In 2013, Jay Hartz, a 35-year veteran of the hospitality business, decided to go all in and purchase his own hotel. So he chose to refurbish the legendary Perry Hotel, giving each of the 40 rooms its own unique theme, adding original art from 30 different artists honoring the great native sons of Iowa, and adding a spa, because people need a place to get their hair did. Oh, also: there’s A BOWLING ALLEY.
The current Eldridge dates back to 1925 which, by most standards, is plenty old. But the corner’s history goes much farther back with the first hotel on this spot, named the Free State Hotel, opening in 1855 -- before Kansas was even a state -- as temporary housing for settlers. It only lasted a year before it was burned down; Colonel Shalor Eldridge rebuilt a hotel on the spot and this one, too, burned down. The next rendition was torn down in 1925 and rebuilt and THIS, friends, is the all-suite, flame-retardent hotel you can come stay in. Despite a stint as apartments and a total renovation in the Aughts, the history is still rich: namely in the form of Colonel Eldridge’s ghost, who is said to be particularly fond of Room 506 and fiddling with the elevators.