Originally built in 1899 by Philadelphia transplant Wilke Power as the Power Hotel, the Midland Railroad Hotel was once considered among the premier hotels in the Midwest. A magnificent, limestone building rising three stories high and comprising 28 elegant rooms—and lit by the day’s latest method, acetylene gas—it was popular stop along the Union Pacific Railroad between Kansas City and Denver. Businessmen stopped there so often to show their wares, in fact, that the hotel’s basement became known as the Sample Room (and still is today.
After a November 1902 fire gutted the hotel, it was restored and reopened as the Midland Railroad Hotel. Rebuilt with modern heating, it maintained its status through the roaring 1920s as one of the finest, modern-day hotels in the region.
Once the Great Depression hit, the hotel suffered with the rest of America, making ends meet by raising chickens on the third floor to serve to dinner guests. Over the next several decades, the Midland continued to operate, even serving as a backdrop for many scenes in the 1973 film “Paper Moon,” starring Ryan O’Neal and daughter Tatum.
The Midland’s previous owners, John and Agnes Hill, closed the hotel in 1978 after 18 years in business. Then in 1997, the Wilson Foundation purchased the historic building for $35,000, launching six-year, $3.2 million renovation, earning the organization a Kansas Preservation Award for its painstaking restoration.
The Midland Railroad reopened in 2003 to its 1920s glory and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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“We loved the historic Midland Railroad Hotel! I highly recommend taking a short detour off of I-70 to stay at this delightful hotel. The Midland has been authentically restored to the grandeur of the 1900s. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. The Sample Room Tavern and restaurant served a yummy chicken fried chicken special the night we were there. Although I am very nostalgic about train whistles, church bells, and old-fashioned meal sirens, I would recommend ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. Don’t miss this precious gem in the middle of Kansas!”
“This is such a historic treasure, super clean, authentic arts and crafts style, very inviting ambiance, great staff, and the onsite bar and restaurant really delivered an enjoyable experience. We will look for reasons to return! Also, some fun shopping in the neighborhood boutiques.”
“Really wonderful and charming place to stay! The building is beautiful and the restaurant is great. Only thing to note is that it is right by the train tracks so there was some train noise in the morning, but that’s in the name! Would definitely recommend!”
“The Midland Railroad Hotel is a true old West hotel we enjoyed our stay the restaurant was authentic Western affair we enjoyed a walk around the town after dinner and a nice Continental breakfast a good value on the high plains and I-70 corridor”
“What a cool spot! The front desk checked us in seamlessly and although we didn’t arrive until about 8:45 we still had time to order a quick bite from the downstairs bar/restaurant and the two guys running it were really friendly about it. We were traveling/moving across the country and had our cat with us which is already stressful – so I was relieved to find this place which made it nice and easy!”
“Great little apartment. Very clean and everything was like new. ”
“This was so wonderful! I will be back if I come thru Kansas! A very special unexpected treat. Amazing room, high ceilings, old charm, quaint town, beautiful sunset, great breakfast, awesome bathroom and bed. Great light. Thank you!”
“Midland really was a hidden gem and a welcome surprise. Don’t go to Wilson for the nightlife but go for the nice people and unique places like Midland. We loved the bar downstairs and the patio out back. ”
“Easy hotel to stay in. Bedrooms were unique which I liked. Dinner and drinks in the basement was a nice edition since there wasn’t anything else open and we had been driving all day. ”
“Awesome place to stay! The communication was super fast and easy check in! Definitely stay here if you are coming through, the building is old and historic and the people are friendly! ”
“What a hidden gem. This hotel should get extra stars well beyond 5 for 5 on value, uniqueness, cleanliness, and service. We frequently travel between the Midwest and Colorado along I-70 and stay at the usual Hampton Inn, etc. We were looking for something more unique and this hotel on the National Register of Historic Places delivers. For 1/2 the price of the Hays Hampton Inn it is certainly a far better option. Adding to the ambiance, there is a cool on site restaurant and bar. A continental breakfast is included. We enjoyed all that and would recommend. After a long day of driving, we also enjoyed a stroll around town and seeing sites about Wilson’s Czechoslovakian history. An added bonus: scenes from the classic movie Paper Moon were filmed here. Who knew? We will come back to to the Midland the next time we hit the road along I-70. ”
“Super cute historic hotel! The downstairs restaurant and bar is great along with the relaxing back patio. Extra comfy beds. Dogs are more than welcome which is a huge plus as well. Authentic Czech pastries from the local bakery are the icing on the cake! We will be back again next year :)”
“Excellent accommodations in an amazingly well restored building that Carrie’s all the charm of a century ago but with the all the conveniences of modern hotels. Also, make sure to try the adjoining restaurant. The atmosphere and food are excellent and our waiter did a very good job attending to our table.”
“Loved the place. Very clean, beautiful flower garden in the back, historic touches. Very friendly staff!”