Sunday, June 15, 2014
701 Massachusetts St.
The Eldridge is no stranger to rising from the ashes, most famously having been burned to the ground during William Quantrill’s infamous raid on Lawrence in 1863. The modern day, however, has seen the hotel prosper: the 48-room hotel boasts a bar, restaurant and plans to double in size.
Nancy Longhurst, the general manager of the ownership group that owns both the Eldridge and Oread hotels, calls a visit to the Eldridge a trip back in time but with modern amenities.
“The Eldridge is one of the most historic properties in Lawrence,” Longhurst said. “That by itself is something to be proud of.”
Built in 1855 and called the Free State Hotel, the landmark was destroyed twice: in 1856 by the sheriff Sam Jones and in 1863 during William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence. Colonel Shalor Eldridge helped rebuild the hotel both times, lending his name after the hotel’s second resurrection. Today’s Eldridge looks a lot different than its earlier incarnations. Longhurst said the hotel is well known for its myriad special events: wedding receptions, birthdays, graduation parties and Mothers’ and Fathers’ day gatherings, to name a few. The hotel’s Jayhawk Bar and Ten Restaurant attract additional visitors.
“I have a fabulous staff that has been there a long time,” Longhurst said. “They care a lot about our guests.”