The old Western town “Cimarron” means “Wild and unruly” in Spanish. Travelers can take a step back in time and learn the history of 1800’s Cimarron with tales about the New Mexico Territory and the Colfax County War. Hear about ruthless outlaws such as Black Jack Ketchum, and lawman Clay Allison who lived and breathed in the old west. Enjoy a enchanting evening stroll along the unpaved streets that lead you to many of Cimarron's historic sites and buildings. Your guide, Jared Chatterley, is a historic storyteller who has incorporated legends and lore of Cimarron with unexplained phenomena found along the old Santé Fe Trail.
Along these pathways guests will visit the site of the old plaza and well. The well was dug in 1871 and used by freighters hauling goods from the Kansas Territory to Fort Union. The plaza once served as an overnight campground for travelers. You can almost imagine the energies left behind by hopeful adventurers traveling to a new way of life in the west.
Nearby is a small family grave site containing the burials of four year old Verenisa and her grandmother Pabla Beaubien. And farther down the paths you will find the former newspaper office for the Cimarron News and Press. Dr. R H Longwill was accused in court of conspiring to kill Rev F J Tolby. Clay Allison and his posse chased Longwill all the back to Fort Union. He never returned back to Cimarron.
Davy Crocket (the grandson of the legendary Davy Crockett) was shot and killed right out front of the old Schwenk’s Hall. He was buried in the Cimarron Cemetery. Our guide, Jared, explained that Crocket’s father came to town and was not satisfied with the wooden cross marking young Crocket’s grave site. He threw out the wooden marker and promised to come back to Cimarron with a proper tombstone. He never returned and now the actual burial site of Davy Crocket remains a mystery.
One of the favorite stops on Legends by Lantern Light Tour was at the old Jail. The structure was built in 1872 and was still in used until the early 1960’s. It is said to be quite haunted and no visitor has been able to make it through an entire night within the thick stone walls. Sitting on a bunk in the gloomy dark confining walls, guests have felt the presence of poor souls still living out their sentences. A quick EVP session was held by the gals on the tour to see if an outlaw of the past had a message for the visitors of the present.
And don’t forget the historic St. James Hotel constructed in 1872. It is a “who’s who” with past guests such as Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, the Earp’s, and other legends living on the wild side during the days of the New Mexico Territory. There have been at least 26 documented shootings in the St. James Saloon and the ceiling in the bar is full of bullet holes to prove just how tough old Cimarron was back in western history.
The next time you are traveling through northeastern New Mexico to get in touch with your inner quest for the old west, be sure to book a tour with Legends by Lantern Light Tour in Cimarron. Jared Chatterley will be happy to saddle up with you in the lobby of the St. James Hotel. Just listen for the jingle of the spurs on his boots!
Legends by Lantern Light Tour
For Group Tours throughout the year:
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (575) 445-8373
$8 per person
Children 5 and under are free.
Sorry, no credit cards.
Tours depart from the St. James Hotel on Highway 21.
Cimarron Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 604
Cimarron, NM 87714