The Eldridge Hotel
Thursday, February 18
With room rates running $120 to $130 during the week and $135 to $145 for the weekends ($170 to $180 during special events such as KU graduation), the Eldridge is easily the most upscale hotel in Lawrence, featuring a fantastic bar - The Jayhawker - and a pristine restaurant, Ten.
The hotel was rennovated in early 2005, the fourth incarnation of the lodgings at the corner of Seventh and Mass. streets. The first was given the name Free State Hotel in 1855, but the gathering place for slavery opponents was destroyed within a year during a pro-slavery attack. In 1858, a new hotel had been built on the site for $76,000 and leased to Col. Shalor Eldridge, a proprietor of the American Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. But that Eldridge House was destroyed in 1863 during Quantrill's Raid, an attack by border ruffians that left most of Lawrence in ruins. The third version of the hotel, finished in 1866, stood until it fell into disrepair. It was razed to make way for the five-story hotel that stands today - after having been split into apartments and later reborn, in the 1980s, as a 48-suite hotel owned by an investment group led by Rob Phillips. The new owners - who acquired the building for $2.92 million during a bankruptcy auction in October 2004 - spent in excess of $2 million on renovations, stripping the place of its faux Victorian decor in favor of a more Pottery Barn style tans, whites and woods feel.