In 1872 Henry Lambert opened the hotel with raving recommendations from President Ulysses S. Grant. Lambert was a famous french chef who had served as a personal cook for 2 U.S Presidents the first being Abraham Lincoln, the second Ulysses S. Grant. Originally the hotel was named Lambert’s Inn it had a saloon, restaurant and 43 rooms. Being it was built in a time where law in the area did not yet exist the saloon quickly gained a reputation as a place of violence. 26 men were said to be shot and killed within the walls of this tavern. The Lambert Inn was very popular with the cowboys and miners travelling the Santa Fe Trail. In 1880 the Inn became so popular that Lambert decided to add guest rooms. Through all the violence the hotel was said to be the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi.
Many Historical Icons of the Old West are known to have stayed and fought in these walls. Doc Holliday, Wyatt and Morgan Earp along with their wives, Jesse James who stayed many times and frequented room 14, Bob Ford, Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Clay Alison, and Zane Grey. There are claims that Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley actually met at this hotel. When the roof of the Inn was replaced in 1901, Lambert’s sons found more than 400 bullet holes embedded 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.” When the railroad came through. Santa Fe Trail died out. So did many of the business this once booming hotel had.