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Baker Hotel –
Haunted Place — The Baker
200 East Hubbard Street
Mineral Wells, Texas 76067
Baker Hotel Web Site
The grand Baker Hotel is located on the
corner of a one-way westbound street, East Hubbard Street, and NE
1st Street. You can't miss The Baker Hotel building, as it towers
above everything else in all its glory. Mineral Wells is just west
of Fort Worth.
DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY:
This towering, classic, stone brick
building, decorated with lovely carvings, is 14 stories high, and
was built to last in 1929, by visionary hotel developer, T.B.
Baker. Baker came up with the idea of building a massive hotel near
a mineral spring, at the cost of $1,250,000.00, which was quite a
chunk of change for the time. Known as the Grand Old Lady, her
building design was influenced by the Art Deco style, and built by
the gifted structural engineer Wyatt Hendrick, modeled after
Hendrick's other resort hotel, the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs,
Arkansas. There were three different staircases: One for the
well-to-do guests, one for their servants and yet another staircase
for those who didn't want to be seen.
The Baker Hotel opened on November 22nd,
1929, three weeks after the infamous market crash of 1929, not a
particularly ideal time. The main purpose of this 452 room hotel,
besides offering lots of bells and whistles, was to provide for the
stressed-out, upper-class folks, such as Dallas businessmen and
their families, the opportunity to take advantage of the natural
mineral waters found in the town's wells, for its medicinal value.
The water seemed to cure stomach and intestinal problems and some
forms of mental illness.
Besides drinking this wonderful water,
massages and therapeutic baths were a big hit in the hotel's 2
complete spas. Guests also enjoyed swimming in one of the two
swimming pools, going to the gym, or attending gala dances/big band
events in the hotel's huge ballrooms, found on the 14th floor (the
Sky Room) and the first floor (Brazos Room & Cloud Room). Who's
who in big bands played here, from the Dorsey Brothers to Lawrence
Other less legal activities were offered in
hidden gambling parlors, and discreet drinking areas during
Like many big, luxurious hotels, there were
shops, retail and personal services, so one could stay in-house for
the necessities of life. It had its dining areas, offering fabulous
meals cooked in the hotel's kitchen.
The town of Mineral Wells offered many
things that tourists enjoyed, such as the zoo, & fair grounds.
For those with no transportation, a handy trolley offered
transportation to encourage people to also enjoy other
entertainment and activities in the great outdoors.
Mr. Baker lived in a fancy suite on the
10th floor with his family, and also maintained a suite for his
red-headed mistress on the 7th floor. He lived in his hotel until
his death in 1972, after seeing it slide downhill over the years,
which must have been a bitter pill to swallow.
In its glory days, the 1930s & 1940s
and early part of the 1950s, such famous people as Judy Garland,
Dorothy Lamour, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Will Rogers, Helen
Keller, Sammy Kaye and General Pershing came here to relax and
enjoy all what the Baker Hotel offered. Bonnie and Clyde, under
assumed names, stayed at the Baker Hotel, spending their ill-earned
gains. perhaps taking vacations from their murderous business.
The Baker Hotel did its part during World
War 2. During three years of this war, The Baker Hotel was home to
dependents of military personnel. Post war 1940s and 1950s, the
Hotel continued to attract guests, but not in the numbers it once
enjoyed. In the development of modern medicine and federal
regulations, the town's mineral water stopped being the big draw
for tourists, and business gradually died down, making it harder
and harder to make The Baker Hotel profitable.
In 1963, the Baker Hotel closed for 2
years, probably because it cost more to run, than what this
business was making in income. Plus, I bet it was long in the
tooth, and needed expensive repairs. A building which cost
$1,250,000 to build in 1929, would be quite an expensive fixer
( Rialto Theatre * Skirvin Hotel * Blackhawk Hotel )
Citizens of Mineral Wells banded together
however, in 1965 and reopened The Baker Hotel, which lasted another
8 years, but closed again for good, in 1973, one year after Mr.
Tours of the now empty Baker Hotel were
promoted and offered to interested people, starting in the early
part of 1980s. In the mid to late 80s, the owners sold off all the
original furniture and fixtures, in preparation to renovate and
revitalize the building for commercial use, which never happened
due to a variety of factors, which made this white elephant not
very attractive to investors.
The tours of the Baker Hotel continued,
throughout the years until the hotel was condemned by the city,
because its roof tiles were falling off and hitting people. The
building began to rapidly deteriorate, and unless something was
done, it would eventually have to have a date with the wrecking
ball. Complete renovation and restoration was estimated to cost
over 50 million dollars.
A vital TIF (tax incentive financing)
legislation, tailored to help The Baker Hotel, was passed by the
Texas State Legislature in June of 2007. This financial opportunity
came to the rescue of The Baker Hotel, enabling the city of Mineral
Wells to set up a TIF district which not only provided renewal
funds for The Baker Hotel, but their historic downtown as well.
The city could now offer a tax benefit
which moves tax dollars into the project, making it cheaper for a
developer to revitalize and renovate Baker Hotel building, making
it a more attractive property which could make money for the new
owners and the city as well. For, such a grand renewed building
could be the home of businesses and services, retirement
apartments, condos, shops, etc., drawing people into the downtown
area, helping to greatly lift the economic climate.
The contract sales price for The Baker
Hotel was set at 2.2 million dollars, and they had until December
of 2008 to find a buyer. When Tom and I went to visit The Baker
Hotel in November of 2008, it was still for sale, but the Iron
Foundation, put in charge by the city council, easily got an
extension push the deadline to December 2009, to find a buyer for
the building. As we peeked through the windows on the first floor,
we saw that the work to stabilize and renovate the building had
begun, which is a great sight to see!
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Just because The Baker Hotel is closed to
the living, doesn't mean it is empty of activity. It is reported
that there are at least 49 spirits who make The Baker Hotel their
home. The Baker Hotel was known to be haunted, long before it
closed its doors.
Many people throughout the years had
wonderful memories of The Baker Hotel, and when they passed on,
some have decided to spend their after-life here. Other hotels
which have this type of haunting.
( The Roosevelt Hotel * Saint James Hotel * Blackhawk
Hotel * Hotel Andra )
People who have a vested personal interest
in a building, often hang around in their after-life, not quite
ready to let go and trust the living to take care of their
( The Bullock Hotel * Pfister Hotel * Belmont
Many ill people came here, hoping to be
cured of diseases by drinking the mineral water. Unfortunately, the
water couldn't cure cancer, etc. Some of them died in the
A drunken woman tried to jump into
one of the swimming pools from the 12th floor balcony and died in
There was a murder in the pantry of the
A married male cook got into a huge fight
with his girlfriend, who was a maid at the hotel. She threatened to
tell his wife about their love. He lost his temper and control, and
stabbed her to death in the pantry. Adultery can lead to death.
( Broadview Hotel * Plains Hotel )
Mr. Baker's mistress committed suicide,
either by harming herself or by jumping to her death. This seems to
be a popular story in other hotels with multi-floored buildings; a
spurned woman or a grieving woman in despair, throwing herself out
( Skirvin Hotel * 17 Hundred-90 Inn *Alex Johnson Hotel )
There have been many stories about
paranormal activities witnessed all over this hotel. Each floor has
its own stories. Here are just a few of them.
After the Baker Hotel closed for the final
time and was thought to be empty, it was the subject of reports by
people who claimed that some room windows opened and closed by
The apparition of a
little boy in a wheelchair has been seen in the hotel by
Paranormal activity has been reported on
the 10th floor in the Baker Suite. Perhaps the entity of Mr. Baker and
another entity are spending their after-life together
The female entity,
known as the Lady in White: This red-headed mistress, who
committed suicide, made her presence known in the years before the
Baker Hotel closed.
Her living quarters, a suite on the 7th
floor, was located in the southeast corner of the building.
The maid would find drinking glasses with
lipstick on them, when the room wasn't being used by the
Paranormal activity has been documented and
A female apparition with red hair, wearing
a white dress has been seen on the 7th floor, and probably in other
common rooms in the hotel.
An apparition has been seen looking out a
window on the 7th floor.
The Mezzanine Floor above the
Smell of cigar smoke, varying from faint
whiff to a strong aroma has been detected here. Perhaps the men
used to enjoy a fine cigar on this level.
The Hotel Lobby:
When the lobby is empty, the sound of high
heels clicking across the lobby floor has been heard by the
Members of one group who spent the night in
the office above the lobby awoke to hear a heated argument between
a man and a woman in the lobby area.
The entities of
Bonnie and Clyde are said to haunt the Brazos Room.
Something turned off The
Southwest Ghosthunter's observation camera when it was left to
record during an investigation.
Orbs and smells of chocolate have been
noticed in the Brazos Room.
Lights go on and off by themselves.
Sounds of music and people having a good
time had been noticed by the tour groups, when tours were still
The Pantry in the Kitchen:
entity of the murdered maid.
Women have felt very uneasy in this area,
and have heard a disembodied female voice, warning them to leave at
On March 2nd, 2002, The
Southwest Ghosthunters conducted an investigation of The Baker
Hotel, and came up with some interesting results, including
EVPs — Voices and orbs were recorded in The
Baker Suite and the Mistress' Suite on the 7th floor. Investigators
had some personal experiences as well. To find out all about their
investigation and their results of their investigation in the
various areas of the hotel, go to their web
The joint is definitely jumping, and will
probably escalate when the real renovation gets into full swing
with the new owners and contractor transform this former grand
hotel into new commercial ventures and condos.
Southwest Ghosthunters * Texasescapes.com * castleofspirits.com