Tag Archives: Wyoming

Pearl of the Prairies: The Cheyenne Club

Sometime in my youth, The Cheyenne Club entered my consciousness via my viewing diet of western television programs .   It was therefore no surprise that this bastion of privilege and luxury, and  sometime-home to the British ranchers who had invaded Wyoming, would make an appearance in my western historical novel which deals with the very large ranches run by aristocratic Brits.

In the 1880s, Cheyenne, Wyoming, was reputedly the wealthiest city on earth on a per capita basis.  Conveniently located on the transcontinental railroad system, it proved an ideal spot to establish a gentleman’s club catering not only to the British aristocrats that were now there, but also to the cattle barons, railroad magnates, industrial giants and political movers and shakers within its reach.  Set up to rival the Corkscrew Club in Denver, which admitted only foreign noblemen, the Cheyenne Club was originally called The Cactus Club, but the name was soon changed.  It was built in 1880 with specifications that would rival any London club. There were two grand staircases, tennis courts, wine vaults, a grand piano, reading, billiard, dining and smoking rooms.  Rooms were paneled throughout with hardwood floors overlaid with Turkish carpets, and had tiled fireplaces displaying Shakespeare quotations.  Continue reading

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Moreton Frewen / Mortal Ruin

Courtesy of Moreton Frewen Collection, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

I first learned of Moreton Frewen when reading Elisabeth Kehoe’s book, Fortune’s Daughters:  the Extravagant Lives of the Jerome Sisters (Grove Atlantic, Ltd., 2004). Frewen, born 1853, a younger son of a wealthy and well-connected Sussex squire,
was not originally considered suitable for oldest of the Jerome sisters, Clara, who had been brought up in Paris, virtually in the Court of Louis Napoleon.  He could not expect much of an inheritance as the extensive properties held by the squire were entailed under primogeniture.  Moreton, as a gentleman by birth, would normally be expected to enter the clergy, the Services or politics. Continue reading