The Abandoned Baker Hotel: What Led To The Downfall Of This Luxurious Hotel

Baker Hotel
Photo by Noel Kerns

Baker Hotel was once a very famous and lavish hotel in the early 1900’s. If we talk about the famous abandoned hotels in the whole world, then Baker Hotel is definitely one of them. Theodore Brasher Baker, a famous hotelier, invested to build this hotel on mineral wells. The luxurious arrangements attracted visitors from everywhere. But due to financial crisis, it started facing problems and went bankrupt. Finally, the hotel closed in 1972. The owners attempted to reopen the hotel many times. From 2010, they raised funds to restore Baker hotel again and make it a top spot just like before.

Welcome To Baker Hotel…

hotel, baker hotel
Photo by Jeff Burkett on Wikimedia Commons

If we talk about the famous abandoned hotels in the whole world, then Baker Hotel is definitely one of them. It stood vacant for many generations. The location is in the city Mineral Wells, Texas. The city was very popular in 1900 for the mineral springs which had healing properties. The lavish hotel opened in 1929. It was very popular at that time. It was a 14 story building with 232,000-square-foot. For several years, it wowed tourists with its magnificent architecture. In 1982, the National Register of Historic Places included Baker Hotel to their list.

History Of Baker Hotel

As said before, the city was getting lots of attention because of the mineral wells. In 1890, local citizens were concerned that the outsiders were doing business from those water springs. Locals wanted to build a hotel so local shareholders get the maximum profit. They even raised $150,000 as a fund. They went to a famous businessman to propose the idea of building a hotel. Theodore Brasher Baker had a reputation of designing and also constructing many grand hotels in different hotels including Austin hotels and Fort Worth hotels at that time. In this Baker hotel, he added a big swimming pool in the design to build. They built an Olympic size swimming pool in front of the hotel. For the first time, a hotel in Texas has a swimming pool.

The water used for the pool came from the famous mineral water in the city. The construction work was going on in full swing. There were 450 guest rooms, a gymnasium, a beauty shop, two ballrooms, a bowling alley, etc. to entertain the guests. The luxurious arrangements attracted visitors from everywhere. The mineral water was the added attraction. The construction work started in 1926 and ended in 1929. The estimated cost was $1.2 million.

After the grand opening, it became one of the top favourite destinations for visitors. Not only the mineral water, the hotel also has an advanced system during that time. A hydraulic system with advanced technology, automatic lights and the fan control system, valet compartment, were available. Within 1940, the hotel is fully air-conditioned. They also built a convention attraction that can hold up to 2500 people. From the year 1930, it became one of the popular spa and health destinations for the rich and wealthy people. The guest list was packed with celebrities, famous politicians, and business persons.

Beginning Of The End

Although the place was very famous, it faced bankruptcy due to financial problems in 1934. At this point in time, medical advancements happened, such as the new types of antibiotics like penicillin were introduced. Doctors started advising patients to take medicines instead of going to the mineral well.

World War 2

Just when business was about to suffer, a military base Fort Wolters opened just a few miles away from the hotel. And fortunately, the hotel revived its popularity during World War II. 

The war ended in 1945. After the war, the hotel’s guest count declined once more. However, in 1951 a helicopter base opened in Fort Wolters. From 1952 to 1955, the hotel was the host of the convention of the Texas Republican Party. The Texas Democratic Party held its 1954 convention in Baker Hotel as well.

Abandonment

Apart from this small success, the hotel business suffered severely. It was difficult to run such a big place when the income was not enough. Finally, Earl Baker declared that the hotel would be closed down in 1963 during his 70th birthday. A few local investors have shown interest and decided to reopen the hotel in 1965. But the profit was not sufficient. The plan did not last long as Baker lost his life due to a heart attack. He fell unconscious in a suite of the hotel.

Many groups tried to revive the hotel and submitted their proposals. From 1970, the population started to decrease due to various reasons. People migrated to different states. In 1973, the military base closed once again. The mineral wells with natural hillsides were also destroyed due to industrial plants. After the hotel was closed in 1972, there was no successful plan to execute. The hotel is still standing there with a sign of past glorious history and unfortunate fate. 

Baker Hotel is widely known as one of the most haunted places in Texas, or even in the country.

Baker Hotel Restoration

Hunter Chase Private Equity declared in 2010 that they would restore and reopen the hotel again. They even arranged a budget of $54 million for the repairing work. The Development Team of Baker Hotel joined them to make the hotel alive again, and many new plans were proposed as well.

Modern amenities and new designs would be added. They planned to make the current hotel rooms bigger. The room number would be reduced to 155. The arrangement of capital is going on as well. They have not dropped the mineral spa facility. The luxury will be still there.

The inhabitants of the city Mineral Wells also agreed to spend a portion of the sales tax of the city for the hotel renovation work. The team raised awareness about the project and the financial problem. Even a website had been created to inform the public about its progress.

However, the project has not been started yet. Everyone is anticipating its future restoration work. If that happens, the city will surely witness something new and different.

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