Cyrus Hotel adds historical remembrance to downtown Topeka

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Matthew L. Self, Review Editor in Chief

A new hotel is expected to open in Topeka soon, the Cyrus Hotel, a place meant to echo styles from Topeka’s early history as a railroad town and to pay homage to Cyrus K. Holliday, the man who is often credited with putting Topeka on the map through his dealings with the Sante Fe railroad.

The new hotel will be located in the historic downtown area of Topeka which has seen refurbishing over the past few years with new businesses opening, statues being built and other historical monuments dedicated to Topeka’s past being placed for the public to enjoy and admire. The hotel will be located at 912-920 South Kansas Avenue, which is only blocks away from the Kansas State Capitol building. It is expected to have a total of 109 rooms with large meeting rooms for companies visiting Topeka, as well as a restaurant and bar that tastefully combine old school charm with modern fixtures.

The hotel takes inspiration from the railroad history of Kansas and the styles favored by Cyrus K. Holliday. The interior decorations will be based off the prairie landscape that Kansas is well known for and the striking patterns that come from Holliday’s military experience. The hotel is also being built on and around a lot of older buildings, including an orphanage built in 1914 that have stood in Topeka since the early 1900s. Some features of these older buildings will be included into the new structure to grant it a more authentic feel and a greater connection to Topeka’s past.

The hotel’s historical connection to Cyrus K. Holliday helps to connect the past to the present. Holliday’s investment in the Santa Fe railroad and interests in developing Kansas’ natural resources is what led to the founding of the township of Topeka. He is also recognized for his service in the Civil War and the Kansas State Senate in the 1860s. Holliday moved to Kansas in 1854 and wrote a letter to his wife Dec. 10 that harkened the beginning of Topeka.

“So I think it must be, and in a few years when civilization by its magic influence shall have transformed this glorious country from what it is now to the brilliant destiny awaiting it, the Sun in all his course will visit no land more truly lovely and desirable than this,” said Holliday. “Here, Mary, with God’s kind permission, we will make our home; and I have every reason to believe a home it will truly be.”

Many important investors were brought together to fund this project including Security Benefit CEO Michael Kiley and AIM Strategies owner and founder Cody Foster. They are both optimistic about continuing construction at the site and the future of the hotel.

“Security Benefit is pleased to be an integral partner in the continued revitalization of downtown Topeka and eagerly awaits the day the Cyrus Hotel will serve as a focal point for Topeka companies and our guests from near and far,” Kiley said.

Investors such as Michael Kiley and Cody Foster helped to bring together a total of $25.3 million to fund the project and get it off the ground. Other investors and contractors include Brent Boles, president and CEO of Schendel Pest Services, and Angie Boles; Matt McPherson, president of McPherson Contractors Inc.; Eric Bettis, president of Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc. as well as other investors who are part of the Advisors Excel team, including Jake Klima, Matt Neuman, Shawn Sparks, Brad Johnson, Brad Lindstrom and Jordan Canfield.

Construction at the site began in December of 2016 while workers used golden sledgehammers to break ground, echoing the placing of the golden spike that was used to unite the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads in 1869.

The addition of this hotel to Topeka is a sign that our city is being revitalized and that we can all look forward to more projects to help turn Topeka into a thriving center of commerce and make the downtown area a place to witness the unique history of Topeka. Students at Washburn are encouraged to visit this historic building once it has finished construction next year as it can be a place to hang out with friends, live comfortably or simply admire for its stylish, modern and local design.