The Evolution and History of The Hotel at Old Town Wichita
Built in 1906, the four-story Hotel at Old Town Wichita 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 also 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 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, and 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 Wichita, where the best service, amenities, and
facilities await discerning travelers in a truly unique setting.