Originally built in 1872, the historic hotel was first operated by L.G. Murphy and known as "Murphy's Mess". Gradually it became known by the name of its cook, Sam Wortley. It provided meals and lodging for the men who were at work building Murphy's "Big Store", the imposing two-story adobe building across the street which later became the Lincoln County Courthouse. The hostelry also served as headquarters for Colonel Dudley and his staff during the famous "Five-day Battle" of the Lincoln County War in 1878. During terms of court, it was occupied by judges and lawyers, law men and other official visitors. In fact, it was here that Deputy Marshal Robert Olinger was having lunch on April 28, 1881, the day that his famous prisoner, Billy the Kid, made his escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse. Having heard the gunshot from the jail, Olinger quickly left the hotel to check on his prisoner, and was killed by Billy the Kid as he entered the side yard of the Court House. Famous sheriff Pat Garrett was the owner of the Wortley Hotel when he was immortalized as the man who killed Billy the Kid.
Pictures and information were provide by Wortley Hotel
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