Haunted Baker Hotel

It’s Freaky Friday again.  How about a ghost story?  This one’s about the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas.

Mineral Wells, Texas gets its name from its mineral springs which grew to popularity in the early 1900s.  The predominant minerals in Texas mineral water are often sulfur, hydrogen sulfide, or iron.  This water probably doesn’t smell great.  It was believed to have medicinal properties, though.  People both ingested the water and bathed in it.

In 1925, the citizens of Mineral Wells were concerned about non-citizens profiting from their famous water.  They raised $150,00o with plans to create a large hotel facility.

Construction began the next year and lasted until 1929.  The Baker Hotel was Mineral Wells first skyscraper at fourteen stories tall.  The hotel had four hundred fifty guest rooms, two ballrooms, and an in-house beauty salon.  It also featured novelties like two bowling alleys, a gymnasium, and, eventually, an outdoor swimming pool.  The Baker Hotel was the second hotel in the US to have its own swimming pool.

In the 1930s, the hotel became a popular spa destination.  People like Clark Gable, Jean HarlowGlenn Miller, Marlene DietrichLawrence Welk, and U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited.  It is rumored Bonnie and Clyde spent a night or two there.

Though the Baker Hotel enjoyed a great deal of prosperity throughout the 1940s, medical advances spurred a loss of interest in mineral water baths.  The hotel began to decline starting as early as the 1950s.

In 1972, the Baker closed its doors for the final time.  Despite offers from groups interested in renovating the hotel (the last being in 2008), the hotel sits empty and deteriorating, open to attacks by vandals.

That’s a real shame because it looks like a beautiful place.

A deserted grand hotel, once visited by celebrities and dignitaries.  That sounds like fertile ground for ghost stories.  There are plenty of them out there.

The Lady on the 7th Floor

Stories of this haunting surfaced before the hotel closed in 1972.  A hotel employee in the 1960s reported the ghost of a woman on the seventh floor.

This ghost is commonly believed to be the hotel manager’s mistress.  She lived in a suite of rooms on the southeast corner of the seventh floor.  As the legend goes, the woman committed suicide by jumping to her death from the top of the building.

People have reported smelling perfume.  Glasses were found with lipstick stains on the rim when nobody was staying in the suite.  The ghost flirts with men to whom she takes a fancy and gets angry when females invade her space.  The click-clack of her high heels has been heard in various parts of the hotel.

Eric Balfour, who used to star on Six Feet Under, told great story about his experience at the Baker Hotel on Biography’s Celebrity Ghost Stories.  If you’re interested in seeing the video, you’re looking for Season 2: Episode 13.  I used to have the link to You Tube for the video, but it has since been removed.

Open Windows

In the early 1990s, the women in a local bank had their workstations facing the Baker Hotel.  During slow times at the bank, they noticed windows open on various floors. Later, those same windows would be closed.  Other windows on different floors would be open.

One woman told the others it was probably the caretaker of the hotel.  With the incidents explained, the ladies quit noticing.  Odd thing–nobody has stayed at the Baker since it closed its doors in 1972.

Dinner Party in the Brazos Room

Until fairly recently, the Baker Hotel was open for tours.  A group of WWII veterans and their spouses took one of these tours.  As they passed the Brazos Room, they heard the clanking of silverware and dishes.  Orchestra music could be heard playing faintly in the background.  Everybody in the group agreed they experienced this.

Sometimes They Come Back

This is the creepiest part of the whole thing.  A psychic local to Mineral Wells confirmed the hauntings.  She added an interesting addendum, though.  She said the ghosts didn’t necessarily die at the Baker.  They returned to relive the good times they’d had there.

Slumber Party

When tours of the hotel were still offered, their ghost tour was a big draw.  Guests were encouraged to bring a sleeping bag and could spend the night anywhere in the hotel. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a night in a deserted hotel could get pretty creepy.

Watch this quick video, keeping your eyes on the pillar on your left.  Approximately 7 seconds into the video, something moves through the screen.

 

I can totally believe getting the heebie-jeebies in this place.

Thank you for your interest in this article. I often receive requests for further information on these articles. Please understand my knowledge of this topic is limited to what you’ve read in this article. I have no plans to update or expand these articles. I am currently focusing on my fiction writing career and am no longer writing or researching for non-fiction articles. If you’re interested in seeing what I write, please check out the My Fiction page on this website or visit my Amazon Author Page on amazon.com.

If you want more information about the Baker Hotel, here’s a couple of websites to check out:

Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells – If you’re interested in a virtual walkthrough scroll to the bottom of the lefthand menu and look for “Walk Thru.”)

Southwest Ghost Hunters Association — Has some good interior pictures of the hotel.

I See Ghosts — Try this one for a few ghost stories I didn’t tell here.

38 thoughts on “Haunted Baker Hotel

  1. on ,
    Mom said:

    Very interesting. Would be nice if someone could purchase this old building to preserve it’s beauty for future generations.

    • Thanks for commenting, Mom. I’m so glad you liked this. I, too, think it’s a real shame the place is just rotting and being vandalized into the ground. I think it could be really cool, but perhaps nobody has the money to sink into it.

  2. Very interesting! I wonder why they won’t let someone fix it up and open it again? It looks like an amazing place.

    • I had heard Willie Nelson (the country singer) offered to buy it at one point and was turned down because of the element he’d bring into town. I have no idea how true this story is, though. Like you, I think it could be amazing.

  3. Okay, I got the chills. I had to watch it three times, but I did see the thing move! Creepy! Thanks Catie for another wonderful post!

    • I’m glad it was entertaining to you, Christine. I had to watch that video several times before I saw “it.” That is the creepiest thing I’ve seen. If you’re game, go over to You Tube an search “baker hotel haunted.” In every single video, I can hear this weird noise in the background. It raised the hair on my arms.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Love, love, love ghosts stories. Have had personal experiences that make things irrefutable to me. That video is pretty damned amazing, too. I wonder if there are large quarries around MIneral Springs? I assume there would be. That’s a one of the prominent paranormal theories, that the energy put off by quarries, minerals, etc. promotes hauntings. Basically enables the stories.

    Great post!

    • That’s an interesting theory, one I’d never heard before. I did some quick research on Mineral Wells, TX, but I didn’t find a mention of any quarries. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. It just means I didn’t find them. ::grins::

      The theory sounds like a great idea for a ghost story. Something kind of like The Shining, but not.

  5. As always, you rock my world. Great post and I wish someone would renovate the old place.

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed reading about the Baker. I wish someone would renovate it, too. However, the sign on the door that says no more tours is signed by the Fire Marshall of Mineral Wells, TX. I suspect it has become a safety hazard–which gives it an even grimmer future.

  6. This reminds me of The Shining! The hotel is gorgeous and what a waste that someone can’t buy it and fix it up. It does sound kind of creepy though I’d love to take a tour. Another great and interesting post, Catie! Thank you.
    Patti

    • Reminds me of The Shining, too! I am very sorry I didn’t discover this when they were still giving tours. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  7. Now this sounds like a fun place to visit, if they still did tours. It would have been interesting to be able to take one of the original “set up your own campsite” tours they held early on.

    Great post, Catie!

    • Oh, dude. Don’t you know someone with a writer’s imagination could end up having a nervous breakdown by the dawn?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. on ,
    Lyn said:

    Freaky Friday is something to look forward to every week. Love the spooky stories that would otherwise never cross my scope. The story of the mistress leaping to her death predates me, but I never heard it before. :)TX

    • Well, you know all these ghost stories are like their own genre of urban legends. They morph over time, and get spookier with each telling. I’d be curious to do some real digging around and find the true story.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I live so close to this one. My BFF’s parents actually retired to Mineral Wells. Why did they stop the slumber parties? Another great post, Catie!

    • Tiffany, in one of those pictures on the first website I mentioned, they had a paper signed by the fire marshall saying they couldn’t have any more tours. The reasons for this are pretty sad and would mean a grim future for the Baker.

      Thanks for stopping by. And, if you ever find a way to get us into the Baker, let me know. I take this show on the road occasionally. :D

  10. What a shame it’s just sitting there rotting. Someone really should restore it. I love creepy ghost stories. There’s one in New Mexico (I can’t remember the name right now. I’ll have to look it up.) BUT I read there’s a really BAD acting ghost there. VERY scary. My friend best friend, Shannon, told me we’d have to wait until my ankle was better b/c she’d run off and leave my …ummm…bum…if it got too spooky! LOL Another great post!

    • Oh, Rhonda! Look up the name of the place in New Mexico and let me know the name. I love stuff like this. My husband tolerates going with me, but I think he could do without it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • It’s the St James Hotel in Cimarron, NM. http://www.sgha.net/nm/Cimarron/stjameshotel.html This website provides info on it’s colorful history and very active ghosts. I took a ghost tour in Colorado once. The tour guides had written a book about haunted places they’d stayed in. At the St. James the malevolent ghost followed them. Very scary stuff.

        • Maybe we should plan a trip there. Maybe in the Fall. Some rooms don’t have A/C. I’d love to go with a bunch of my writer buds. :-)

          • Oops…apparently they re-opened recently after remodeling. So i guess they all have a/c now. Here’s the link to their official site if anyone’s interested. http://www.exstjames.com/
            Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Jesse James are just a few of the people that stayed there in the past. The hotel apparently has the guest registers to document it. What a great experience it would be to go there!

  11. What a fantastic feature, and you definitely kept my interest … all the way to that last video! I’ve done a few ghost tours/haunts, and yes I believe. Thanks for the Freaky Friday spook-fest.

    • You’re very welcome. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. If you ever get a chance I’d love to hear about your experiences. It’s fascinating topic.

      Thanks for stopping by. :D

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  13. Catie, make a road trip to Galveston sometime. The island has been called “a cemetery with a beach attached.” Between the Civil War (during which Galveston was of considerable tactical interest) and the 1900 Storm (they stopped counting bodies at 6,000), lots of folks seem to have decided to hang around long after they “gave up the ghost,” so to speak. Thankfully, we have a very dedicated, very active historical foundation devoted to preserving Galveston’s rich past, so distressed historical properties seldom wind up demolished. Most flesh-and-blood locals think nothing of sharing our spaces with non-corporeal residents, but visitors sure do get a kick out of the creepiness factor, especially at Halloween. :-)

    • Kathleen, I’ve been wanting to do the Galveston ghost hunting thing for a while. We haven’t been down there since Hurricane Ike blew through, but we need to go back. Galveston is one of the neatest cities in Texas.

      I heard that after the 1900 storm, they tried to bury the dead at sea. The tide washed the corpses back to shore, though. With no other solutions, they had to burn the dead in a huge pyre. Don’t know how true that is, but it’s sure gory.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  14. That video is so creepy. What is it? It’s like it slithers. *shudder*

    Fun spooky post. I’d totally go camp out in the hotel with you. Reminds me of the ghost tour I did in New Orleans. Some of the stories were so gory though I didn’t know if I should blog about it. Maybe…

    • I am a BIG fan of ghost tours. Whenever I visit a new place, I always try to go on one if available. And New Orleans was by far the very best! It was fascinating. I’d read your blog Jess.And I’d go camp out in the hotel with you guys, too! How fun would that be?

      • Rhonda, I do that too. The hubs and I went to Jefferson, TX last fall (to do his photography stuff) and, lo and behold, they had a ghost tour. Unfortunately, the days we were there, it wasn’t running. Anyway, the point is, I live for the ghost tours too. Such a fun part of any vacation.

    • Jess, I’ve been on the New Orleans ghost tour. I even have a book of French Quarter ghosts that tells most of those stories. I totally think you should do a blog feature on it. And who cares if it’s gory? That’s what makes it seem real. :D

      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Awesome! I would totally spend the night in a haunted hotel. I am scared to death of scary/horror movies, but ghosts or cemeteries have never scared me. They seem natural. I grew up in a small country town where we hung out at cemeteries all the time. One of my friends in high school swore her house was haunted and she would always see a little girl and an old man every once in a while. Her mom saw them too. Although I’ve never seen anything like that, I believe stuff like that can happen.

    • I share your love of cemeteries. Sometimes haunted places weird me out. I have a hard time breathing. It feels like something heavy is sitting on my chest. Other times, I’m totally unbothered.

      I love visiting the cemetery where I have my plot. My ancestors started the cemetery in the late 1800s, and it’s just neat. I always feel very peaceful there. Which is why I bought a plot. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by.

  16. That’s very interesting, Catie! I have always wanted to see a ghost but I get startled easily. *sigh* The video definitely gave me some solid goosies. I hope they don’t translate in my dreams… I’m enjoying your posts so far, research seems to agree with you. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • That video is *creepy*. I’ve never actually seen a ghost, either. I’ve felt pretty odd in some places, and I’ve seen flashes out of the corner of my eye. I’ve never lucky (or unlucky?) enough to see anything I wish I hadn’t seen.

      Thanks for stopping by. :D

  17. on ,
    P Dunham said:

    Obsessed with the Baker, I enjoy going for walks to look for paranormal activity around the hotel. Would very much like to go inside for a tour.

    • Me too! I don’t get to that part of Texas often, so I’ve never seen The Baker in person. I’d totally do the travel from Houston to tour it if I got the chance. :D