California Ghost Town

California Ghost Town

American Hotel

As the oldest hotel in California, east of the Sierra's, the American Hotel was on its last legs, before our restorative reuse work began in 1991. Originally constructed in 1871, an enterprising Englishman named John Simpson was it's first owner. Electricity didn't reach the hotel for another 45 years. Wild mining camp stories abound around the old structure, from it's earliest days, to the present.




The American Hotel survived year after year of quakes, gale force winds, deep snows and black ice, fire and vandalism. It's been shot at and hit! We have no confessions, but have a lot of theories.

Today, with our well equipped country kitchen we can feed our guests according to their tastes, as long as it's meat and potatoes. Special orders don't upset us. Contact us and let us know what you have in mind. We can work it out. We specialize in groups sized from eight to thirty.It's probably one of the best loved buildings in the west. Standing silently in its simplicity, it walls groan with the weight of resplendent stories that ache to be heard by modern pilgrims.

Sorry, no overnight accommodations are available in the hotel, however, hundreds of guests have enjoyed being seated in the hotel dining room and feasting on some of the best cooking around.

As with the other Cerro Gordo facilities, many of our activities are controlled by the weather, especially our water systems. When hard freezes become the nighttime norm, we close down the hotel and wait for the spring thaw. Generally that means after Thanksgiving, late in November and Memorial Day weekend, in mid-may. On occasion, the weather will give us a break and we can squeeze a bit more fun inwithout damaging the systems too badly.

Our Sarsaparilla Saloon will accommodate a whole line of thirsty prospectors and their companions (sorry no burros). The saloons specialty is Cerro Gordo Company's Root Beer, custom bottled by the Indian Wells Brewing Company, at the same spring where the mules drank in the 1870's. We believe you'll find that our gourmet root beer's quality will rival that of any micro brewery in the U.S. Besides, proceeds from the sale of our root beer go towards the restorative-reuse of Cerro Gordo.

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