When the Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30) was built across the country in 1913, many buildings and tourist traps soon popped up along the roadside to attract a new brand of automobile tourists. Many entrepreneurs of the time saw opportunity in providing those traveling coast-to-coast by car with entertainment and lodging. As a result, the Lincoln Highway spurred a new form of lodging where guest could pull their automobiles right up to their rooms – the drive-in motor hotel.
The Wyoming Motel
One of the first of these new “motels” (a portmanteau of “motor hotel”) was the Wyoming Motel in Cheyenne. Built in 1936, the 29-room motel with the stone façade and terra cotta roof touted itself for its “Western Hospitality”. The back of a postcard went on to say that the Wyoming was a “modern clean motel with comfortable, pleasant rooms and reasonable rates”.
The diner located in front the motel was once a trolley car that made its way up and down the streets of Cheyenne from 1894 to 1912. In 1926, it was converted into a diner and was eventually incorporated into the motel’s business.
Also out in front of the U-shaped motel stood its iconic neon sign featuring a mid-century style Native American with spear and shield in red teal and black. At night, the words “Wyoming” “Motel” and “Café” lit up the night, beckoning road weary road trippers and family vacationers along the Lincoln Highway to come in for a comfortable night’s sleep and plenty of that Western hospitality.
Come Stay Awhile
In 1982, Dieter Coletti was laid off from his job at the local power plant in Cheyenne when he received a call from a real estate agent friend of his. The Wyoming Motel was in a state of disrepair and up for sale. The agent said it as just the kind of place that needed someone like Dieter to buy it. He liked to work and the place needed a lot of that. So, after first getting rid of all of the cockroaches in the place, Dieter went to work and turned the once overnight motel into a 29 room extended-stay.
Some people have lived there for years since, even raising their families at the motel. In fact, there’s a waiting list for people to get a room that now looks more like a studio apartment than a motel room. Many come to the stay at the pale pink motel with turquoise trim for its practical and affordable way of living. Others come to stay for awhile because it’s a transition from one point of their life to the next. Still others stay because they feel it gives them a sense of community.
However, everyone who stays at the Wyoming Motel these days say they stay because they couldn’t ask for a nicer landlord. Indeed, in 2021, Mr. Coletti was honored with the Blue Federal Credit Union and Wyoming News Now Do-Gooder Award for spending his life helping people and animals throughout the community.
The Luxury Diner – the diner’s name since 1964 – is still serving great food as it’s done continuously for nearly 100 years. The diner serves breakfast and lunch featuring meals prepared from scratch Monday through Thursday from 6 AM to 2 PM and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6 AM to 3 PM. Local favorites include green chili and sausage gravy made from a decades old recipe.
As for that big beautiful sign? Well, “The Chief”, as it’s known by locals, is a Route 30 landmark in Cheyenne. Though the neon has been missing for years, road warriors and vintage sign enthusiasts alike come from all across the country for a selfie with “The Chief”.
So, the next time you’re traveling down the Lincoln Highway near Cheyenne, why not stop in this little stretch of roadside history, have yourself a bite to eat at the Luxury, and take a picture with The Chief before your back on the road?
—Whether it’s a motel in Cheyenne or a roadside attraction in Florida, wherever you’re headed, be sure to take some Stuckey’s along for the ride. From our iconic Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll to our classic Pecan Pralines, we’ve got all your favorite road trip snacks you remember.
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Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!