The History Of Cheyenne’s Hitching Post Inn
The final chapter of the Hitching Post Inn will likely be written this month, marking a sad end for one of Cheyenne's most historic venues. Known as "Wyoming's Second Capital" and "The Western White House", it was a Lincolnway landmark for nearly a century.
Built along the Lincoln Highway in 1925, the Lincoln Court began with 25 rooms and grew with the popularity of automobiles. After it was renamed, The Hitching Post became an iconic destination, hosting movie stars, musicians, politicians, and five United States Presidents.
John F. Kennedy spent the night there in 1960 while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Along with former President Harry Truman, JFK was one of many prominent Democrats hosted by former Wyoming Tribune publisher Tracy McCraken, who was a member of the National Democratic Committee.
Plenty of famous Republicans also visited, including then-President Ronald Reagan, who attended a fundraiser for Wyoming Senator Malcolm Wallop in 1982, Dwight Eisenhower, who headlined a GOP fundraiser while campaigning for President in 1952, and future President Richard Nixon, who dined there in 1951.
Along with political dignitaries, the Hitching Post also hosted many movie stars. Christopher Walken and Jeff Bridges stopped in on their way to film the movie Heaven's Gate, which was based on Wyoming's infamous Johnson County War. George Burns and Gracie Allen also stayed at the Hitching Post. So did former Mr. Universe and Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno.
It wasn't unusual for musicians to visit the Hitching Post, either. A long list of country music stars stayed there during Cheyenne Frontier Days. Legendary crooner Tom Jones is one of several famous singers who performed in the lounge.
Sadly, the storied structure went up in flames on September 14, 2010. An investigation revealed the owners had hired an arsonist to set the fire, hoping to cash in on a $13.6 million insurance policy. The principal figure in the scheme was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. Meanwhile, what little was left of the property has slowly withered. Now, after nearly a decade of decay and disrepair, the Hitching Post will finally face the wrecking ball.