Inyo Mountains - Cerro Gordo Mining Camp
American Hotel
American Hotel

Said to be the oldest hotel in California east of the Sierra, the American Hotel was erected in 1871 by an Englishman named John Simpson and his wife. An advertisement for this new centerpiece of the Cerro Gordo mining camp ran in the Inyo Register with a date of June 15, 1871.

The downstairs features a big bar, ornate dining room, kitchen and sitting rooms, while men working a shift in the mines could rent a bed in one of the dormitory rooms upstairs for 12 hours at a time.

American Hotel and view of Owens Lake
American Hotel and view of Owens Lake
American Hotel in 1991 before restoration
American Hotel in 1991 before restoration

Gordon House (rear), Crapo House (left), American Hotel (right)

The American Hotel is at right; next to it to the left is the Crapo House, and behind that is the Gordon House.


Front porch of the American Hotel

Front porch of the American Hotel


Ore Cart in front of Crapo House next to American Hotel (Friends of Cerro Gordo Collection)
Ore Cart in front of Crapo House next to American Hotel
(Friends of Cerro Gordo Collection

Front reception area of the American Hotel
Front reception area of the American Hotel

American Hotel bar and dinning room
American Hotel bar and dinning room

Dining room of the American Hotel
Dining room of the American Hotel
Restored American Hotel
Restored American Hotel

Crapo House (left), American Hotel (right)
Crapo House (left), American Hotel (right)

American Hotel
American Hotel

Crapo House, American Hotel, Hunter House (in rear) (Friends of Cerro Gordo Collection)
Crapo House, American Hotel, Hunter House (in rear) (Friends of Cerro Gordo Collection)

Front parlor of the American Hotel (the room immediately to the right off of the lobby), looking into the dining room

Front parlor of the American Hotel (the room immediately to the right off of the lobby), looking into the dining room


Bar and dining room of the American Hotel
Bar and dining room of the American Hotel

Bar of the American Hotel
Bar of the American Hotel

Another view of the bar inside the American Hotel
Another view of the bar inside the American Hotel
Behind the bar at the American Hotel
Behind the bar at the American Hotel
Painting behind the American Hotel Bar by Sylvia Winslow
Painting behind the American Hotel Bar by Sylvia Winslow

Behind the bar at the American Hotel
Behind the bar at the American Hotel

Pot-bellied stove (for warmth) in the dining room at the American Hotel

Pot-bellied stove (for warmth) in the dining room of the American Hotel. On the metal-tiled wall is a photograph of Jody Stewart Patterson, owner of Cerro Gordo from 1984 until her death in 2001


Cooking stove in the kitchen of the American Hotel
Cooking stove in the kitchen of the American Hotel

Wash room off the kitchen of the American Hotel
Wash room off the kitchen of the American Hotel

Original 1916 electrical wiring inside the American Hotel. That's the year electricity and telephones came to Cerro Gordo

Original 1916 electrical wiring inside the American Hotel. That's the year electricity and telephones came to Cerro Gordo

Dining room of the American Hotel
Dining room of the American Hotel

Detail of the woodwork in the dining room of the American Hotel
Detail of the woodwork in the dining room of the American Hotel

Card Room at the American Hotel

An argument over a card game at the American Hotel could easily lead to murder. Cerro Gordo of the 1870s was about as lawless as Los Angeles had been in the 1850s and '60s. On the wall at left is a replica of a wanted poster for Billy Crapo, who in 1892 committed the mining camp's last murder. Despite a $500 reward he was never apprehended


Kitchen of the American Hotel
Kitchen of the American Hotel

Butcher block in the kitchen of the American Hotel
Butcher block in the kitchen of the American Hotel

Ice box in the American Hotel
Ice box in the American Hotel