The Mountain View Historic Hotel & Café is located at 2747 Scenic Highway 130 in Centennial, Wyo. For more information visit the hotel’s website at http://www.themountainviewhotel.com or call (307) 742-3588.
The Mountain View Hotel
The Mountain View Hotel was an integral part of the settlement of the Centennial Valley at the foot of the Medicine Bow Mountains, about 25 miles west of Laramie. With strong ties to mining, railroad, and early tourism endeavors, the building has remained in service in numerous income-producing capacities for more than a century.
Construction of the building was first proposed in 1906 and was to be built by Eastern capital at a cost of $8,000. The Boston-Wyoming Lumber Company ended up earning the contract, and construction began immediately. The plan called for 20 guest rooms and three baths with “the most improved system of plumbing.” However, the original bathrooms were placed outside in the livery stables for some reason. The hotel’s furniture was shipped from Chicago, and a man named R. Mettler was imported by the railroad to handle its daily operations.
The local newspaper, The Centennial Post, on Dec. 7, 1907, deemed the hostelry “the pride of Centennial,” stating that the hotel “is one of the finest and best equipped in the west.” The report further exhorted, “Every booster will now include the hotel in the list of all good things worthy of being boosted and never neglect to whoop it up for the Mountain View.”
Another news item in early May 1908 explained “Agent Tim Ulen of the Plains Line, is engaged in trapping grasshoppers … which means that the trout population in the near by streams will be greatly diminished in the very near future, and that the guests at the Mountain View hotel will be feasting on fish that are the finest in the land.”
Later that year, a full-page advertisement in the Post announced the “Mammoth Christmas Tree and Grand Santa Claus Ball” to be held at the Centennial Pavilion on Dec. 24, 1908, which included a special train trip on the Laramie, Hahn’s Peak and Pacific Railroad. Guests would leave Laramie at 7 p.m. for the ride to Centennial, where they would enjoy a “fine supper” at the Mountain View Hotel, exchange gifts with family and friends under the “largest and most magnificent Christmas tree in Wyoming,” and dance to the music provided by Neith’s Orchestra before returning to Laramie.
On April 20, 1912, the Post carried the news that Mr. and Mrs. Gustav Sundby had leased the Mountain View Hotel and were having it cleaned and remodeled with plans to “conduct a first class hotel and summer resort” that would be “cheerful, comfortable and home-like.” The couple apparently purchased the hotel a couple of years later, charging $1.00 to $1.50 for accommodations and meals, which included a breakfast of fresh fried trout, toast, pancakes and eggs and a dinner of steak and trout.
County records are sparse, and existing documents show that the Sundbys owned and operated the Mountain View Hotel and it was originally intended until the 1940s. Following the Sundbys, many individuals owned the hotel throughout the 20th century, and an element of its function would change slightly with each new owner. Dorothy Fisher purchased the building and part of it became Fisher’s Gift Shop and the town post office for a short period of time. In the late 1950s, the building was converted into apartments.
Owners Kathleen and Mike McShane acquired the building in early 2014 and now run it as a hotel once more. A small restaurant inside contributes to the experience for guests who visit downtown Centennial. The hotel is a survivor both physically and fiscally. It embodies the spirit of the early pioneers, miners, ranchers, railroaders, and entrepreneurs of Centennial. Much like the town, the hotel retains a sense of community spirit that welcomes any traveler.
The Mountain View Hotel was named to the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 2007.
- The Centennial Post, Dec. 7, 1907, 1; May 2, 1908, 1; Dec. 5, 1908, 4; April 20, 1912, 1. Accessed Sept. 22, 2015, at http://newspapers.wyo.gov.
- Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office. National Register of Historic Places. “Mountain View Hotel.” Accessed Sept. 22, 2015, at http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/NationalRegister/Site.aspx?ID=32.
- The photo is courtesy of the Mountain View Historic Hotel & Café. Used with permission and thanks.
For more on the life and times of Dr. Lillian Heath, Governor John Osborne, the outlaw Big Nose George and many other early residents of Carbon County, visit the Carbon County Museum at 904 West Walnut Street, between 9th and 10th streets in downtown Rawlins. For directions, hours or information on collections, exhibits and the museum bookstore, call (307 328-2740 or visit the website linked above.
The Grand Encampment Museum is located at 807 Barnett in Encampment. Tramway towers stand on the grounds with ore buckets hanging from cables to show how copper ore was transported 16 miles from the mountain mines to the smelter in Encampment before the S&E Railroad arrived. A recent museum project is restoration of the original caboose of the S&E. A variety of resources and lifestyle exhibits at the museum offer more information on the copper boom and the history of the town and surrounding area. Visitors can also climb a fire lookout tower and view other United States Forest Service memorabilia. A recent remodeling enhanced the museum’s ability to help researchers, and the Culleton building is now open year-round as a research center. For more information, visit the website at http://www.gemuseum.com/ or call (307) 327-5308.
The Saratoga Museum is housed in the former Union Pacific Railroad depot at 104 Constitution Ave., just across the highway from Shively Field. The Union Pacific donated a caboose in 1982 and an 85,000-pound refrigerated boxcar in 1992, and both of these stand on the museum grounds today, as does the sheep wagon commemorating the achievements of longtime sheep raiser Richard Savage and his family. The museum also has one of the state’s largest gem and mineral displays. The Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association sponsors annual summer treks to local historic places. For more information, call (307) 326-5511 or visit http://www.saratoga-museum.com.
The Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce is located in the Platte Valley Community Center at 210 W. Elm in Saratoga. For more information about the annual Ice Fishing Derby, Don E. Erickson Memorial Chariot Races, Wyoming Open Pool Tournament, Steinley Cup Microbrew Competition and other events in the “Good Times Valley,” or to contact local outfitters and guides, contact the Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce at (307) 326-8855 or visit http://www.saratogachamberinfo.com.