The First Single-Family Home on this End of Town
The purveyor of DeMaris Hot Springs (a mineral hot springs outside of Cody in the Shoshone River), Charles DeMaris married Nellie Fitzgerald in 1898 and the couple had a son, Charles C., “Bill”, in 1900. In anticipation of Bill going to school, Charles bought property in town in 1906 and built this house in 1907 for his family. Their home was the only building on this block until the Park County Courthouse was built in 1912. The family continued to operate the mineral springs for bathing, and also bottled the water and sold it, but continued to live in town.
The Many Faces of the historic DeMaris House
Charles DeMaris died in 1914. Nellie passed in 1935, leaving the house to Bill. It has served as a one family home, been divided into a duplex and housed various businesses, including Fraley Real Estate (they occupied the first floor, while Bill lived upstairs). At one time, Bill even operated a bar out of the house.
Bill sold the building to Carl Putz who in turn, sold it to Park County in 1971-72. Between 1975 and 1998, the Simonton law firm was housed in the DeMaris house. Fire District #2 offices occupied the house from 1998 to 2007. When they moved to the former Law Enforcement building, this building sat, forlorn and likely due for demolition, until the Park County Commissioners agreed to lease the building to the Cody Heritage Museum Board.
[Photo (above) Credit-Park County Archives]
In April of 2011, the Board and volunteers gutted the building, removing fixtures, carpet, paneling, etc. Later in 2011, HR Coe Construction removed the existing exterior siding and replaced the roof and chimney flashing. From 2012 to 2014, various stages of restoration ensued, including removing the large window on the south side of the building and replacing it with brick, repointing and painting of the exterior brick. In 2015, a new foundation was poured, foot by foot, in order to stabilize the building for another 100 years. New windows were also installed throughout the building and the interior and exterior layers of brick were stabilized and bolted. From 2015 to 2017, the interior finish work, following the design for the Museum, was completed, including plumbing, electrical/lighting, internet wiring, telephone lines, furnace, rear ADA access approach and door, and ADA restroom.
Over this 7-year period, the Board of Directors, with the help of the community and generous colunteers, raised and spent upwards of $450,000 to restore this historic home and create a new local history museum.