Saturday, December 06, 2008

Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells TX

The Baker Hotel is an old and famous hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas. It has been closed since the 1970's, but I remember when it was open. It was luxurious for the day. There was a huge ballroom, and sometimes we went to dances there, and sometimes we went for swims in the hotel pool.

I drew this today for my Postcrossing Postcard I'm about to send to Lebanon. This is graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor.

Wikipedia tells us about the Baker:

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. 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 building has 14 stories (which puts it on the international list of skyscrapers), 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.

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. In addition to this, many celebrities stayed at The Baker including Welk, Judy Garland, Clark Gable, The Three Stooges, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans. A local legend also contends that Bonnie and Clyde stayed in the hotel one one occasion under an alias.

The building was in constant use from 1929 to 1963, including a three year period during World War II in which it served as military dependent quarters. The building sat vacant for two years until 1965, when a group of Mineral Wells citizens re-opened the Baker, but it would not last. The final guest checked out in 1972 and the Baker quickly began to deteriorate.

The Baker was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Kyndra. I have heard of Mineral Wells before and only live 30 minutes away from there, but I just thought it was a little hole in the wall town. This past week I went to visit my cousin who lives down there and was amazed to find so much history in such a small place. I am a history lover and instantly fell in love with the Baker and it's past. I have been on every website containing information of this historic beauty, but I would really like to hear some from you if you don't mind. I see that you had gone there before...what was it like. I actually found the whole town so intriquing that I convinced my husband to move down there. So as I was looking for houses I called the chamber of commernce and the lady said that someone was buying it....I think that would be amazing. I can olny dream that it will open again so I may have the chance to re live such a wonderful past. Thanks so much. My email address is arcksh515@yahoo.com

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