Then and Now:
Allis Hotel site is now
Then: When the Allis Hotel was completed in 1930, its 17 stories made
it the tallest building in Kansas.
With a few loud bangs and a gigantic dust cloud, explosives reduced the Allis
Hotel to a pile of rubble. That was Sunday morning, Dec. 23, 1996.
On the eighth anniversary of the event, there will be regrets and recollections,
but no celebrations. There will be thoughts of what might have been, if ...
At least, the site of the Allis Hotel is greenspace and it didn’t become just
another downtown asphalt parking lot.
When the Allis Hotel was completed in 1930, its 17 stories made it the tallest
building in Kansas, and it remained so for many years. The Allis’s art deco
design was patterned after New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria, and the Allis was
considered Kansas’s finest hotel.
After closing in 1984, the structure deteriorated and was vandalized. By the
early 1990s, its preservation was the subject of controversy. To some, the
structure was Wichita’s tallest eyesore, and they nicknamed it “Kansas’s Largest
Pigeon Coop.” To others, it was “The Grand Old Lady of Broadway” and merited
Most members of HPA worked hard in an attempt to save it. There were editorials,
fund raisers, law suits, rallies, and City Council hearings.
Nevertheless, in September 1996 the City Council, in a divided vote, elected to
implode the hotel. Last minute efforts to stop demolition failed, and the fate
of the Allis was sealed.
So, we have a pretty patch of greenspace.
NOW: The site of the Allis Hotel is greenspace in downtown Wichita
(Photo credit: D&V Churchman, 2004)