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 Harlow, Glenn Miller, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence 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.
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.
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.
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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.