Known as the Rendezvous City, Riverton has been a gathering place ever since the early 1800s. Back then it was between mountain men and trappers to sell furs and trade supplies. Today the city receives visitors for a wide range of activities from businessmen seeking investment opportunities to wildlife enthusiasts on a trek across the country.
Looking back, Riverton was always aware of the necessity of proper lodging for its visitors. During the early years, visitors to Riverton would stay at smaller hotels like the Wind River Hotel or the Lapeyre Hotel, but soon the locals believed that the town needed a larger and nicer hotel for visitors.
Jacob A. Delfelder moved to Riverton in 1912 and quickly became one of the leading businessmen in the town. Shortly after his arrival, he was elected as the Mayor of Riverton and served for several years. In 1918, Delfelder proposed the construction of a larger, nicer hotel in Riverton. An agreement was made with the investors and construction began on the Teton Hotel – a four-story hotel containing seventy-five rooms, a nice lobby, a restaurant, a lounge, and a coffee shop.
The construction of the Teton Hotel was completed in 1919. A newspaper article announced the opening as follows:
“Tonight, it will be possible for the first time for a guest to get a nice clean bed in a handsome comfortable room with bath in connection at the new Teton Hotel in Riverton. Within a few weeks, the dining room also will be open to the public and Riverton will then have a home to welcome the traveling public that no other city in the entire west can surpass. The Teton will always stand as a monument to the enterprise and optimism of the leading businessmen of Riverton, who organized locally and undertook the construction and furnishing of this handsome building.”
Over the years, the hotel became a stopping point for travelers who were on their way to Yellowstone National Park. For the locals, the restaurant, coffee shop, and lounge became a gathering place for get togethers. In the 1960s, the Teton Hotel closed its doors when travelers began to stay in motels more often than in hotels. In October of 1985, the Teton Sertoma Incorporated bought the Teton Hotel and renovated the upper levels into apartments for senior citizens and the street level into commercial rentals.
Today, Riverton has continued to welcome visitors and provide an array of lodging choices. But it also makes a point to remember and celebrate its history and be proud of the people who invested in and built the community.
The Fremont County Museums – the Dubois Museum, the Riverton Museum, and the Pioneer Museum – work hard to collect, preserve and interpret artifacts and the history of central Wyoming. Stories like the Teton Hotel remind everyone that the Rendezvous City will always be a welcoming and dynamic destination.