Greenwood Hotel: Part 3—Restoration

Greenwood Hotel: Part 3—Restoration

Greenwood Hotel: Part 3—Restoration
Main Street, Eureka

The 1926 remodel was the high point of the Greenwood Hotel’s history. Although it continued to thrive as a gathering place for the town of Eureka, life at the hotel took on a more leisurely pace.

This was noted by Roy Wall, writer for the Wichita Beacon, in 1952:

In the half-lighted lobby, the buzzing conversation runs to range grass and cattle, fishing, and quail hunting, while the evening breeze drifts in from the hills to push around the smell of tobacco smoke, sizzling meat from the coffee shop just beyond the swinging doors, and the musty [odors] from the long, dark hallway. When the summer sun hammers hard and the heat waves dance over the bluestem pastures, the Greenwood lobby empties onto the shady veranda, where the Whittle and Argue convenes until snow flies again. The sun never finds the long bench where every issue, from politics to bird-dogs, from huge cattle deals to the best bass lures, run the gauntlet of opinion.

Several times the hotel changed hands. But the sale that concerns us most here is the auction that was held on August 11, 1979.

Three women happened to be at that auction: Mrs. Ralph Marlin, Mrs. T.W. McCarthy, and Mrs. George Jackson. While watching the hotel furniture being sold, they overheard a remark made by one of the bidders. He intended to buy the Greenwood Hotel and raze it.

Suddenly, the three women realized that the historic structure was in danger. They consulted hastily and decided to come to the rescue. Pooling their resources, they entered the bidding and won the Greenwood Hotel for $31,500.

The women fully intended to restore the grand old building, but were never able. Storms came and blew off part of the the roof. Further damage occurred in the forms of rain, pigeons, and flooding from a hand-dug well later discovered in the basement.

Greenwood HotelBut the citizens of Eureka were not yet ready to part with their historic hotel. In 2002, the Greenwood Preservation Society was formed. Members rushed to work to fix the roof and begin the long cleanup process. In 2006, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, earning more attention and several grants.

Work is still ongoing, but the Greenwood Hotel is looking better than ever. Although none of the rooms are open at the time of this writing, the hotel has been used for quite a few events since renovation began, and office space is now available on the main floor. The future is bright once more for this beautiful piece of history.

 

Helpful Resource

National Register of Historic Places Registration Form
The NRHP nomination accepted in 2006, along with more historical information and a detailed description of the building in the early phases of restoration.