Shhhh! You know what they say about those women who frequent Ellinwood's underground tunnels.
|The day our PEO group was in Ellinwood, it was rainy and cloudy.|
There were bars and barbers and brawls and, well -- brothels -- underneath the feet of the respectable, God-fearing, church-going citizens.
There were less nefarious businesses underground, too. A harness shop could fix up any equipment that failed during the ride down the Santa Fe Trail and also kept the locals' equipment in good repair.
By the mid-1930s to early 1940s, the Ellinwood tunnels were closed off to the public.However, in 1979, the late Adrianna Dierolf rediscovered the tunnels after inheriting some of the downtown buildings in Ellinwood, and she began showing the tunnels to the public.
During the summer of 1982, new sidewalks were built on Main Street, and city officials had most of the remaining tunnels filled with sand because of liability concerns. Because her building was on the Historic Register, Dierolf managed to save a short stretch of Ellinwood tunnels and left three of the underground businesses under the two-story Dick Building intact showing what they might have looked like a century ago.
|This was taken last Friday, when we went to pick up meat from Ellinwood Packing.|
Today under the Wolf Hotel's lobby, visitors can tour the Drummer's Sample Room, where salesmen riding the rails on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad could display their wares in a merchandise room just across the street from the train station.
Ellinwood's library was in the basement of the hotel through the 1960s. Old library cards in wooden frames form part of the wall decorations in the library, refurbished by volunteer Beth Brummer (who is also a wonderful waitress for private parties, we learned by experience)!
Our PEO group enjoyed paninis and fixings, plus an ice cream topped gooey brownie for dessert. McCord and volunteers cater private parties and gatherings in the Sunflower room. Eventually, McCord wants to open the dining room for Sunday chicken dinners, served family style on vintage wheat-patterned china (I should have taken a photo of the plates. This wheat farmer loved them!)