Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baker Hotel–The heart of a town

 

Jason Grant Photography

Image source: Jason Grant Photography

See that gorgeous building up there? That’s the Baker Hotel. The heart of my small hometown, Mineral Wells, Texas. It no longer beats. It was built in the 20’s and has sat vacant since the 60’s. You see my town used to be a thriving resort town. People from all over the country would come to drink the miraculous healing mineral waters. They called it Crazy Water, because it could heal the insane. The story goes that a female member of one our founding families was cured of insanity when she drank the water. Curious enough, years later they actually found lithium in the water.  A compound used to treat the mentally ill.

Image source: Jason Grant Photography <--------(Cool slide show with more photos)

That huge monolith of a building sits right in the middle of the small town. To say it’s an odd site is an understatement. The town only has a population of about 16,000. The entire county only has a population of about 30,000.  So, it has a tendency to stop people in their tracks when they drive through our small town. Everyone wants to know how this huge ornate building came to exist out here in the middle of nowhere.

Middle of nowhere. Nowhere. That’s where I’m from.

*SIGH*

That’s the problem. When the Baker Hotel died, my town slowly started dying. Our heart quit beating. People left and didn’t come back. Other people forgot who we were. Then they opened up the new Interstate 20 Highway, which bypassed our town. Now people even forgot where we were.

Middle of nowhere.

Why am I telling you guys about this? How is this Halloween or Haunt related? Well, it’s a nice story for any haunt and it has a lot of inspiring haunt related scenery. Call it inspiration if you want. Anyone ever rode the Tower of Terror at Disney? Well, you are looking at a real life version. Supposedly, the place is haunted now. Really, the place just means a lot to me and I want to spread the word.

Good news! There may be hope for the Baker. A group of investors wants to restore the hotel. I’m not jumping up and down about the news yet, because our town has been burned in the past. So, I am cautiously optimistic and will be watching closely.  A high school classmate is producing a film exploring “ the unique history & characters of Mineral Wells while also focusing on The Baker Hotel’s rise, demise, and much-anticipated present-day restoration.”

Take a look at the preview of the film below:

Do you hear that?

I swear I heard the faint sound of a heartbeat.

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