Home of William Greiffenstein (1871-1910)
In 1871, William "Dutch Bill" Greiffenstein built his 2-story home on south Water Street, at the site where Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center now stands. For many years it was the largest house in Wichita.
Dutch Bill was an Indian trader and established his first trading post in 1865 along the Cowskin Creek. (The site is now Eberly Farms at 13111 W. 21st.)
Dutch Bill earned the title "Father of Wichita" and as one of the founders, he was instrumental in financing the development of Douglas Avenue as Wichita's commercial center. He had stiff competition from Darius Munger, who built Wichita’s first residence at 9th and Waco. In 1870, they agreed to combine their plats to create a single township.
Dutch Bill gave away alternate plots on Main Street to stimulate retail growth toward Douglas Avenue. He also financed the Douglas Avenue bridge which allowed easy access to Douglas Avenue making it the major business thoroughfare.
Greiffenstein served as mayor from 1878 to 1884 and William Street is named in his honor.
When the real estate boom of the 1880s ended, so did his fortune. He died at the home of his in-laws in Indian Territory in 1899.
The house was probably destroyed around 1910 to make room for the Forum. In 1993, the Wichita Historic Preservation Board placed a bronze plaque at the former location. The plaque is located near the Bob Brown Expo Hall entrance.
William "Dutch Bill" Greiffenstein, circa 1878.
Greiffenstein's home on south Water Street.
Bronze plaque in front of Bob Brown Expo Hall marking location of former site.