Archive for Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Hotel renovation progressing

July 10, 2002

At the Almeda Hotel, the century-old dining room is again taking shape even better shape than the new owners, Darlyn and Anna Hansen, had expected.

Originally, the hotel sported a 60-foot-by-30-foot dining room accentuated by bay windows to the north, a corner fireplace to the south and crown molding topping the walls. Then, Anna Hansen said, in the 1940s the dining room was converted into two apartments.

It wasn't until the apartments were dismantled that the Hansens discovered a half-dozen pillars that stretch from floor to ceiling pillars original to the building.

But last Wednesday the progress met an unexpected snag a passing vehicle knocked down an exterior stone pillar that supports the front awning. The collision also destroyed the outdoor water fountain. After the accident, boards were installed to temporarily hold the roof in place.

Anna Hansen seemed to take the event in stride:

"We'll just have to turn a stumbling block into a stepping stone," she said.

It's possible, she said, that with the repairs the drinking fountain, long unused, can be made usable.

The Hansens, who made the top bid of $130,000 for the hotel at an April auction, plan to reopen the hotel as a bed and breakfast, and as a meeting place for groups, by mid-September. Two bedrooms upstairs will be converted into a suite. The other two bedrooms will share a bath.

"We are focusing on the immediate core of the house," Hansen said. "We're not intending to bring it back to period design it will be more eclectic."

Included in the bed and breakfast's furnishings will be furniture she and Darlyn purchased at the auction some of which may have been in the hotel when it was owned a century ago by Mollie Myers.

Hansen has been reading about Myers, a widow with young children whose hotel was known for its Victorian dr, elaborate table settings and fried chicken dinners.

"It's just incredible for a single mother to have done all that," Hansen said.

Hansen said she plans to keep Myers in mind as she plans for the hotel's opening.

"I think it can be a very elegant place again," Hansen said.

Hansen said she's optimistic about the need for a business of this type in Tonganoxie.

"We're already taking reservations for Christmas events and fall gatherings," she said.

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