A Real Ghostly Renovation: The Baker Hotel

Halloween is around the corner and what is better than a little ghost story of a haunted hotel located here in Texas. This haunted facility is located in Mineral Wells, which is 50 miles west of Forth Worth.  Many ghost hunters reports have this listed as one of the most haunted places in the state.

One legend is of a young man and his friend, who were fraternizing with the laundry women in the basement or what used to be the laundry rooms. His boss was going to check on them so the first man jumped into the elevator the second man however was caught in between the closing door and died. It is said if you go by the elevators at night you can see him. Another legend is that a mistress was so distraught that she could not have her lover killed herself in the Baker. You can smell her perfume of lavender at night in the hall where she killed herself.  Another lady jumped out of the bell tower to her death.

As for the history behind this historic haunting site, according to Wikipedia:
“In 1926 construction began on the Baker Hotel, which would offer therapeutic baths and massages to the many visitors. Built in the style of the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Baker is not quite Art Deco, but still a product of the Roaring 20s. Construction was completed in late 1929, and the Baker opened for business on November 22, 1929.

T.B. Baker, a wealthy hotel businessman, spent $1,250,000.00 to build the famous hotel. The Baker Hotel has 14 stories, which puts it on the international list of skyscrapers. The Baker Hotel has 452 rooms, two complete spas, and claimed to be the second U.S. hotel with a swimming pool and the first Olympic-size swimming pool in the United States.

Some of the famous names to appear on the Baker Hotel guest list include Judy Garland, Clark Gable, the Three Stooges, Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird, Roy Rogers, Will Rogers, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Martin, General Pershing, Dorothy Lamour, Sammy Kaye, Jack Dempsey, Helen Keller, and Ronald Reagan.

The famous Big Bands of the era, such as the Dorsey Brothers, played the Sky Room at the top of the hotel or in the first floor Brazos Room. Lawrence Welk spoke of his times at the Baker early in his career. Guy Lombardo is another Big Band leader who also played the Baker Hotel.

Although it opened two weeks after the stock market crash, the lure of bathing in the area’s lithium-rich “crazy water”. But in the 1940s, the stars stopped coming after the federal Food and Drug Administration ordered Mineral Wells to stop making medical claims about its waters.

 

Earl Baker himself announced that he would be closing the hotel after the passing of his seventieth birthday in 1963. True to his word, Baker shuttered the building on April 30 of that year, bringing an end to thirty years of service to Mineral Wells and surrounding areas. The hotel re-opened in 1965 when a group of local investors leased the structure from the Baker family, but the revival would be brief and marred by the death of Earl Baker of a heart attack in 1967 after he was found unconscious on the floor of the cavernous Baker Suite. The last guest checked out in 1972 and the Baker quickly began to deteriorate.

Thanks to http://www.statesman.com, According to The man who restored Austin’s Driskill and Dallas’ Stoneleigh hotels to their former grandeur is now biting off a much tougher renovation assignment: the 79-year-old Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells.

“We’re anticipating having a destination resort and spa,” said Jeff Trigger, who will oversee the renovation and operate the hotel. The City of Mineral Wells will buy the hotel for $2.2 million from its Arizona owner and put about $52 million more into its restoration

Trigger said the Baker Hotel’s rooms will be expanded and number pared down to 155. There will also be meeting rooms. But the biggest venture is bringing back the mineral-water spa. “The spa is a big component of the redevelopment,” Trigger said. “Mineral Wells is about mineral wells.” The third floor of the hotel will be a spa, he said, and there might also be mineral baths outdoors. The hotel’s pool will also be restored. Construction would take at least two years, Trigger said.

Kevin Pruitt of Austin is making a documentary about the history of the Baker, and the Hunter Chase group has been using its eight-minute trailer as a selling point for financing.  The film is called Ballad of the Baker.  The renovation is hopefully going to be completed in 2012 – 2013!

View the trailer HERE!

The beautiful photographs of the Baker Hotel were done by Nadia Caffesse.

Check out the Baker Hotel on Facebook!

Have a ghoulish Halloween weekend and do not forget to book your next vacation at the Baker Hotel when it is compelted!

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Comments
38 Responses to “A Real Ghostly Renovation: The Baker Hotel”
  1. Kevin Pruitt says:

    Thanks for posting!

    Kevin Pruitt
    Austin, Texas

    • aislinnphelan says:

      No problem!!! Please feel free to repost!!! I can’t wait to see the finished product of both the film and the Baker Hotel!!

  2. Jessica C. says:

    FABULOUS post Aislinn…love, love, love! SO proud of you!

  3. Dan says:

    Wow! beautiful… wish I had shot that!

  4. ashley lefwich says:

    I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing. Ashley Leftwich

  5. Katie says:

    I’ve come across many photos of this hoten, but these are the best I’ve ever seen! And the info too. Fantastic article! Thanks a million for posting! If you don’t mind, I’ve shared it with some friends of mine who have asked about this hotel in the past few months. You’d think, that because I live down the street from the hotel, I would be able to conjur up more on it. You have done an incredible job and I love this!!!

    • aislinnphelan says:

      You are more than welcome to share it with whoever you wish!! Thank you so much for doing so and thank you again for reading! I am looking forward to the final outcome and I will definitely be doing a follow up blog!! 🙂

  6. Martha Wood says:

    I really look forward to seeing the restored product. I’ve been to visit the Baker a few times, and there is just something special about the building…..

    • aislinnphelan says:

      I can’t wait to see the restored product!!! I am planning on going and visiting the hotel soon. I have become a little obsessed with the building now….I love the architectural details and the history! There is such a strong attraction to the Baker that you can’t help but want to go and wander the halls!! Thanks so much! 🙂

  7. I love this building and have had a wonderful connection with her throughout my life whether it was driving by or helping clean up back in 1982. When I was there photographing the inside I encountered many different spirits that reside there still especially one in one particular room that didn’t want me there making me suddenly ill to my stomach until I left then I was back to normal, well as normal as I can be that is. LOL

    I love reading anything regarding this beautiful hotel and I even include her in many stories I write. Anything that helps keep her alive I support. I would love to be able to go back inside and do more photos since like with people she is also aging showing the stress of what life puts on her. Every chip of paint and crack was caused by life just like each wrinkle forms on our faces caused by life and we all need to be there to support her and keep her from being forgotten and everything about her being buried.

    Thank you for adding to the many stories of this glorious lady.

    • aislinnphelan says:

      Thank you for your beautiful words and input on the spirits! This is a magnificent piece of history that will never be forgotten and hopefully will soon be reopened once the restoration is complete! Thank you for reading!!

  8. Great article! I live about 40 miles from Mineral Wells and Love the old Baker Hotel!

  9. Mom of 2 says:

    Thank you for spot lighting our local history! As a resident of Mineral Wells, it saddens me to see it just sit there and I’m excited about the prospect of it being restored. It truly is a piece of history and could bring wonderful things to our community.

    Also, I’ve stayed in The Arlington in Hot Springs. The likeness is amazing. I felt transported back in time. I hope they are able to maintain the same effect with the restoration of the Baker.

    • aislinnphelan says:

      I am planning on going to visit Mineral Wells soon to see the building for myself! I do hope they keep the Art Deco look also! Thank you so much for reading!

      • That would be awesome if they did renovate to keep a lot of the charm she gave off when she was young. I had a phone number of the guy that let me photograph her inside and want to try and contact him again or who ever has the authority to grant me permission to do more photos preferably with a model this time so I can capture more of her essence.

        If you haven’t seen her yet be sure and do one thing when you go inside just stop long enough, take the time, to close your eyes and let yourself feel besides just seeing with your eyes. Unfortunately you are seeing her during a time where people mistreated her, abused her beauty. Back in 1982 when I helped clean things up in there everything was still intact and not as decayed but being a photographer even in decay you can also see and reveal the beauty within.

        I am excited for you! The first feeling will be sadness when you enter her, I know I teared up see her so violated, but that will pass once you feel what she once was and can be again.

    • I went to Hot Springs also and had to wander through their hallways and it really is like taking a step back in time to see what our grand lady use to look like. I was amazed how similar they are in areas. When I told the people there at The Arlington how The Baker was built to resemble theirs they didn’t know anything about it and proceeded to go online to see pictures of the Baker and were also amazed.

  10. I wanted to say than you so very much for this!! I’m from Mineral Wells and still live here. I drive by the massive hotel several times a day. I can’t wait for them to start on the renovation. I hope it will help breath new life into a dying town. The photos are amazing. They each tell a story. Being a photographer, and being from the town, i’m jealous! Thank you again for sharing.

  11. Bill Chance says:

    I have been fascinated with the Baker for years after stumbling across it when in Mineral Wells to go camping. I would love to see it restored – though I understand the hurtles that stand in the way of a task like that.

    Great pictures, great post – keep up the good work.

  12. Daniel says:

    bookmarked, my friends will love this

  13. aislinnphelan says:

    Sorry if you are having this issue, the photos are high resolution so they take a little bit to load!! Trust me…it is worth the wait because the images are breathtaking!

  14. Awesome post. I love learning about stuff like this, and the photos are amazing! Thanks!

  15. Bill Mowery says:

    Is the restoration still on?

    • aislinnphelan says:

      I believe so, they are still in the beginning stages I believe! I will look into it and get some updates for you!

  16. Nancy says:

    Are they still going to fix up the Baker hotel? If so when? Heard they’re having money problems. Doesn’t sound good.

    • Amy Armstrong says:

      I will check on that! I hope it’s still set because it would be great for the community! If I find anything out I’ll let you know.

  17. Nancy says:

    Go to http://www.bakerhotel.us and this is the offical website for the Baker Hotel. You can email them and ask any question you wish. Last time I emailed them they told me that there was a financial issue. Hopefully things will work out. I believe in prayer and without it there is nothing. So say a little prayer for the Baker Hotel and if it is in God’s plan then the Baker Hotel will be saved.
    I hope so.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Has there been any further news?

  19. Stephen Tuckier says:

    Are plans still in place to restore it, or have they fallen through?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ghost Adventures is airing an episode next week featuring the Baker. Hope that it will draw a lot of attention to this beautiful hotel and motive it’s renovation!

  21. Tim Honey says:

    Went to see it today and so happy it’s being renovated. Plan on staying there when it’s done!

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