Built in 1906, the four-story Hotel at Old Town once served as a busy warehouse facility for the highly successful Keen Kutter brand of tools, silverware, dishes and sporting goods.
Designed by the firm of Mauran, Russell and Garden, the warehouse employed state-of-the-art construction and was known as not only the strongest building in Wichita, but the largest warehouse in the world. The building was also identical in design to the famous Cupples Building located in St. Louis.
The Keen Kutter warehouse was considered to be virtually fireproof with watertight floors and corbled walls that slowed air currents. Additionally, a cupola on the roof housed 20,000 gallons of water, ready to douse any fire on the premises.
Nearly a century later, local hotelier Jack DeBoer, founder of the Residence Inn and other all-suite hotels, purchased the Keen Kutter warehouse with the idea of creating a truly unique hospitality experience. What others saw as a timeworn structure, DeBoer saw as a blank canvas for something wonderful. So he closely managed a major renovation and restoration of the warehouse. Thanks to DeBoer’s vision, the Hotel at Old Town opened for business in 1999, giving the Keen Kutter building a second life.
In celebration of its illustrious history, the Hotel at Old Town conducted a major search for Keen Kutter brand items, which resulted in the largest authentic collection ever assembled. These items are displayed on each floor in museum-quality cases adjacent to magnificent photos of early Wichita. The collection serves as a lasting tribute to the hotel’s history.
What was once the site of bustling industry and manufacturing is now the Hotel at Old Town, where the best service, amenities and facilities await discerning travelers in a truly unique setting.