Archive for Sunday, January 1, 2012

25 years ago: Nearly-finished Eldridge plays host to New Year’s Eve revelers

January 1, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 1, 1987:

Souvenir cards reading "The Eldridge Lives!" had been passed out to people who had stopped by the Eldridge House's opening night on New Year's Eve. The $3 million renovation had been finished sufficiently to have an official opening reception, but developer Rob Phillips said that he had planned to have more work finished by the year's end. The hotel had been opened on Dec. 31st primarily to allow investors to claim tax credits on their 1986 returns instead of waiting another year. During the reception, random construction noises were still being heard, but visitors were impressed by the work so far. Workers still needed to polish the restored original lobby floor, and lobby furniture had not yet arrived, but there were goldfish in the indoor fishpond (or at least, in a glass bowl sitting inside the empty pond). Visitors to the Crystal Ballroom were impressed at the clean chandeliers, new carpet, and beautifully detailed walls and ceiling. The restaurant, named the Winthrop Room, was up and running, serving a choice of six entrees on New Year's Eve, and the one suite upstairs that was ready for occupancy was booked to David and Linda Kohlman.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

I remember seeing goldfish in the indoor pond in the lobby at the Eldridge, but they weren't there all that long. I bet they had the same problem that I heard happened in a new home that was constructed in Topeka some years ago.

Sure, it's wonderful to have a body of water inside, but without massive amounts of ventilation, the humidity can be simply too high. I know about that from personal experience. In the 1980s, I bought a 5 foot diameter kid's plastic wading pool, covered the bottom of it with black gravel, and I had goldfish in it and a really big palm tree growing from the middle of it. I used a grow light hanging from the ceiling for that.

Everyone that saw it for the first time stood there looking at if for a few moments, stunned at the sight. It was very striking, especially considering that I also had 29 and 20 gallon aquariums set up, and the living room wasn't very big.

The nicest thing was at night, when I would sometimes put small votive colored floating lotus flowers with candles in them on the water in the pool. Then, the water pump would make them go around and around in the pool, and the shadows of the palm leaves were very striking. Everyone enjoyed it very much. It's very difficult to describe what that actually looked like when all the other lights were out. Very eerie shadows of palm fronds were constantly moving around on the walls, and it was very other worldly.

But, in the daytime in the summer the heat combined with the very high humidity made being in the house very uncomfortable.

I was told that in the house in Topeka, the swimming pool had been built right into the middle of the living room. And then, all the furniture got moldy. After that, the living room was floored in, and looked perfectly normal.

I've often wondered if they later used the swimming pool for some sort of a basement.

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