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Haunted St. James Hotel in Cimarron
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St James Hotel was built in 1872 by Henri Lambert (later changed to Henry)
and was originally called Lambert's Inn. Its
saloon, restaurant and 43 rooms were witness to at least 26
Cimarron's wilder days. Clay Allison,
Black Jack Ketchum,
Jesse James, and
Bill Cody have all left their mark on the St. James,
as attested by the numerous bullet holes in the ceiling of the main
Before Henry made his way to
he was the personal chef to President Lincoln, upon the recommendation
of Ulysses S. Grant. He continued to hold the position until the
president was assassinated in 1865. Before long, Henry made his
way west in search of gold. Finally settling in
he opened a
saloon and restaurant instead of finding gold.
Historic View of the
St James Hotel
in the 1800's,
image available for photographic prints
and much of the surrounding was owned by
Land Grant was the largest land grant ever made in the United
sold the grant in 1870, the new
Land Grant Company men discovered that the French chef, Henry
Lambert, was working in
and enticed him to come to
The Lambert Inn, as it was called at the time, started business in
1872. Built during a time when law and order was
saloon quickly gained a reputation as a place of violence, where
it is said that 26 men were shot and killed within its adobe walls. The first question usually asked around
Cimarron in the morning was: "Who was killed at Lambert's
last night?" Another favorite expression following a killing
was: "It appears Lambert had himself another man for breakfast."
saloon was wildly popular to
cowboys, traders, miners and the many travelers of the
Fe Trail. The
saloon did so well that Henry added guest rooms in 1880, and the
hotel was soon considered to be one of the most elegant hotels west of
Many well-known people stayed there over the years.
his brother Morgan, and their wives spent three nights at the St. James
on their way to
James stayed there several times, always in room 14, signing the
registry with his alias, R.H. Howard.
nemesis and would be killer,
Bob Ford, also stayed at the St. James.
Cody, who was a goat ranch manager for
Lucien Maxwell for a short time, met Annie Oakley at the hotel and
began to plan and rehearse their Wild West Show. When Henry’s son
Buffalo Bill nicknamed him "Cyclone Dick” because he was born during a
blustery snow storm, and he was soon asked to be Fred’s godfather.
Lambert grew older,
would be one of the first to give him instruction in the use of guns.
would spend his entire life upholding the law as a
Sheriff, a member of the tribal police and a territorial marshal. When Buffalo
Bill and Annie Oakley left
to take their show on the road, they took an entire village of Indians
Cimarron area with them.
Other notables who have stayed at the historic inn include Bat Masterson,
Black Jack Tom Ketchum,
Billy the Kid,
artist Fredrick Remington, Governor Lew Wallace, and writer Zane Grey. The Hotel was later renamed the St. James and continues to cater to travelers today.
When the railroads came through, the
Trail died, and soon after, the gold in the area began to play out.
population began to dwindle and the elegant St. James Hotel fell into
Though today, this dining room serves elegant meals, it was this room that
once served as Lambert's Saloon and its tin ceiling is still pocked with bullet holes. Kathy Weiser, September, 2008.
St James Hotel ,
Kathy Weiser, September, 2008.
When Henry Lambert's sons,
Gene, replaced the roof of the
Lambert Inn in 1901, they found more than 400 bullet holes in the
ceiling above the bar. A double layer of heavy wood prevented anyone from
sleeping upstairs from being killed. Today, the ceiling of the dining room
still holds 22 bullet holes.
Henri Lambert died in 1913. His wife, Mary E. Lambert died in 1926. Through the years, the old hotel was, at many times, uninhabited and passed
from owner to owner. However, in 1985 the St. James Hotel was restored to
its former luxury.
Continued Next Page
St. James Hotel Lobby today, Kathy Weiser, September, 2008.
This historic roulette table inside the St.
has been played by some notable historic
of the past, Kathy Weiser, September,
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