3. Gambling: One-Way Mirrors and Tunnels*
According to Takeda, gambling was outlawed in the late 1950s, but that
didn't stop The Wort. They gambled downstairs in an area they called the
“There were two rooms down there that they used for storage. There was a
door and a one-way mirror, so you could see out if someone was knocking on
the door," said Takeda.
As far as the age-old rumor that there is an underground tunnel from The
Wort to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Takeda cannot confirm or deny.
"I am about 90 percent sure that the tunnel people think is between here
and the Cowboy is not there because of the load-bearing wall right there,”
she said. “I cannot deny it, I cannot agree to it, because I have never
*4. The Bellman's Tale of the Silver Dollars*
*[image: Inline image 1]*
There are a lot of tales and folk lore associated with The Wort, and one
summer, a bellman got creative with his stories.
“We used to have a lot of bus tours back in the day in the hotel," said
Takeda. "We had bellman who would get on the buses to give a little speech
about the hotel, and one of the bellman got inventive. He came up with a
story about the bar. He said, ‘when you come in, you will see all these
1921 dollars. If you notice, they are evenly warn and the way we keep them
evenly warn is at night after the bar closes at 2 a.m., the bartender hits
a button where they raise up, flip and go back down, so they are evenly
She said that summer, people would come down to the bar in their bathrobes
to see the flip. The bartender, who wasn't aware of the story at the time,
would just play along. He told the guests that they couldn't view the flip
for security reasons.
“It took us a long time before we found out why these people were coming
down and asking to see the dollar flip. It is a story that nobody else
knows. He told it that entire summer," she said.
*5. The Discovery of a Grave Marker*
*[image: Inline image 2]*
OK, not really, but that is what the workman thought when they ran into
something during a renovation after the fire. The workmen hit something
with a truck, decided to get out and dig it out by hand, and discovered the
four foot tall granite marker.
"It scared those workman half to death," said Takeda. "And you never saw a
bunch of guys move back so quickly in your life because they thought for
sure that someone was buried down there."
It turns out it was a park marker from an old park down the street,
however, no one quite knows how the heavy marker got to the hotel, and then
"It was supposed to go to the Historical Society, but it disappeared," she
*6. The Origin of Old West Days*
"Everybody thinks that Old West Days is just a big celebration," said
Takeda. "Old West Days was originally the grand re-opening of the hotel
[after the fire in 1980]."
"We had news services from Denver, Salt Lake City, Casper and Cheyenne, and
we had dignitaries come up. They had square dancing and a ribbon cutting.
They had pricing back to 1941, they served Silver Dollar pancakes for a $1
and you couldn’t get in this place with a shoe horn," she said.
“It was the biggest celebration of a simple business re-opening that you
could imagine. And because it drew so many people and so much attention,
the Chamber ran with it and it eventually turned into a town thing."
Now, to celebrate 75 years, The Wort Hotel is having a 75th Anniversary
Kick-Off Party tomorrow. There will be a kick-off toast at 11:30 a.m. with
Governor Matt Mead. Also, an Anniversary Ale Launch Party will be tomorrow
night from from 5 - 9 p.m. with Snake River Brewing and live music by Major
*All Photos: h/t The Wort Hotel. From the Book "'Meet Me at The Wort'
Legends and Lore of The Wort Hotel"*