The History of “The Wortley”

“This sturdy old hotel’s story began in the 19th century, when sheriff Pat Garrett was a co-owner. It’s one of a handful of old buildings in the tiny mountain town of Lincoln, all so flawlessly restored that it’s easy to sit back in your chair and imagine the wild shoot-outs that occurred on the main (and only) drag. Up the street to the right is the jail from which baby-faced outlaw Billy the Kid made a dramatic break in 1881.”

– www.nmhistoricsites.org

The Wortley Hotel holds the distinction of being at the heart of the Lincoln County War and the historical ‘Billy the Kid legend’. It became a center of occupation as the Regulators battled The House, its hired guns (‘The Boys’) and finally, the U.S. Army.

Located opposite the courthouse, the Wortley began serving meals and providing overnight accommodations to travelers, judges, lawyers, lawmen and in 1874. 

On April 1, 1878, Sheriff William Brady had breakfast at the Wortley shortly before being shot 11 times by various Regulators as he and three deputies made their morning rounds walking down Lincoln’s single street.

In 1881, prior to killing Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett purchased the Wortley for $275.

A few aside notations to help summarize a stay at the Wortley…

  • No guests gunned down in over 135 Years.
  • While he didn’t pay his bill and we don’t know what he ordered for lunch, Deputy Bob Ollinger died well fed.
  • The food is far better these days as we no longer butcher and prepare gila monsters, rattle snakes, buffalo or bear.
  • Pat Garrett did sleep here but George Washington didn’t and we’re not sure about Billy the Kid.
  • If you enjoy nightlife, bright lights, hustle & bustle and fast living, we don't have any of that here.
  • Mountain air (a medically proven slightly addictive aid to sleep) is thrown in for free.
  • If you enjoy clean air, rocking on the front porch, pitching horseshoes, listening to the quiet, rubbing elbows with colorful characters and exploring New Mexico, have we a room and seat at the table for you. Come and stay awhile.
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