- The Wort Hotel in downtown Jackson Hole, Wyoming
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The inspiration for The Wort Hotel originated with Charles J. Wort, a homesteader who arrived in Jackson Hole in 1893. Staking claim just outside modern-day Jackson, Charles and his wife Luella gave birth to two sons; John in 1900 and Jess in 1903.
In 1917, Charles bought four lots in downtown Jackson, Wyoming. For seven years, the land was used as a horse corral adjacent to a livery stable. From 1932 to 1940, the Wort family operated what is now Signal Mountain Lodge in Grand Teton National Park. Through the sale of this facility, the family financed construction of their dream; a luxury hotel in downtown Jackson, WY.
Original construction costs were approximately $90,000, and the hotel officially opened in the late summer of 1941. In 1950 the famous Silver Dollar Bar was designed and built by a German cabinet maker using 2,032 uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars from the Denver mint.
Although gambling has always been unlawful in Wyoming, it was tolerated for many years as a tourist amusement in resort destinations. The Wort offered a variety of gaming options, which moved underground and eventually ceased after outside pressures and the postwar boom brought increased attention to this corner of the world.
Since opening in 1941, The Wort Hotel continues to be a favorite spot in downtown Jackson Hole for locals and visitors alike. Tragically, on the afternoon of August 5, 1980, the town watched in horror as columns of smoke and flame leaped from the hotel's roof. A bird's nest near a transformer had touched off one of the worst blazes in Jackson history. The fire burned in to the night, collapsing the roof and threatening an end to this historic Jackson landmark hotel. But only days after the fire, a sign went up pronouncing "We'll be back". And so it was; in June 1981, The Wort Hotel reopened to community fanfare and a renewed commitment to every guest who walked through its doors. In 2011, the hotel celebrated its 70th anniversary.