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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“You’re going to love this hotel! Great room, restaurant, and central to everything!”
“We love, love this place. When traveling from Missouri to West Texas to visit relatives we have stayed at the Midland Railroad Hotel a half a dozen times. It is so unique, but it feels like home. The staff have always been super helpful and attentive. They remember we have stayed there before, which felt very special. It is super clean. We also love the restaurant – best chicken fried steak I have ever ate.“
“This historic hotel is a hidden gem. We did not stay overnight so I cannot speak to the quality of the rooms however just walking through the place makes you feel like it could be 1910. We are at the bar/restaurant that is located in the basement. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal and loved the deserts even more. We all ordered drinks and they were made extremely well. I am often disappointed in cocktails at restaurants that I go to but not here. I would definitely recommend this place!“
“Loved this place! The staff was very friendly, the food was excellent, the rooms were clean and comfortable, and the town was charming.“
“Wonderful interesting destination. Fantastic food. Great service. Excellent locale for small meeting.“
“Rooms here are very comfy!! And they have free WiFi that actually worked. Bathroom clean and updated, nice beds… loved the stay!!! Would come again – this place also very sturdy and historic, it’s got a lot of charm!!! Awesome!! Oh and staff is really kind, lady at front desk helped us open the sofa into a bed and was very accommodating, really lovely people… it felt like home.Come stay here, it feels homey and not like every old chain hotel. Thanks so much for your hospitality and for a great stay and being our oasis during a bad storm, your kindness really meant a lot.“
“This was a return stay for our family and it was again a great place to stop on our long drive. The apartment was comfortable and the location was charming and very convenient. The breakfast at the hotel was also a great way to start off the morning. This has become our place to stay on our way through Kansas.”
“You can expect a great place to stay. There is an on site restaurant and outside patio. I was there on a Friday night and they had wonderful outside live music.”
“Wow! Stayed in 208, loved the big windows and bathroom. Staff was friendly and helpful. Quick drive to the lake! Clean and cool historic hotel. I’ve passed by this town several times traveling from Kansas City to Denver many times and never stopped here. I’ve been missing out! I’ll be back!”
“This historic hotel is quite charming. Check-in and out was easy, and the room was very clean. Staff at the front desk were helpful, and we appreciate that they’re pet-friendly, as we were traveling with our dog.”
“A lovely, historic hotel. Room was comfortable and clean. Restaurant downstairs was convenient and tasty. Would stay here again.”
“Very nice. Clean and good value. Easy access off of I70 and close to Wilson lake–which is a nice fishing spot. Grocery store walking distance from the hotel and bank next door. Nice small town atmosphere and several choices for food. Friendly town and Hotel staff are great.”
“Very clean and comfortable. Everything you need for a fishing trip to Wilson Lake! Loved the Old School and town. Very fun to explore. Thank You Melinda, we will be back next year!”
“A great place to stay when you’re tired of chain hotels. Beautifully restored.”
“The Midland Railroad Hotel is a historical gem on the plains of Central Kansas, between Salina and Hays. We were there for just 1 night, as we attended college graduation ceremonies in the area the next day. Our room was spotless, the staff was friendly and courteous, and we appreciated the extra info & communications regarding severe thunderstorms that rolled through the area the night we stayed. The police chief even stopped by the hotel to brief the front desk staff on what his department was doing regarding storm spotting (tornadoes were a very real possibility with the storms), and that he would call if guests needed to evacuate to the basement, etc. We did not eat at the restaurant in the basement of the property, but wished we had, as the menu listed some very tasty entrees. We hope to stay again sometime if we return to explore the area.”
“The Midland Railroad hotel was a perfect stop on our trip through Kansas. Melinda replied quickly to our request and accommodated our late check-in. The room was immaculate; clean, stylish, and incredibly efficient! Highly recommend!”
“This is a wonderful location and a fantastic experience! This hotel is a look at what hotels used to be like, (and should be again!)”
“We really enjoyed staying in this apartment. It was roomy and comfortable and quiet, and the continental breakfast was yummy. We will definitely keep these apartments in mind next time we are passing through.”
“Wilson was a great place to stay! Room was great! Everything was clean and breakfast was beautiful! Loved all the history there!”
“Always love staying here. Great people. Fun bar downstairs with a big whiskey and wine selection..”