Miss Kate & The Sheridan Inn

If you like this spooky ghost story, check out our new site filled with all things haunted– Ghostlandia.

One of my favorite weird hobbies is staying the night in haunted hotels. While I’ve never seen a ghost, my fascination with the paranormal leads me to the most interesting historical stories of the Cowboy State. The Sheridan Inn holds a special place in my heart, as I’ve never been there for the night, but as a teenager, I attended many a Cowboy Poet conference there, listening to the art from the hearts of grizzled men with hearts of gold. I listened to stories about their time on the prairie, their experiences, and their thoughts on the calm, hard-working men and women of Wyoming. 

Listening to those with stories to tell is another of the many reasons this podcast is so special to me. 

Have you ever loved something so much that you wanted to be immortalized with that love with your own afterlife? 

The woman we will meet today on Wild Women, Wind & Wyoming Wisdom felt that same feeling about the Sheridan Inn in Sheridan, Wyoming, and got her final wish. This story is a ghost story, but it’s also a love story about a woman with a love for a hotel so deep, she asked to be interred there after her final breath. 

Today we tell the story of Miss Kate Arnold and the Sheridan Inn. 

The Sheridan Inn

Catharine Arnold, known as Miss Kate, stepped off the train in Sheridan Wyoming in 1901. At the time, the building now known as the Sheridan Inn was owned by Buffalo Bill Cody himself as his train went throughout the west with his Wild West Show. Miss Kate had left her family in Virginia, searching for adventure on the high plains and mountains of the Big Horns. 

The Sheridan Inn is a gorgeous piece of architecture, with a dozen gables gracing the front of the hotel. During its tenure, it saw the likes of its one-time owner, Buffalo Bill Cody and his sharp shooting prodigy, Annie Oakley. As Ernest Hemmingway made his way through the west, he rested his head at the Sheridan Inn. Even President Herbert Hoover made the Sheridan Inn his presidential suite as he traveled through the state for fishing expeditions. Another hotel just an hour away in Buffalo also had the president as a night time guest, and claims the couch in their library was damaged by the fishing hooks in the president’s own pocket as he sat to read. 

The Sheridan Inn was once the most luxurious hotel this side of Chicago, with a design that made the building iconic and beloved. 

Miss Kate was only 22 when she accepted employment at the Sheridan Inn as a seamstress for the owner’s family. Her love for the Inn began that day and would last for the rest of her long life. 

Over the next 64 years, Miss Kate would take on whatever role the Inn required of her. She worked as a housekeeper, seamstress, desk clerk, and even babysitter. Her presence in the Inn was known and appreciated by all those in the bustling western town of Sheridan. 

Miss Kate Arnold

As she lived and worked at the Inn, Miss Kate would even keep a garden of beautiful flowers, many of which graced the tables of the Inn during its heyday. She was a beloved member of the community, though she never married and stayed loyal to the Inn itself for her entire life. 

Every night, she saw to it that the candles in the Inn were extinguished, for safety, and cared for each of the guests as if they were guests in her own home– in a way, they were. As she worked at the hotel, new owners would come and go, but Miss Kate was a constant that those who frequented the Inn came to know and love. 

She weathered multiple wars, times of strife and struggle, and even the difficult financial times that caused troubles for the Inn and its owners. All the while, Miss Kate kept her many hats and jobs at the Sheridan Inn. 

Miss Kate’s love for the hotel and those who stayed there gave the hotel a reputation for hospitality and kindness as thousands of guests passed under her adopted home’s roof. Even when the hotel closed, she stayed in the hallowed halls, working as a caretaker and waiting for the next owner to reopen the doors to welcome guests once again. 

Unfortunately, that would not happen during her lifetime, as the hotel closed its doors in 1965 and new owners planned to tear down the aging structure for most lucrative real estate goals. 

Miss Kate would pass away in 1968, but not before making her final wish well known to anyone who would listen– she wanted to be returned to the Inn that had been her home for six decades. She asked for her ashes to be interred at the hotel, and her wish would be granted. 

While no one, not even the current proprietors of the hotel, knows exactly where her ashes were placed, a small and private ceremony was held to interr her ashes within the walls of the Sheridan Inn, so her afterlife could be spent in the place that brought her purpose and joy. 

This began the legend of Miss Kate that perpetuates to this day— that she still walks the halls of the Sheridan Inn, in spirit form, still caring for the elegant building and making her presence known. 

The inn is open again today, with a special room named just for Miss Kate. As the room was her home for 6 decades, it’s hard to imagine she’d leave it behind without caring for the new guests. 

Miss Kate is said to sit in her old rocking chair where she’d hand-sewed various clothes and repairs as a seamstress. She’s said to be seen walking through the garden she cared so much for, and some guests are convinced she went out of her way to make their stay memorable and comfortable. 

Miss Kate’s Room at the Inn

As she did in life, Miss Kate is said to extinguish candles and electric lights in the room that bears her name. Glimpses of her have been reported, and even footsteps could be heard in the hall as she perpetually paced them, making sure to watch out for the guests in her care. 

The rare haunting out of love for a building rather than tragedy makes Miss Kate a presence known throughout the town of Sheridan, her love story continuing even into the 21st century, over 100 years since she stepped foot across the threshold of the Sheridan Inn. 

Today, the Inn boasts themed rooms that guests can stay in, it hosts parties and conventions in its elegant ballroom, and the shadow of the building is synonymous with the town itself. Aging but cared for, the Hotel seems to be poised to be open for another 100 years, with Miss Kate along for the ride and caring for guests like she did during life. 

The hotel says they strive to give each guest the same hospitality and care that Miss Kate herself would have provided. If you take the chance to stay in the Miss Kate room at the Hotel, you might even meet the ghostly hostess as she rocks in her chair next to your bed, or makes sure to turn out the lights before you drift off to sleep. 

64 years in the hallowed halls has given Miss Catharine Arnold a longevity of her story and love for the Inn. We can all only hope to have our final wishes honored like hers were— her final resting place being the same building she loved all her life. 

Special thanks this week to the proprietors and employees of the Wild West hotel, the Sheridan Inn, and their hospitality that rivals Miss Kate herself. Be sure to book a room there for the full wild west elegance and experience. 

If you like this spooky ghost story, check out our new site filled with all things haunted– Ghostlandia.

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