Hotels of the Old West

Hotels of the Old West

Richard A Van Orman
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/01/2019
Format: Paperback 22 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-04270-5
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Need a room for the night in the Old West? No problem. Hotels had sprung up everywhere, from forgotten cow towns to the bustling city of San Francisco. The farther from the railroad, the more horrifying the accommodations—your only option was likely a roach-infested hotel, barely held together by boards covered with cloth and paper. But that wasn't always the case. Nestled in the Rockies in Georgetown, Colorado, for instance, stood the Hotel de Paris, founded by a French deserter and boasting an excellent wine cellar, exquisite cuisine, and outstanding library.

Hotels of the Old West reveals the fascinating story of the hotels and hospitality houses—the grand, the deplorable, and the just plain dependable—that flourished and failed in the nineteenth century. Historian Richard A. Van Orman draws on records, autobiographies, letters, and journals to offer a compelling look at the early hotels, their food and living conditions, the people who ran and worked in them, and those who just stayed for a night.

Author Bio

Richard A. Van Orman was Professor of History at Purdue University. He was the author of The Explorers: Nineteenth-Century Expeditions in Africa and the American West.

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Table of Contents


1. Hospitality of the Old West

2. Early Western Hotels

3. Mining Camp and Cow Town Hotels

4. Shacks and Palaces

5. Resort Hotels

6. Hotelmen and Employees

7. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

8. Hotel Life

9. The Last Phase