For Jim and Shirley Hogben, there is no place like home in Cherryvale at the Leatherock Hotel Bed and Breakfast. Jim was raised in California and Shirley in Oregon; many of their friends asked them how they could move to Cherryvale. 

While on a journey across the state of Kansas to look for towns in which to produce a Halloween movie for his friend Wayne Hallowell, Hogben came to the town of Cherryvale where he discovered the old historic Leatherock Hotel. It was in severe of disrepair, but Hogben saw the potential as a restored property and a bed and breakfast. 

The building was for sale at the time he visited Cherryvale so he made an offer and as fate would have it, the offer was accepted. Hogben purchased the building in Oct. 1997. While Hogben didn't live in the building permanently until July 3, 2012, his friend Wayne Hallowell lived in the old hotel since 1997. Hallowell passed away approximately one and a half years ago. 

The Leatherock Hotel was built in 1912 by industrialist Mr.Leatherock for his wife who wanted something to do. The building was built to industrial standards for that era. The structure was meant to last much longer than any standard hotel that was built in the same time period. 

"When Jim bought the building, it was an abandoned property and 80 percent of the windows were missing and the old metal stamped ceiling panels were in dire need of restoration," Shirley noted.

In 2004, Hogben met and married Shirley. She was a successful realtor in Oregon and had built a lucrative business. It wasn't until 2012 that they decided to move to Cherryvale to set up their permanent residence. With the combination of each of their skills and talents they decided to begin the restoration of the historic hotel into a unique bed and breakfast. 

"Originally, the hotel had 31 total rooms with one bathroom on each of it's three floors. Our dilemma was to restore the building to its original 1912 appearance or to restore it to the way it last appeared when it was in operation as a hotel in 1934," Jim said. 

They began looking a the history of the area and the impact that the railroad travel had on the city and the hotel. It was then that they decided to incorporate the different eras in each of the rooms. One room is reflects the an old "Station agent" dwellings along with the telegraph counter and the route 66 room. There is a special room set aside for celebrities like Vivian Vance of the "I Love Lucy" show. 

"We received a letter from a third grade girl from Whiting, Kan. that her class was given an assignment to write a story and a poster about a famous person from Kansas. She chose to do her story on Vivian Vance from Cherryvale. We were contacted by the young lady and her aunt and they informed us that they wanted us to have her story and the poster. We were very excited about the offer and now we have it proudly displayed in the Vivian Vance room," Shirley said.

Along with the rooms that are finished in the different eras of time, the old hotel also is home to the Cherryvale modeling railroad club. It is currently housed on the top floor of the building. Being avid train enthusiasts, both Jim and Shirley have contributed their own influence on the bed and breakfast. They both collect and are actively involved in model railroading as well as decorating the historic hotel/bed and breakfast in railroad memorabilia. 

"When I met Shirley, one of the first things that she let me know was of her passion for trains. She even had her own model train that she set up around the Christmas tree. I knew that she was the one for me," Jim said fondly. He added that all of his fellow model train friends were suddenly jealous because he had a wife that was just as enthusiastic, if not more, about model trains than he is.

"We were both used to seeing the sunset on the ocean, coming from California and Oregon. But there is nothing like watching the sunset in Kansas. We love it here," said Shirley.

The Historic Railroad Leatherock Hotel Bed and Breakfast and Museum is located at: 420 North Depot Street in Cherryvale. For information and reservations contact us at: 620-336-3350 or email: leatherockasuite4u@gmail.com