Brothers Jess and John Wort

History & Heritage of The Wort Hotel

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.

The early origins of The Wort Hotel

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. 

To learn more about the long history of The Wort Hotel click here.

When was the Silver Dollar Bar first built?

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.

Was there gambling at The Wort Hotel?

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.

Recent history at The Wort Hotel

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 flames leapt 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 landmark. 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.

The Wort Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide®, which is dedicated to promoting heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures.

black and white photo of the exterior of The Wort Hotel in the snow

Wort Hotel Historic Timeline

  • 1893 Charles Wort moves from Nebraska to homestead in Jackson Hole.
  • 1917 Charles Wort purchases 4 lots in the heart of town for $25 each. This will be the site of The Wort Hotel.
  • 1941 John and Jess Wort fulfill their father’s dream of creating a luxury lodging experience and open The Wort Hotel.
  • 1950 The famous Silver Dollar Bar is added.
  • 1960 Teton Motor Hotels purchases The Wort Hotel from John and Jess Wort.
  • 1980  August 5, 5:30pm, The Wort Hotel catches fire. It’s believed the fire was started by a bird’s nest built on the transformer of The Wort’s neon sign.
  • 1981  June, The Wort Hotel recovers from the fire damage and reopens to the delight and appreciation of the entire community. This event marks the first annual Old West Days which continues to the present.
  • 1985 Tom Chrystie purchases The Wort and saves it from demolition.
  • 2001 The Wort Hotel is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2003 The Baxter family purchases The Wort Hotel and begins restoration.
  • 2008 The Wort Hotel reclaims its Four Diamond AAA rating.
  • 2013 The Wort Hotel receives “Best Small Historic Hotel in US” by Historic Hotels of America.
  • 2014 The Wort Hotels earns the Forbes Travel Guide Four Star Award.
  • 2015 The Silver Dollar Bar is expanded to reintroduce The Showroom, Jackson Hole’s Premier Music Venue.
  • 2015 The Wort Hotel receives Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Award
  • 2016 The Wort Hotel celebrates 75th Diamond Anniversary, 1941-2016. 

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