ELLINWOOD — The historic Ellinwood Wolf Hotel has a new owner, and great plans are in place to renovate and reinvent the hotel. Christopher McCord, 26, of Ellinwood plans to return the building to its roots as a hotel.
Over the years, the hotel has held a bank, a restaurant, a library and a wholesaler for products for downtown merchants in addition to providing rest for the weary.
The history of Ellinwood is written on the walls of this old building, with stories of the railroad, a ghost here and there, of celebrations, births and deaths and new awakenings. It has withstood storms, torrential rains and high winds and the blizzards of the state that Kansans call home.
Twenty-six-year-old McCord has great plans for this landmark. "I plan to restore the hotel upstairs and rent out the main floor for events," he said.
Some portions of the huge building have fallen into to disrepair. One of the apartment suites on the second story has not been maintained and needs full renovation, as well as some of the rooms of the hotel. The hotel was once nearly twice its current size, but a portion was torn down to make room for the parking lot of a nearby business.
When the renovations are done, McCord wants to host tourists and long term stayers. He is also considering offering tunnel tours, pairing with those that already offer them.
Already one of the basement rooms will become home to a photography studio.
McCord wants to turn the building into all things Ellinwood. "I would like pictures of the inside of the building," he said.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, listed in 2002.
In addition to taking on this huge project, Chris works five jobs. He works as a local hospital in Medical Records, at the airport as a service agent, Sunflower Diversified as staff, property manager and has waited tables at John Henry's.
Born and raised in Ellinwood, the young man purchased the hotel to preserve the history of Ellinwood and to preserve the beautiful hotel. He would like to see sponsors for specific rooms and some financial assistance. While he is not a non-profit business, he plans to turn any profits back into the hotel for the renovations and modernizations. McCord took possession of the building at the end of May.
The building needs cleaning, paint stripped, wallpaper stripped, carpet pulled, floors refinished, and modernization, but appears to be in sound structural shape, from the tin ceilings to hard wood floors.
The long-term dream is to have the hotel back up and running, and consider having a restaurant and bar.
"It was a leap of faith for Ellinwood," he said.