The History of the Greenwood
I was built in 1883 and have had many characters walk through my doors since that opening day in October. Wildcatter, cattle barons, rustlers, ramblers, merchants and more. I have been home to travelers as a major transportation hub and retailers as a place of commerce. Heck, I was even home to pigeons before the Greenwood Preservation Society rescued me and began restoring me back to my glory days.
“The Grand Princess of the Prairie”
“The Center of Everything”
An estimated $1,000,000,000 (BILLION) in cattle were traded in its lobby
Million dollar oil deals were completed within the walls
Bus depot for nearly 40 years
Cattle, Oil and Transportation shaped America
Jess Willard – Heavyweight Boxing Champ
Fun fact: Willard consumed a dozen eggs and two full slices of ham for breakfast
Roger Babson – Economist and founder of Babson College
Visited while exploring his idea to found Eureka’s Utopia College
Albert Frazier begins a transfer business.
A stage line was in operation by James A. McCoy. A traveler could leave Eureka at 6:00 a.m. and arrive in Emporia by 5:00 p.m. or journey to El Dorado in only six hours.
The Kansas City, Emporia and Southern Railway (The Santa Fe) was the first railroad to serve Eureka and was extended south to Howard.
Albert Frazier with his “hack”—which would in later years sport the words “Greenwood Hotel”—met the first train. He carried travelers to their destinations in his horse-drawn bus for more than 50 years. Upon his death in 1927, his partner and son, Arthur William Frazier continued the horse drawn freight delivery and taxi service. Arthur made the transition from the horse-drawn omnibus to the motorized version and continued meeting trains, and carrying mail and passengers to and from the depots until in the 1960s.
Besides bringing people to the area, the opening of the Santa Fe railroad in 1879 was crucial to the development of the grazing-leasing arrangements with Texan cattle owners, and served as the predecessor to the custom grazing for short season grass a practice that many area ranchers continue to exercise.
The St. Louis, Ft. Scott and Wichita Railway (known now by most as the Missouri Pacific reached Eureka. The “Mo-Pac” Depot was located on Main Street exactly 6 blocks to the north of the soon-to-be-built Greenwood Hotel.
The Greenwood Hotel is completed at a cost of $23,000 by the Eureka Hotel Company, a stock company of prominent early settlers. Charles W. Squires of Emporia served as the architect.
A grand opening ball was held with a special train bringing guests
The Hotel was a gathering place for cattlemen and had a reputation for being a small livestock exchange. A reporter from the Kansas City Star observes the following about the prosperous cattle industry in the county:
“The lobby of Eureka’s largest hotel is a sort of small livestock exchange. There are the same men with broad-brimmed hats and whips that the visitor sees in Kansas City’s exchange building in the first floor’s corridors. Always they are “talking cattle.” Ask for proof as to how powerful they are, and the evidence is that when a petition of the Eureka cattlemen for a new railway station went to officials of the Missouri Pacific, work on that station began in less than two weeks. And the Missouri Pacific, it is believed, is not a railroad that is building new depots everywhere that there is a request for one.”
1916, Oil strike...
…in Greenwood County near Virgil. Oil production in the county was more than 4,500 barrels a day.
The most extensive renovation took place at the Greenwood Hotel by H.D. Hover, adding twelve rooms on the east side, converting the pool hall into a café to be managed by H.J. Nickle, and converting the dining room into a pool hall. A new sign, twelve feet in height, was put into place on the Main Street front at the third floor level. The exterior of the building was given a Spanish look with tiled roof and stucco applied to the exterior walls. The application of the stucco and the tile represents the Spanish Revitalization that vastly swept our country during the 1920s. The cost of the remodel was $68,000.
Cattlemen's Day tradition is born
A cattlemen’s dinner was held to mark the opening of the newly remodeled Greenwood Hotel with a special train running from Kansas City for the event and a parade. This celebration became the annual event, Greenwood County Cattlemen’s Day.
The bus terminal was officially moved to the Greenwood Hotel.
The upper floors were closed.
Owners Richard and Becky Potts sold the Greenwood to Mrs. Ralph Marlin, T.W. McCarthy and Mrs. George Jackson for $31,500.
The Greenwood Preservation Society (GWPS) was formed and began the process to acquire ownership and fund the restoration process.
Accel Construction LLC of Wichita was hired as general contractor and restoration of the exterior, basement and first floor project began.
The Greenwood operates as a 501c3 by volunteers of the Greenwood Preservation Society.
History of the Hotel Greenwood – Compiled by Helen Bradford
Various Eureka Herald Newspaper Articles from 1883 to 1979
The History of Greenwood County – Volume I
The History of Greenwood County – Volume II
The Red Tile Style – American’s Spanish Revival Architecture