Business Details

Yellow Hotel

219 West First St., Lusk, Wyoming


The Lusk Herald,  May 2, 2012


A longtime Lusk landmark is little more than a memory now.

Lusk Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Eddy conducted a controlled burn that destroyed the famous Yellow Hotel, per the landowner's request. Eddy said the project had been on the to-do list since the winter, but uncooperative weather postponed the burn until last Friday morning.

The burn on the Yellow Hotel started about 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, and was almost completely burned down in an hour, Eddy said public notices regarding the controlled burn were previously published in The Lusk Herald.

Local historic figure Dell Burke owned the Yellow Hotel. Burke, whose birth name was Mary Ada Fisher, ran a burlesque {brothel} from the hotel. She was a significant contributor to the financial welfare of Lusk during the early 1900's. For example, Burke was said to have paid for a new generator to keep water and electricity running in Lusk, saving her business from being closed at the same time.

Burke retired in 1978 after six decades running one of the most successful burlesques {brothels} in the nation. She passed away Nov. 4, 1980, according to her obituary from the Nov. 13, 1980 edition of The Lusk Herald. She was 93.

According to the obituary, Burke once said "I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I've made a lot of money. Traveled the world. For me, it's been a good life."

More than 25 years following her death, Burke's first biography was published. "Frontier Madam: The Life of Dell Burke, Lady of Lusk," by June Willson Read, is available online and in bookstores.

George Flint, co-owner of the Yellow Hotel said "I have a certain degree of sadness over that historical building being ablaze. Additionally, if you read last week's Niobrara Daze and Nights, you will see that we still have plans for the property. Although I'm saddened by the demise of that historical building that has been here since the 1920's, I have not given up my dreams and hopes for something to replace it and will be a quality bed and breakfast."

Flint went on to say, "I spoke at length with the Mayor and she said that it was no cost to the town to demolish it. John Wasserburger, who is also a co-owner of the property was on board with that decision as well."

The decision came from the high costs of renovations of the existing structure  and this will now give Wasserburger and Flint the opportunity to start from the ground up.

"Nothing is forever, not even the Yellow Hotel, and memories will live on in the hearts of those that were a part of it," Flint lamented.

Several Herald readers in years past have shared memories and opinions of the Yellow Hotel. Although the signature, bright yellow building is no more, Dell Burke's contributions, legacy and the stories and photos of the Yellow Hotel live on forever as pieces of of Lusk's history.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Burke, Dell (07/05/1888 - 11/04/1980) View Record
Historical Dell Burke View Record