Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Depot/Arcade Hotel

Fifth and Main Streets

Newton, KS 67114

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The Jacobean style building you see before you today was built between 1929 and 1930. It was designed by E. H. Harrison and constructed at the cost of $350,000, despite the depression, and once housed a Harvey House Restaurant. Dorms for the Harvey girls were located on the second floor. Fred Harvey was known for his strict dining standards, serving methods and for a great dining experience along the Santa Fe line. The Newton Harvey House Restaurant closed in May 1957. Judge R. W. P. Muse and D. L. Lakin, land agents for the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Railroad, came through this region in August of 1870. They selected this site for the new town they would call Newton after Newton, Massachusetts, where many ATSF Railroad stockholders lived. Muse returned a few months later to find several individuals already working to build up the town. The railroad reached Newton by the spring of 1871. By 1872, a depot had been constructed and is reported to have been lined with heavy boiler plate metal to protect citizens and travelers from the stray bullets of cowboys. In 1880, plans for a new hotel/depot were presented by partners Judge R. W. P. Muse and R. M. Spivey. Construction took nearly two years to complete, and Hotel de Strong officially opened in the fall of 1881. It was estimated to have cost about $75,000 to construct. It was built of stone with a brick veneer, and it stood three stories high with a mansard roof. It had been named after the new president of the ATSF in 1881, William B. Strong. However, the hotel name was changed to Arcade Hotel in May 1882. It’s also in 1882 when space was leased to Fred Harvey to run one of his many restaurants along the Santa Fe line. In 1898, the Santa Fe purchased the Arcade Hotel and remodeled it inside and out. The Evening Kansan-Republican covered the grand opening and described the remodeling efforts on the front page of their May 15, 1900, edition. "The mansard roof, the distinguishing characteristic of the old structure, is now no more, the wall of the third story being of solid brick. In the rearrangement of the rooms many of the inner walls were strengthened and frame partitions replaced with brick The dining room and lunch counter were located on the south side of the first floor, easy access from the trains. The office is on the Main Street side of the house. It is a large and airy room and attracts the guests at once with its quiet elegance. The chairs are of an old-fashioned pattern, but finely upholstered in leather. The ceiling is formed of pressed steel squares giving it a fine fresco effect. The baseboards have a covering of ‘lincrusta,’ imitation filigree work."

 

The article goes on to describe more of the dining room, "the room is large, well-lighted and ventilated. The papering is ‘crinkled Velvet,’ of a dark green tint, in striking contrast with the tan-colored walls through the rest of the house. The furniture is oak, and potted plants are in abundance." Comfort and elegance, the ultimate goal of the Santa Fe, cost about $52,000 for the remodel. According the newspaper, they apparently were successful in this effort. The Arcade Hotel would serve Newton for nearly 31 years before it was demolished and the depot, as it stands today, was built.