The Historic Wiley Building

The Wiley Building is significant for its association with early commerce in Hutchinson, the agricultural and trade center of SW Kansas. In 1912, dry goods merchant Vernon Wiley announced plans to raze the 3-story opera house on the NE corner of First and Main and replace it with an 8-story concrete and steel skyscraper, twice the height of any other building in downtown Hutchinson. Besides the department store, the Wiley Building housed more than 90 office suites, including the Commercial Club and Hutchinson Board of Trade, along with a popular tea room on the mezzanine level.


Timeline: Wiley Department Store

Vernon M. Wiley began working with Columbus, Ohio architects (Richards, McCarty, and Bulford) on a new 8-story building; a $350,000 loan was granted from Chase Manhattan Bank in New York; the construction contract was awarded to Swenson Construction Company


Sept 1912
Construction began on the new building at 100 North Main


Nov 20, 1913
Dry goods store opened as Rorabaugh-Wiley Company; utilized the first 4 floors of the new building; upper floors were rented as office space; public opening/reception saw 10,000 people go through the building 


Fox Theatre was built by the Wiley Investment Company


9th floor penthouse added; occupied by Kansas State Grain Inspection


Feb 1946-1947

Quarter million dollar expansion, two floors added to Fox Theatre with access to the bridge over the alley. Interior remodeled with new fixtures, and new entrance built on west and south (may be installation of revolving doors)


Sept 1959

Addition to Wiley’s north side of building, 5th – 8th floor enclosed, remodel 3rd floor, new fixtures, lighting and floor coverings


Sept 1968
Tea Room closed


Jan 24, 1971
Fire in Home Furnishings store


Sept 1985
Wiley’s Department Store at 100 North Main closes