If you ever get a chance to visit Mineral Wells Texas, the one thing you will be sure to see is the Baker Hotel. It is certainly the first thing I look for on my trips there. The Baker hotel stands proud, a grand lady of yesteryear, and her presence draws you to her, still lovely as you imagine days gone by with dapper gentlemen and ladies dressed for an evening in the Brazos Room.
The Baker Hotel was built by T.B. Baker to be a spa and resort destination for the rich and famous. Even when it opened in November of 1929, her 14 stories and 450 rooms boasted the most modern of conveniences including air conditioning and an Olympic sized pool. One of the main attractions were the spas and the mineral waters which were thought to have curative powers for a host of ailments. The Baker Hotel was lavishly decorated with beautiful chandeliers, fine rugs, silk and velvet draperies, luxurious couches as well as painted alcoves and ornate tile work. She was truly a grand hotel in every sense of the word.
Once a spa to the rich and famous, she hosted the likes of Will Rogers, Judy Garland, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Guy Lombardo, Mary Martin, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Ernest Tubb, Sam Rayburn, President Lyndon Johnson, John Glenn, and even Bonnie and Clyde.
Earl M. Baker, nephew to T.B. closed the doors to the Baker Hotel on April 30, 1963. Since the hotel was designed and built by a structural engineer, the building is still sound after many years of neglect.
There are many who believe the Baker Hotel is still occupied by the ghosts of years past. Indeed, there have been numerous reports of opening and closing windows, unexplained lights, the whiff of perfume from a mistress rumored to have jumped from the 7th floor, voices such as a childlike “hi” and the smell of cigar smoke. Perhaps these visitors are drawn, as we are, to her past glory.