|Year(s) Listed: • 1993 • 1997 • 1999|
|City/Town: • Garden City|
|Location Class: • Hotel/Motel|
|Built: 1889 | Abandoned: 1977|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (April 26, 1972)|
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered|
|Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance|
Photo by: By Ammodramus – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39265993
Construction began on the Windsor in 1887. Its chief builder was John A. Stevens, a former buffalo hunter and wild horse wrangler. He was backed by the building and architecture firm Stevens and Thompson and only decided to build when he saw another of Garden City’s famous sons (and Stevens’s rival) Buffalo Jones had decided to build a hotel.
Construction on what would become the Windsor Hotel ran almost immediately over budget. Though most of the builders and material were locally sourced, the building was large, containing 126 rooms, and it was also opulent, decked out with furniture and kitchen appliances which cost over $35,000 ($879,000 in today’s money).
Still, construction was completed in 1889 and the Windsor officially opened in November of that year, with a huge public gathering which involved tours of the hotel and a party in the parlors complete with music and food.
The building stood sadly derelict for nearly two decades until, in 1996, it was determined that the building was still structurally sound and worthy of renovation. It was then purchased by a group of locals called the Finney County Preservation Alliance, and they hold the keys to the hotel to this day.
The group is responsible for obtaining grants and raising money to help restore the hotel, and progress, especially recently, seems promising. The hotel now offers tours and hosts frequent benefit events to raise funds.