Two spirits are not shy in making their presence known in front of the living.
The mineral rich water was first discovered in 1870s, when a farmer, James Lynch, dug a well for the water needed for his farm and his family to drink, in the valley which would become the town of Ednaville. Though it smelled a bit, Mrs. Lynch was a hardy pioneer soul who drank it anyway, and discovered that it had cured her arthritis!
In 1883, a third well was dug, where a woman suffering from mental illness would drink her fill of water. She was eventually cured and became a sane person once again. This well earned the name, “Crazy Water,” and the medicinal value of the water became more and more known. Before the end of the 19th century, this town of Ednaville changed it name to Mineral Wells, to take advantage of the medicinal water which flowed beneath the city.
In the early 1900s, Mineral Wells became a popular spot for those in search of resort spas. Spas and hotels sprung up all over the valley, to accommodate the hundreds of people coming to bathe and drink their well water, with the hopes of curing various illnesses.
The original Crazy Water Hotel was built by the city of Mineral Wells, on top of the Crazy Water Well 3, to offer an upscale luxury hotel for people with money to spend, which would bring funds to the city’s coffers. This four story Crazy Water Hotel flourished from 1912 to March of 1925, when a fire burned it to the ground.
In 1927, a bigger and better luxury hotel sprang up in the same spot, with the final price tag being one million dollars. This private enterprise effort was funded by two Dallas businessmen, Carr and Hal Collins. This version of Crazy Water Hotel had an immense, grand lobby, 7 floors, containing 200 rooms. An added advantage was the installation of electric elevators to transport people to the various levels of the hotel; a god-send for those suffering from arthritis, and other physical infirmities.
In the basement, Carr and Hal Collins constructed two complete bathhouses, which must have pleased their guests, encouraging business. To sell the well’s mineral water, a lovely, enclosed Crazy Water Pavilion, designed in a semi-Moorish style, was added, serving four strengths of water.
Carr and Hal Collins also wisely built a lovely, glass-enclosed ballroom on the top of the hotel, which opened up to a roof-top garden, By offering entertainment in the ballroom, guests were more likely to stay at the hotel and spend money in-house, bringing in more income.
The fly in the ointment was the building of the huge Baker Hotel, just down the block, which was their major competitor. The Crazy Hotel held their own, and remained competitive. There was plenty of business for everyone in the 1930s and 1940s. The Crazy Hotel paid the famous, popular big bands of the era to play in its ballroom, for the enjoyment of its celebrity and upper-class clientele. Conrad Hilton, D.W. Griffith, Judy Garland, General John J. Pershing, Mary Martin, Spanky McFarland, Tom Mix and Bob Wills were some of the most well-known guests. When not robbing and killing others, Machine Gun Kelly and Bonnie and Clyde were kicking back and having some R and R, under assumed names of course.
As time progressed, newer medicines were invented, and government officials came up with new regulations concerning what medical benefits the hotels could claim in their advertisements. The popularity of these Mineral Wells hotels declined, so The Crazy Hotel branched out, supplementing their income by offering rental space for special community events, such as weddings, receptions, banquets, galas, cotillions and dinners. During the years when radio was king, weekly radio shows with a live audience took place here.
Throughout the years, the various owners of The Crazy Hotel wisely invested in the building’s upkeep, keeping it a viable building, though the baths in the basement are no longer used. Sometime in the second half of the 20th century, The Crazy Water Hotel evolved into the upscale Crazy Water Retirement Hotel, which has the motto: “Distinctive, luxurious, affordable independent.”
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The first floor of the hotel was built upon the old basement foundation of the first Crazy Water Hotel. In the 1990s, the kitchen on the first floor was reconstructed. Nothing stirs up spirits more than reconstruction of a building or room.
One can speculate…
Perhaps a child died in the fire of 1925.
Perhaps a child drowned in one the bathhouses once located in the basement; the one which was closest to being under the kitchen area.
Perhaps a man from the 1930s-40s era also died in the basement from an accident in the bathhouse, or an intentional “accident.” Gangsters, not known for their self-control, such as Machine Gun Kelly, once frequented The Crazy Hotel, and perhaps “business” was conducted in the basement area, though no town legends of such an event are known.
Gangsters tried to behave in polite society, but sometimes forgot and someone wound up sleeping with the fishes.
Two known entities have been stirred up by the construction, and have made their presence known in both the new kitchen and the basement area just below.
Disembodied voices have been heard in the basement.
The crying sobs of a little child have been heard in the basement, just under the kitchen, corresponding to a cold spot felt by a person who was investigating the crying sounds.
This entity of a little girl has been seen playing around the elevators in the basement as well.
Full apparition of a man, dressed in a 1930s long trench coat and hat, has appeared in the kitchen, in front of the staff.
The clear apparition of a cheerful, friendly little girl, dressed in a frilly, pink party dress, has appeared in front of kitchen staff, watching the food preparation.
She has also touched servers who were working on the buffet line.
She also has been known to follow kitchen staff around.
Though I haven’t been able to find any paranormal investigations done on this place, viable witnesses have given convincing testimony to the existence of these entities.
401 N. Oak Avenue
Mineral Wells, Texas 76067
The town of Mineral Wells is 80 miles west of Dallas, 48 miles west of Fort Worth, and 90 miles south of Wichita Falls. The Crazy Water Retirement Hotel can be found on the corner of NW 3rd St. and 281, just a minute north (.23 miles) of The Baker Hotel. Mineral Wells is west of Fort Worth.
- Ghost Stories: Coast to Coast
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr