Harry Hynds

 

One of the interesting characters in Cheyenne history is Harry Hynds.  He was born in 1860 and arrived in Cheyenne in 1882 at the age of nineteen.  Harry was a blacksmith and he found a job working for Herman Haas, an established blacksmith and wagon maker. Harry also drove for the Cheyenne-Black Hills stage, taking over the route between Magic City and Fort Laramie.  In 1883, he went into business on his own and took over the blacksmith work for the stage line.  The stage was discontinued in 1887.

When not working, Harry enjoyed saloon life.  He was a gambler and a drinker who had a temper when he drank.  Consequently, Harry got into fights.  As a blacksmith he had a well-developed body even though he was only five foot eight inches tall.  Soon he was prizefighting in Laramie and in Denver where large bets were placed and he won a substantial amount of money.

After only two bouts, Harry quit fighting and opened the Capitol Saloon in Cheyenne.  It was so lucrative that he added locations in Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Salt Lake City.    His other investments included mining, oil and the Plains Hotel.   He moved into Cheyenne’s polite society circles…traveling extensively, and using his money for charitable purposes.  He met and married a beautiful woman, Maude, who often traveled with him.  In 1894 Harry and Maude moved to Salt Lake City.

In 1894 Harry returned from a business trip and found a half-dressed man in Maude’s closet.  The young man, Walter Dinwoodey, was the twenty-five year old son of a prominent Salt Lake City family.  Harry shot Walter three times, killing him, and then calmly turned himself in.  His case went to trial and a jury pronounced it justifiable homicide and declared him “not guilty.” 

As one might expect, Harry divorced Maude.  He then moved back to Cheyenne where he was more popular than ever. He invested heavily in the community and became one of its leading philanthropists. By the time Harry died in 1933 he had amassed a fortune of well over a million dollars.   He had remarried and left a widow, Nel.

In December of 1916, The Inter Ocean Hotel, one of the most well-known hotels in the west at that time, was extensively damaged by fire.  The City demanded the building be razed.  Senator F.E. Warren owned the property and in 1917 he sold it to Harry Hynds for construction of a five story office building.

 The building opened in 1920 and its design was advanced for its time.  The building’s structure was of steel, there were no interior or exterior supporting walls and there was no wood used.  Floors were of mosaic tile, corridor walls were of green or gray marble, and the ground floor transoms were of stained glass.  The exterior was covered in cream colored terracotta tiles and light wells were incorporated into the plan so that interior offices would have natural light.  The building still stands at the corner of Lincolnway and Capitol Avenue.

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