First built in 1872, many famous outlaws have stayed at the St. James over the years, including Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Billy the Kid and Thomas James Wright.
Grand Hotel on the Santa Fe Trail
The saga of the St. James Hotel began in Washington D.C. with the arrival of a Frenchman whose life became intertwined with the people and a place that became known as the Village of Cimarron, New Mexico.
Situated on the Santa Fe Trail, Cimarron's location attracted a variety of colorful characters in the Old West. From lawmen to outlaws and everyone in between, the fine food and atmosphere at the original St. James Hotel attracted them all.
Who was this Frenchman?
A chef, Henri Lambert loved to prepare great food. As his reputation grew he was the chef for many well known people in Washington DC. Around 1864, Henri Lambert traveled west and settled in northeastern New Mexico. Initially the Lamberts made their home in Elizabethtown, a rough mining community northwest of Cimarron. Henri Lambert tried mining but soon returned to his real profession as a chef.
The gold ore began to play out and by 1871; houses and mines began to disappear in Elizabethtown. Prominent men in Cimarron enticed the Lamberts to move their business.
A kaleidoscope of colorful characters some as alive now as when they walked this earth frequented the saloon and or stayed in the hotel.
The Earp brothers and their wives stopped here on their way to Tombstone. Buffalo Bill Cody became a friend of the Lamberts and was present when their son, Fred was born. While visiting the St. James he visualized plans for his "Wild West Show" to include Annie Oakley.
Lew Wallace, former Governor of New Mexico, wrote part of his novel "Ben Hur" during his visits to this area.
Author Zane Grey began writing his novel "Fighting Caravans" while staying in Room 22.
Outlaws such as Jesse James and Black Jack Ketchum rested in the hotel. Wander around the downstairs of the St. James. Look at the old photos and learn more about the guests of yesteryear.