Historical Details

Mrs. Lena Henry had Restaurant in Silver Cliff 50 Years Ago: Operated Northwestern Hotel for many Years

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 05/28/1936

Among the few surviving pioneers of 1886, when Lusk first became a thriving town, is Mrs. Lena Henry, who resides on Main Street, across from the Carnegie Library, and is known throughout Niobrara County as being an outstanding cook. Her culinary work has won her hosts of friends, both rich and poor, which is manifested in a letter from the late Senator John B. Kendrick, who wrote to Mrs. Henry six years ago.

Mrs. Henry came to Wyoming in 1876. She was born and reared in the southern part of Norway, and made the trip to the United States in 1874, becoming a resident first in Fargo, North Dakota. After two years she moved to Cheyenne, where she lived for a year, and in 1888 became the proprietor of a restaurant at Silver Cliff, remaining there two years, at which time, when the Northwestern Railroad was built through Lusk, and Mrs. Henry removed her restaurant to the new town, remaining there three years. Securing a homestead some 60 miles north of Lusk, she resided there ten years. After this she purchased and conducted the Northwestern hotel at Lusk for a period of 12 years. In 1917 Mrs. Henry erected the modern three-story Henry Hotel, which is now operated by Mr. and Mrs. Glen L. Cates.

The late Senator Kendrick was an old-time friend of Mrs. Henry's, and under the date of May 23, 1930, he wrote to her as follows:

"In the May 15th issue of the Lusk Herald I read with genuine enjoyment your delightful story descriptive of baking days in Norway. the glimpse of Norway life, together with the vivid picture of baking days in that far-away land, appealed to me with unusual force.

Nevertheless, to me the story was incomplete. As one of your friends of pioneer day, it brought to mind a host of memories in connection with that remote time. Without effort I remembered the way you looked and in your description of the two girls in Norway compelled the belief that the other was Louise Enge. Speaking for at least one of your readers, I wish you had told something in connection with the scenes and incidents of the two girls breaking home ties in the Northland, of their travel across the Atlantic and their arrival in the frontier town of Lusk. Maybe there will be a continuation of your graphic story that will include such experiences.

Anyhow, as stated, the little story revealed to my mind many scenes and incidents of the long ago, some of them pleasant and some unusually sad. As I recall Miss Enge (Louise Giinther) married and afterward passed away. I am sure that you will remember that I had great admiration for the two girls from Norway and it has been a source of unusual satisfaction that, as I believe, I had good reason to feel I have continued to claim your respect and friendship throughout the years.

With sincere regards and all good wishes,

Yours very truly



The Lusk Herald, January 24, 1918

This beautiful building, designed and built by Contractor Elmer H. Ranck, is now occupied by the owner, Mrs. Lena Henry, the painters having put the last touch to their work Monday night, leaving only a few minor odds and ends to be finished up. The hotel is modern in every detail, heated by hot water, electrically lighted, with hose connections on the two upper floors for fire protection, and a vacuum cleaning system. The floors, except in the basement, are of the most substantial oak and nothing has been left undone to make the building both comfortable and attractive.

There are 24 bedrooms, each with hot and cold water; five private baths and toilet rooms; one public bath-room and three public toilet rooms, besides coal, furnace and laundry rooms in the basement. The entrance vestibule, with its tile floor and wainscoting, the office and lobby, also with tile floor, impress visitors with the up-to-dateness of this modern building. The interior wood finish is artistically done by master painters, the basement being in natural, the main floor is golden oak and the upper in brown Flemish. The furnishings of the rooms are in keeping with the general plan of the building, being substantial and elegant.

The result must be credited to "local talent," as Mr. Ranck found the greatest difficulty in obtaining outside help on account of war and labor conditions and at times was seriously handicapped, but it was fortunate for him that he was able to get men at home. The bricklayers were Ed and Paul Ruffing and J. Forsdick; the carpenters, Gus Mashek, F. J. Snee, C. A. Allen, J. H. Roy, Sam Benson, Frank Wise and Archie McFarlane (before he was called to the colors); the plasterers, A. L. Sparks and A. F. Hush; the painters, F. J. Dreyer and Paul Nissen; and John Fernau installed the plumbing.

Images & Attachments

Henry Hotel


Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Fernau, John (07/17/1878 - 05/11/1931) View Record
Obituary McFarlane, Archie (03/19/1888 - 01/09/1935) View Record
Obituary Wise, Frank (08/05/1860 - 07/18/1944) View Record
Obituary Henry, Lena (08/13/1857 - 03/15/1945) View Record