One Of Wyoming’s Most Loved Buildings Was Almost Demolished
The Occidental Hotel on Main Street, Buffalo, Wyoming is famous for its age of 135 years, but many don't know it wasn't exactly alive all that time. Founded in 1880, by 1980 it was worn down to flat creepy, and closed.
In 1997, finally scheduled for demolition, someone saved the day, and since then, it’s become hard to imagine at one time there was almost no more Occidental.
The Occidental hosted so many famous figures out of history, not just from Wyoming, from Teddy Roosevelt to Ernest Hemingway and the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Many saw it during its better days, but folks who grew up in Wyoming in the 1980s remember the Occidental as closed for over decade.
About to become a parking lot, enter a local couple who knew antiquity. After buying it, they spent years renovating the old place - slowly but surely, from one end to the other.
A page of Occidental.com is dedicated to the full process. Dawn and John Wexo had been involved in other restorations, and suspected that scraping layers of paint, pulling up decayed carpet, and stripping the place back to its original make up "might reveal a gem." They were more right than even they had hoped. In the 1940s and 50s, so much “modernizing” had been done. Essentially what was discovered was the original western hotel, much of it once very expensive and beautiful.
At one time the old rooms had become the bad news, but ironically, after rooms were painstakingly rediscovered, those old details became the wonderful good news.
One blogger wrote about his first trip, “The Occidental Saloon is, hands down, the most Western bar I’ve ever seen ... without the kitsch.” True West Magazine called Occidental "the best hotel of the west."
Maybe we'll have no worries of demolition for about another 135 years.