There are 49 spirits still claiming this place!
This towering, classic, stone brick building, decorated with lovely carvings, is fourteen 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.
Plans for the renovation call for completely reinventing the existing 450 rooms. On floors three through nine, there will be 157 newly expanded guest rooms. Most of these suites will be junior suites. The Presidential Suite on the tenth floor and The Baker Suite on eleventh floor both are being restored to “their original splendor.” The Baker Suite will be directly connected to the Cloud Room via a staircase.
Plans are also in the works for rental/retail areas. Twelve thousand feet of office/retail/conference areas will also be created in the Baker Hotel.
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 two 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 Welk.
Other less legal activities were offered in hidden gambling parlors, and discreet drinking areas during Prohibition. This was very common in high-end hotels during Prohibition.
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 two 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 upper opportunity.
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. Baker died.
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 did happen during this time 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!
As of 2015, good news abounds about the future of The Baker Hotel. The city of Mineral Springs successfully pulled it off and got this huge property on the way to full restoration. On their website, they state “The City of Mineral Wells, Texas, in conjunction with multiple partners and developers – is proud to present a new Baker Hotel Resort and Spa experience. As a tribute to its storied past as one of Texas’ most famous historic hotels, The Baker Hotel is being resurrected and restored to resemble its former glory – complete with a beautifully-preserved hotel facility, a fully-renovated collection of 157 guest rooms, the revival of the hotel’s famous natural spring spas, world-class business and convention facilities, over 11,000 sq. ft. of retail and shopping space, and so much more.”
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Just because The Baker Hotel has been closed to the living until recently, doesn’t mean it has been empty of activity all these years. 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.
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 property.
When people who are ill or injured hope to be cured at a place that is their only hope for life, are sorely disappointed when they die, and hang around to either enjoy the place in ways they couldn’t when health or body was compromised, or still stay hoping to be cured.
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 hotel.
Accidents can bring death in Hotels.
A drunken woman tried to jump into one of the swimming pools from the 12th floor balcony and died in the fall.
Adultery, jealousy, and blackmail are very risky behaviors that can get people killed.
There was a murder in the pantry of the kitchen.
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.
A popular story in other hotels with multi-floored buildings; a spurned woman or a grieving woman in despair, throwing herself out the window. This rash action doesn’t bring any relief of their emotional torment, so they are stuck in this world with these emotions that tie them to the place where they died.
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 the window.
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.
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 living.
Paranormal activity has been documented and EVPs recorded.
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 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 allowed.
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 themselves.
The apparition of a little boy in a wheelchair has been seen in the hotel by witnesses.
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 here.
The Lobby Area
MEZZANINE FLOOR ABOVE THE LOBBY
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 living.
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 Pantry in the Kitchen
Spirit 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 once!
A big Yes Indeed! Hard evidence caught by investigators backs up the years of personal experiences. Paranormal activity may well increase during the renovations and restoration of the Baker Hotel.
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 site.
Ghost Adventures: Zac and crew investigate the Baker Hotel in a Season 7 Ghost Adventures episode, and caught some hard evidence supporting the reported personal experiences.
200 East Hubbard Street
Mineral Wells, TX 76067
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.
- Baker Hotel Guest Rooms page, in the “Vision” section of The Baker Hotel web site
- Home page of The Baker Hotel web site
- Tom Carr photos.
- YouTube video: Ghost Adventures, Season 7, Episode 11 — “Crazy Town”
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr