Kansas historic hotels offer a look back in time for guests. Here are eight you can road trip to this summer.
More than a dozen historic hotels are located in Kansas, with many built in the early 1900s at the height of the railroad rush.
Over the past century, many of the state's historic hotels have changed ownership and some have temporarily closed. For some, community members stepped up, realizing the importance of these hotel's history not only to their town but also the state.
Historic preservation is a common theme among hotel owners, and many have gained a spot on the National Register for Historic Places.
Sara Fox, owner of Holton's Hotel Josephine, has made historic preservation a priority since the family purchased the building in 2020.
It is one of the reasons, Fox said, she decided to reach out to Kansas' historic hotel owners and create a Kansas Historic Hotel road trip.
The road trip features eight hotels across the state. Each has its own unique story.
"We are really looking to bring tourism back to our small communities as they are opening the door after COVID," Fox said. "We are really wanting to open the door and encourage people to come in and see the preservation efforts and see what's in rural America."
Fox said some of the historic hotels have restaurants, spas and boutiques. All are at different stages of preserving the building's history.
"It's an important part of our local economy because when they are staying in our community, they are shopping in our community and our boutiques," Fox said. They are going to the cafes and going to the casinos and checking out our parks."
Supporting historic hotels is also beneficial to Kansas' economy.
"We have always known this, but I think it was reinforced through the pandemic that our economy is dependent upon people traveling," said Bridgette Jobe, Kansas Tourism's director. "We need people to move from one location to another, to stay in hotels, eat at restaurants."
These hotels can help drive visitation and the positive experiences guests can have in not only small towns but large cities, Jobe said.
"What I have seen is these hotels help tell the story of a community and it helps preserve its character and personality," Jobe said. "Often when you stay in one of these historic hotels, it's telling the story of that community whether it's through the stories they tell as you are checking in or the photography they have hung up."
Below is a list of Kansas' historic hotels that have partnered for this road trip initiative.
Hotel Josephine, 501 Ohio Ave. in Holton, was constructed in 1890 by A.D Walker. The businessman named the hotel after his daughter.
The hotel has changed hands several times through the years. It was recently purchased by the Fox family, which has been working to restore the hotel.
The Oak Roots restaurant gives guests and community members a fine dining steakhouse experience.
The Courtland Hotel, 121 E. 1st St. in Fort Scott, opened in the early 1900s to accommodate the increasing traffic due to the railroads that ran through the town.
The hotel was originally constructed to accommodate a variety of businesses. The first floor had six storefronts and the upper levels housed lodging rooms and a tailor shop.
Through the years the hotel has changed ownership multiple times and in recent years, has been restored and modernized.
There are several local restaurants in Fort Scott, but guests can enjoy breakfast at The Courtland.
A full-service spa is also located within the hotel.
The Hotel at Old Town, 830 E. 1st, in Wichita, first opened in 1906 at a warehouse for Keen Kutter.
The former warehouse was transformed in the late 1990s into a hotel and Keen Kutter items collected through the years are still on display at the hotel.
The Grand Central Hotel, 215 Broadway, in Cottonwood Falls opened in 1884 as the Central House.
It wasn't until 1995 that the American and Cottonwood Falls Hotel joined to become the Grand Central Hotel.
The hotel is quaint with only ten rooms that offer a western flair.
The Grand Grill restaurant located within the hotel offers a fine dining experience for its guests.
The Weaver Hotel, 126 S. Kansas St., in Waterville has long been a landmark in the small town.
The hotel was constructed in 1905 and served as a hub for passengers waiting for their train. It also was a convenient location for those attending shows at the Opera House across the street.
The hotel was closed for several years until the Waterville Preservation Society purchased the building in an effort to restore and preserve the town's history.
The Midland Railroad Hotel, 414 26th St. in Wilson, was constructed in 1899 and is considered one of the Midwest's premier hotels.
A fire in 1902 gutted the elegant hotel, and it was later restored and reopened. The hotel remained a fine and modern-day facility.
The hotel can be seen in the 1973 film "Paper Moon."
The Midland Railroad Hotel closed in 1978 for 18 years until the Wilson Foundation purchased the building.
A $3.2 million renovation began and the hotel reopened in 2003.
The hotel now features the Sample Room Tavern restaurant and a spa.
The Elgin Hotel, 115 N. 3rd, in Marion was built in 1886 by W.W. Case and L.L. Case.
The brothers built the hotel as a way to help the town stimulate an economic boom and attract more visitors.
The hotel remained operational until 1967 when its owner left. The building fell into disrepair and talks of tearing the hotel down began.
The building was purchased for $3,000 in 1974 by Alfred Murnahan, Reg Larson and Tommy Wolfe who planned to demolish the building and use the stone for a church. Their funds fell through.
Van Anderson purchased the building in 1976 and spent $400,000 renovating the hotel into an apartment house.
The hotel changed hands a couple more times, during which it was restored back to a hotel in 2006.
The Parlour 1886 restaurant is located within the hotel.
The Wolf Hotel, 1 N. Main St. in Ellinwood, was built in 1894 as an addition to the Delmonico Hotel.
The hotel functioned in the early 1980s as an antique store until it was bought in 2013 and restored to its original state.
Underground tunnels ran underneath the building, and guests can take guided tours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
A period-style lunch is offered on Sundays.