Growing up in Kansas, I have come to realize how underappreciated small-town USA is. In regards to Kansas, many people think all they are going find here is flat land and few tornadoes. However, Kansas holds many charming towns, rich histories, and broad horizons. Not to mention the best sunsets in the world. One of my favorite history rich places is located in the heart of Wilson, Kansas: The Midland Railroad Hotel. With it’s authentic and old fashioned allure, the Midland Railroad Hotel is a must when traveling through Kansas.
Originally named the Hotel Power, the Midland was built in 1899. Built by W.B. Power, the hotel quickly became a famous stop on the Union Pacific Railroad for those traveling in between Kansas City and Denver. Businessmen would stop at the hotel to try and sell their goods to travelers, making the Midland a hot spot for commerce in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, only 3 years later, the hotel was destroyed by a fire.
However, after a group of citizens met with the mayor of Wilson at the time, it was decided that the hotel would be rebuilt…and the rest is history. It was then renamed the Midland Hotel. The hotel had continued to thrive through it’s different owners over the years and was known as one of the most luxurious hotels to stop at along the railroad in the heart of the Great Plains. The hotel thrived through the Great Depression and eventually gained even more popularity when the U.S. Highway 40 was constructed. The hotel was even featured in the movie Paper Moon, starring Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. As the hotel persevered, it was eventually closed in 1988, until it was later restored and reopened in 2003. Since then it has been under different owners, but the hotel has never been better and is booming with business. In 2011, the name was changed to the Midland Railroad Hotel.
The hotel is equipped with 28 guest rooms that are furnished with old-style Mission furniture that was custom built for the hotel when it was restored the second time. Guests are greeted to clean, unique, and comfortable rooms that make them feel right at home. In the mornings, guests are treated to a complimentary European style breakfast that includes fresh fruit, homemade oatmeal, a selection of local cheeses and meats, and a variety of breads and pastries.
On site, there is the Drummer’s Dining Hall and Sample Room Tavern. The Drummer’s Dining Hall is considered the restaurant, but currently is only open for special events, making it the perfect place to have a conference, wedding, or private party. The Sample Room Tavern is the bar located in the basement. The Sample Room is a great atmosphere for the whole family. With a full menu and bar, the tavern creates an environment that is not easily found in any small town making it a one of a kind stop for those traveling along the highway.
The hotel’s parlor and outside patio allow for guests to have a social area to connect with each other and locals.
Wines and Bourbons
Another great perk of the Sample Room Tavern is the select list of wines and bourbons that are offered. The wine list includes wines that are found on an international spectrum; making it one of the best (in my honest opinion) in the region. The wine list is organized by New and Old World wines. One of my favorites is the William Cole Carmenere, made from a grape that is only found in Chile. The selection of bourbon includes a variety of flavors that come from different regions all over the world and that have been aged differently in regards to time length and style. Don’t hesitate to check out their website from time to time as they currently put on many events, such as wine and bourbon dinners each season. William Cole’s Carmenere-my favorite wine that the Midland offers.
Redefining Local Business Support
Those that have lived in smaller towns and cities know how vital local business support really is to a community. Local business is not only what creates revenue, but it is what keeps people coming back and showing their support. One of my favorite parts about the Midland Railroad Hotel is the support that the current management shows towards small business. Local honey from Wilson is available for purchase through the front desk. Everyday in the dining hall and parlor, one will find artwork made by local artists and painters. As stated before, the breakfast includes local meats and cheeses made at the local grocery store. Local farmers bring in fresh produce from time to time to be served during breakfast and dinner.
The Midland Railroad Hotel is featured on the National Register of Historic Places, The Kansas Historic Register, and won the 2003 Kansas Preservation Alliance Award for Excellence. Stepping in the Midland is like taking a step back in time. Filled with historic culture and a holistic atmosphere, there is something at this establishment that can be appreciated by every member of the family. If you find yourself traveling through, or enjoy historical landmarks, make sure the Midland is added to your to-do list; you won’t regret it.
For more specific information on the hotel and prices, please visit the Midland Railroad Hotel website. Readers can find the cover photo for this post on the hotel’s website.
Planning a road trip through Kansas? Check out these other top sights.