St. James Hotel


The story of the St. James Hotel.

Henry Lambert built the St. James Hotel in 1872 in the town of Cimarron. It was originally named Lambert’s Inn, after the owner. The inn, which is comprised of a saloon, restaurant, and forty-three rooms are steeped in history. During that time, Cimarron was a popular spot for people such as Jesse James, Black Jack Ketchum, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Clay Allison.

Henry Lambert began his career as a personal chef to President Lincoln. He continued on with that work until Lincoln was killed in 1865. Shortly after that, Lambert decided to head West in search of gold. When he came up empty-handed in his treasure hunt, he settled down in Elizabethtown, New Mexico and decided to open his own restaurant. Most of the surrounding land, including Elizabethtown and Cimarron belonged to Lucien B. Maxwell, by way of the Maxwell Grant, which was the largest land grant ever made by the United States. It was in 1870 when Maxwell sold the grant that the new land grant company took special notice of Lambert and encouraged him to go to Cimarron.

When the Lambert Inn was built in 1872, there was no real lawful government present in Cimarron. This was how the town became known to be an especially violent place, especially the Lambert Inn, which at the time was just a saloon for weary cowboys, traders, and miners to stop for rest and a good fight. The hotel was so well-known for violence that Lambert was often quoted as “having another man for breakfast.” In the morning, it wasn’t uncommon to hear people ask who the hotel’s latest victim was. The place had so many fights that there are still many bullet holes in the ceiling today.

In 1880, the saloon was doing so well that Henry Lambert decided to build an addition to include guest rooms. It wasn’t long before the hotel was considered to be one of the finest west of the Mississippi. The hotel quickly became famous for lending famous folks such as Wyatt Earp along with his brother, Morgan, and their wives. Jesse James was a common visitor of the hotel although he would always register under the name R.H. Howard, and he would not stay in any other room other than number 14. Bob Ford, who was one of Jesse James’ worst enemies and would kill him later in life, was also known to stay at the hotel.

The hotel was then renamed the St. James Hotel and although it still plays host to many visitors today, it stood for awhile in bad need of repair. The beginning of the hotel’s decline was when the Santa Fe Trail stopped being used due to the railroad that was put in. This actually brought more people to the area but those people found the gold and the supply ran out, forcing those in search of gold to other parts of the West.

Henry Lambert died in 1926 and his wife followed in 1926. After that, the hotel was left abandoned for long durations of time when it wasn’t the property of the many different owners that tried to make something of the place. In 1985, the St. James Hotel went back to being the elegant accommodations it once was with a great deal of renovation work.

The St. James Hotel still operates today and the guests, staff, and owners all attest to the fact that the hotel experiences its fair share of paranormal activity. And the place is quite famous for this sort of activity. It has been used as a story for Unsolved Mysteries as well as A Current Affair.

The second floor seems to be the most popular place for spirits to hang out. The floor is filled with cold spots and you can usually smell cigar smoke in the hallways, even though smoking has not been allowed inside the hotel for decades. One of the former owners states that she was looking into a mirror that hangs above the bar and saw a friendly-faced cowboy standing behind her.

Room 18 is a particularly scary part of the hotel and for this reason, no one is allowed to even enter it, never mind sleep in there. This particular room of the hotel is the residence for the very angry ghost of James Wright. Wright was shot in the hotel after he earned himself many winnings in a poker game. He made it back to his room, Room 18, but it was there that he bled to death. One owner reported that she had been pushed down while she was in the room and another would often see an orange ball of light appear in the corner. She also said that the light seemed to be “angry.” It’s been said that during the time that the room was still rented out to visitors, many deaths that seem to have no explanation have occurred there.

A few doors over in Room 17 is where the original owner’s wife, Mary Elizabeth, died. One can often smell her perfume that has a faint rose aroma in the room and it’s also believed that she stays around to protect the hotel. If the window is open in the room, you can sometimes hear a persistent tapping that will not stop until the window has been shut.

Another spirit that resides at the hotel is known to be quite the prankster. He has earned himself the nickname of “Little Imp” due to his small stature. He likes to have particular fun with the people who work at the hotel. He once placed a knife between two owners who were standing in the kitchen and he’s most famous for taking objects and placing them in a spot where they absolutely don’t belong.

Among these specific ghosts, there is other paranormal activity as well. Lights flickering on and off, the front desk’s equipment being very unpredictable as to when it will work, feelings of being watched, and most interestingly, any video equipment brought into the hotel will not work. Once taken off the grounds, it will work fine.

There’s no doubt that the St. James Hotel is still very haunted today, both with friendly and not-so-friendly spirits. The place has housed many visitors and with all the deaths that have occurred there, it would be strange if there weren’t at least a few ghosts still lingering around.

The St. James Hotel

St. James Hotel

St. James Hotel

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