Ellinwood: Continuous Innovation
"Ellinwood: Continuous Innovation" explores what happens when a community uses creative ideas to pursue progress and initiate change. Discover local stories of innovation and entrepreneurship and celebrate the histories of Ellinwood businesses like the Historic Wolf Hotel, the Kansas Earth and Sky Candle Company, and more!Exhibit by Sheri Holmes
Historic Wolf Hotel
In the heart of Ellinwood is the Historic Wolf Hotel.
The Wolf Hotel was built in 1894 by John Wolf as an addition to the Delmonico Hotel which would have stood just north of the building which is now the Sunflower Bank parking lot.
The hotel underwent a number of transformations but was restored to its 1920s glory by owner Chris McCord and his staff. The hotel sits above the entrance to the town’s system of underground tunnels, useful during the Prohibition Era to hide illegal saloons.
Now the hotel offers a bed and breakfast style hotel upstairs and acts as an event space for comedy shows, weddings, and other local celebrations.
The hotel has even attracted the attention of a number of ghost hunters, who have descended upon the place with carloads of beeping, crackling equipment, though the consensus is still out on whether the hotel is haunted. It is an ever-changing place that brings local happenings to Ellinwood.
Kansas Earth & Sky Candle Company
Five years ago, Jennifer and Scott Andersen never would have imagined that they’d own a candle company. Kansas Earth and Sky Candle Co. initially started as a web-based e-commerce store selling hand-poured soy candles out of their farmhouse in 2016. The company aims to capture the moments that make Kansas a beautiful place to be. The Andersen use aromas to harness the fleeting and memorable experiences that we all cherish. Whether it’s the smell of the vast open air on a harvest evening or the reminder of a warm and familiar household you wish you could return to, they want to take you on that journey again.
Revitalizing Main Street
Since the launch of the candle company, the Andersens worked hard to expand the business into wholesale markets and quickly outgrew their small, farmhouse studio. The company is now located on Ellinwood’s historic Main Street in “The Cyclone” building. Established in the early 1900s, “The Cyclone” served as a general mercantile until the early 1970s when it was adapted into a grocery store and then later into a local business called “The Showcase.”
The Cyclone Mercantile is located at 23 N Main. The building was established December 12, 1892 by Frederick Stephan.
Ellinwood School/Community Library
The history of our library has some surprises of its own, uncovered by librarian Amy Hammeke for our 50th Anniversary. The Ellinwood School/Community Library display will use newspaper articles, library, and school board minutes to show the development of the library from its merging in the 60s to today. Ellinwood School/Community Library has been recognized by the national magazine, Library Journal, as a 5 Star Library. Additional research has been contributed by local historian, Robert Yarmer. Some of our younger patrons may be surprised to discover that the public library used to be located under the Wolf Hotel!
Two Chicks & Some Old Bird
When the Glenn Family were looking for a space to hold arts and crafts classes, they looked no further than downtown. Their need for a space to create and hold craft classes transformed into a multi-purpose business. They couldn't justify buying a building just for classes, so they brainstormed and “Two Chicks and Some Old Bird” was formed. The family-owned boutique features nine local vendors and artists each selling antiques, home decor, gifts, and fresh baked goods. The business is an opportunity for the Glenn Family to showcase their love of antiques and handcrafted goods. Since the opening, the store functions as a community gathering place hosting art classes, meetings, and more.
Choosing a name
At first, they wanted a name that represented their love for antiques and rustic goods. The three partners were on a trip when Kirk complained about "being too old.” Debbie quipped she hoped she never got that old and said to Brittney, "We could call it Two Chicks and Some Old Bird,” and the name stuck! Kirk's antique booth in the store became "SOB (Some Old Bird) Antiques.”
More than half of all Americans living in rural areas report difficulties in accessing high-speed internet. A reliable internet connection is crucial to the 21st century economy. Unlike many small towns, Ellinwood has a local internet provider that contributes to the town's success. Rural internet is a challenge, because it requires more equipment per customer than in urban areas. For H&B Communications, a family-owned telecommunications company in Ellinwood, it was an investment in the community. Providing a necessary service to the town was more than a practical business decision for H&B; it provided economic opportunities to residents of the town and surrounding areas.
Local businesses like the Wolf Hotel and Kansas Earth and Sky Candle Co have used their access to reliable high-speed internet to create economic opportunities for themselves and the community. More than that, they’ve used a piece of their town to the world and to bring the world to their town.
Sheri Holmes, director of the Ellinwood School/Community Library and Crossroads project director explains the importance of having access to high speed internet stating that many of the library’s patrons rely on its technology to provide universal access to information.
“Ellinwood is fortunate to have the services that H&B Communications provides the community to have universal access to information."
Ellinwood Businesses, Then and Now
Before the Calamity Jane Salon occupied the corner of North Main Street, it was home to the Ellinwood Opera House. Twenty-three years after the beloved Mangelesdorf's Opera House burned down in in 1887, a new opera house was built by the local Knights of Columbus council. But Ellinwood’s newly constructed, four story opera house only operated as a traditional opera house, hosting traveling theatrical productions, until 1911 when it was converted into a movie theater.
Ellinwood Businesses, Then and Now continued
Through the years the opera house turned movie house would grow to include local businesses and apartments on the upper and lower floors. One thing remained the same: the converted opera house still functioned as the social and cultural heart of the community hosting local dances, political and religious meetings, basketball games, concerts until 1976. While the town continues to forge its way into the future, it’s important to remember the history and experiences of transformed spaces.
Did you know the band "Kansas" known for the song, "Dust in the Wind" performed at the Ellinwood Opera House in 1972?
Ellinwood: Continuous InnovationThe full exhibit is on display at Ellinwood School/Community Library
210 N. Schiller Avenue
Ellinwood, KS 67526