Green River was a major stopping point on the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming and the Hotel Tomahawk, which sits less than a block from the Union Pacific railroad, was where many travelers stayed.
In 1919, two enterprising businessmen, Thomas Welsh and Dr. W. J. Hawk, built the hotel. M.H. Park was lessee and proprietor when it opened.
It was the first hotel built in Green River to look straight at the Lincoln Highway instead of the railroad and was one of the first highway-related buildings to be built in the community. It had about 75 rooms with half the rooms featuring a tub and shower bath, but hot and cold running water and phones were in all rooms.
The Tomahawk opened for guests on May 1, 1921, but the formal opening took place on May 10.
The May 6, 1921 Green River Star offered readers a glimpse into opening night.
“This is an event which means much to the town of Green River as the new Hotel Tomahawk is one of the finest hotel establishments in the west, and is furnished second to none. The ground floor aside from the lobby is occupied by live wires in the business life of the town who have attractive establishments that add much to the general appearance of the hotel block, while just east of the hotel is located the modern Sweetwater Auto Co. Garage, where the auto tourist can receive every need for the gasoline driven vehicles used by the overland tourist of today.”
The hotel is on the left, Sweetwater Auto Co. Garage sits on the right.
The May 14, 1921 edition of the Hotel World: The Hotel and Travelers Journal spoke of the growing community surrounding the new roadside business.
“While it may seem somewhat large for the city, Green River has a good country back of it, and with the advent of several large new industrial plants, now being planned, there will be plenty of business for the motel.”
Many people including Ivan Edelman and his parents stayed at the hotel.
“Over 60 years ago my parents and I stayed at the Tomahawk Hotel. It is right next to the train yards and was host to railroad workers on layover. We could hear the trains all night. Green River is a major rail yard, and when we were there the locomotives were steam. Those are sounds I’ll never forget — or ever hear in person again.”
The hotel closed in 1980, but it still stands, reminding motorists and Wyomingites of a by-gone era in American and automotive histories.