The Silvercliff Motel is not listed as a functioning hotel in Lusk when we did our search for this location. The Shadowlands Haunted Places Index report noted that the Silvercliff Motel “is abandoned” and it seems likely that indeed it is. Information about the location/address for the Silvercliff Motel will help us locate it when we visit Lusk, Wyoming to take photos and interview locals. It seems probable that the Silvercliff Motel was/is either located in a nearby community known as Silver Cliff or it was perhaps moved from the community of Silver Cliff to Lusk for some reason. There are some old buildings on display at the Stagecoach Museum at 322 S. Main St. in Lusk that were moved from their original location in Silver Cliff, Wyoming. This may be where the Silver Cliff Motel is located, but we have not been able find out definitively.
Lusk, Wyoming was established in 1886 and named for Frank S. Lusk (1857-1930), a local rancher and Wyoming stockholder. It was laid out by the Wyoming Central Railroad in June of that year.
Today Lusk is a small community of about 1,500 residents but in 1918, the Buck Creek Dome oil strike in Lusk caused a population explosion and it then boasted a booming town of 10,000 residents. Lusk, Wyoming is located along the Cheyenne-Deadwood stagecoach route, which served the Black Hills during the gold rush.
Apparently, brothels and ladies of the night were not hard to come by in this region of Wyoming. Indeed, a story of an enterprising man named Phatty Thompson had a business plan to sell kittens to prostitutes working at brothels along the Deadwood Trail. He paid 25 cents per kitten and packed them all up in a box for shipment and made his way, only to have his crate tip while en route. He was thankfully able to lure the kittens back with some tasty food items he had on board. And Phatty Thompson made some cash as it turns out, reselling the kittens for 25 bucks a pop to the large number of lonely ladies of the night near Lusk, Wyoming.
Also of interest is the story of Mother Featherlegs and Dangerous Dick Davis. Nevermind how Mother Featherlegs got her name. The real meat of the story is that Mother Featherlegs was shot dead near a spring where she collected water and Dangerous Dick’s footprints were all around. A Dangerous Dick running lose would indeed be scary and somehow we can’t justify excluding these important tales in our consideration of Lusk as a haunted location. Dangerous Dick was eventually found and hanged. He revealed that Mother Featherlegs’ real name was actually Charlotte Shephard. There is a monument that was erected (no pun intended) in 1964 to commemorate Mother Featherlegs for her historical contributions to the area. It is, perhaps the only monument to a prostitute that exists in the United States and perhaps the globe. The monument is located 10 miles south of Lusk on the old Cheyenne Trail. The Cheyenne-Deadwood Stagecoach Trail ran roughly where Highway 85 is today.
The pantalets worn by Mother Featherlegs are on display at the Stagecoach Museum in Lusk, Wyoming.
Weiser, K. (2009). Wyoming Legends: Monument to a Prostitute in Lusk. Retrieved December 3, 2009 from http://www.legendsofamerica.com/WY-Featherlegs.html
Wikipedia (2009). Lusk, Wyoming. Retrieved December 3, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lusk,_Wyoming
Wyoming Home Stay and Outdoor Adventures (2006). Bed and Breakfast Inns and Ranches of Wyoming. Retrieved December 3, 2009 from http://www.wyomingbnb-ranchrec.com/City.Lusk.html
Shadowlord (1998). Shadowlands Haunted Places Index. Retrieved August 11, 2008 from http://theshadowlands.net/places/wyoming.htm
Lusk WY Wyoming United States