Cady House Once Hosted Sheridan's Elite

The Cady House Today -- Pat Blair Photo

As part of our ongoing series on Sheridan's historical buildings, this week, we focus on the Cady House, which sits at the corner of North Main and Alger in downtown Sheridan.

The Cady House was the place to be on Christmas night in 1897, according to historical records, because that's where Santa Claus stopped, along with Uncle Sam, representatives of various nations and a contingent of mythical creatures like brownies and fairies.

The building was named for its builder, H.F. Cady of Omaha, Nebraska, and from its opening in 1893 became a focal point of Sheridan's social life. An opera house and community center shared the building's upper floor, and for a couple of years, from 1897 to 1899, Sheridan County's government leaders used the main and second floors for offices.

It was some time after the turn of the 20th century that the building passed into the hands of a syndicate whose members included local residents B.F. Perkins, J.D. and C.T. Helvey and the estate of H.C. Alger. In those early years, the building was home to a grocery store, saloon, post office, and barber shops and real estate offices. Also, at one time, the local Elks Lodge used the building. A photo of the building taken before 1906, shows an elk's head mounted on the tower above the name of the building.

A later owner of the structure is recorded as saying the south side entrance at one time opened into the Arcade Saloon. This was back in the days when society frowned upon women going into saloons. So the Arcade solved that problem by providing a separate entrance for the ladies off of an alley on the building's east side.

The original three-story structure lost its third floor in a fire that burst through the windows on the upper floors in the predawn hours of Oct. 7, 1906. History records that firemen rushed to the scene, but in addition to claiming the top floor, the blaze gutted the second, before the fire was brought under control.

It was John D. Helvey who turned the place into the Helvey Hotel, after buying and remodeling the structure. That's the name the landmark held for nearly 80 years, through four more owners.

The last owner was Jim Kuzara, who bought the place in 1984, and set out on a restoration that included a return to the building's original name. But, a year later, he filed for bankruptcy. So, it was owners that came along after him that continued the work he started. Today, with the exception of the missing third floor, the Cady House now looks much like it did in the late 1890s, when the building shared billing with the Sheridan Inn as one of the social meccas of Sheridan.