Wort Hotel

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Wort Hotel
Wort Hotel Jackson WY1.jpg
Wort Hotel is located in Wyoming
Wort Hotel
Location Jackson, Wyoming
Coordinates 43°28′48″N 110°45′45″W / 43.48000°N 110.76250°W / 43.48000; -110.76250Coordinates: 43°28′48″N 110°45′45″W / 43.48000°N 110.76250°W / 43.48000; -110.76250
Built 1941
Architect Grimmett, Lorenzo
Architectural style Tudor Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 99001507
Added to NRHP December 09, 1999[1]

The Wort Hotel was built in downtown Jackson, Wyoming by brothers John and Jess Wort, who were significant figures in the transformation of the economy of Jackson Hole from ranching to tourism. The somewhat Tudor-style building was the first luxury hotel in Jackson. The two story building features brick facing, with half-timbering and stucco on the second floor and a series of gables facing the street.

The hotel was built on property that had been bought by Charles Wort, father of John and Jess, who operated a livery stable on the site from 1915 to 1932. From 1932 to 1940 the Wort Family operated what is now Signal Mountain Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, until the Wort Hotel was opened in 1941. In 1950 the Silver Dollar Bar was added, with 2032 uncirculated silver dollars embedded in the surface of the bar.[2][3]

Wort Family[edit]

Charles J. Wort first arrived in Jackson Hole in 1893 at age 19 to visit his brother Hamilton and half brother Stephen Leek. Charles remained to homestead in the South Park region of Teton County. After a trip to his native Nebraska to marry his wife Luella Perkins in 1899 he returned with Luella. In the early 1900s he began to work as an outfitter, assisted by his sons John and Jess. The Worts began to assemble land in the center of Jackson in 1915 with the aim of eventually building a hotel. In the meantime Charles built the Wort Livery Stable and Corral on the property, operating until 1932, along with the Wort Garage at Broadway and Cache. In 1917 Charles and Luella bought the Jackson Hotel at North Cache and Deloney, operating it for slightly more than a year. In 1925 they built a house across from the future hotel on West Broadway, ending their career as ranchers. The house was moved to Wilson, Wyoming in the 1960s. They had previously built a log cabin at Broadway and Cache for their sons to stay in when inclement weather prevented them from returning home from school in Jackson. Known as the Wort boys' cabin, it was later used as a law office by Will Simpson. Moved into Town Square, it was used by a stagecoach ride concession until 1996, when it was given to Simpson's grandson, Senator Alan Simpson who reportedly moved it to Cody.[4]

During the 1920s the Worts obtained the first concession in Grand Teton National Park at Jenny Lake, where they ran a boating concession. In the 1930s the Worts operated their hunting concession in the Gros Ventre Mountains at what is now the Gap Puche Cabin. In 1932 the Worts purchased the Ole Warner Camp on Jackson Lake, naming it the Wort Lodge and Camp and operating it until 1940 when it was sold as the Signal Mountain Lodge. The proceeds from the sale financed the construction of the Wort Hotel, undertaken by John and Jess, Charles having died in 1933.[4]

Hotel[edit]

The Wort Hotel was designed by Idaho amateur architect Lorenzo "Ren" Grimmett. Grimmett is stated to have subsequently designed a near twin to the Wort, the Stage Coach Inn, in West Yellowstone, Montana. The Wort was finished just before the outbreak of World War II. Despite wartime restrictions, the hotel became popular with servicemen on furlough. Gambling was officially illegal, but tolerated until the 1950s, when Wyoming Governor Milward Simpson began a campaign against gambling. At the Wort, gambling retreated to the basement Teton Room, locally known as the "Snake Pit." Gambling finally ceased in the mid 1950s.[4]

A fire in 1980 severely damaged the hotel, destroying much of the second floor, but it was reopened in 1981 with minimal changes. In 1984 the hotel was sold out of the Wort family.[4] The hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.[1]

In 2009, AAA named the Wort Hotel one of the top 10 historic U.S. hotels.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Wort Hotel". National Register of Historic Places. Wyoming State Preservation Office. 2008-10-18. 
  3. ^ "Jackson's Historic Landmark". The Wort Hotel. 2008-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d Grever, Joan; Dennis, Barry; Lynn, Ann; Dubbe, Kurt; O'Connor, Jesse; Jacobson, Silver; Rigter, Robert (April 15, 1999). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Wort Hotel". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  5. ^ "AAA Inspectors Pick Their Top Ten Historic Hotels for Independence Day". press release. American Automobile Association. 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 

External links[edit]