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 Texas : Architecture : Rooms with a Past
ROOMS WITH A PAST - TEXAS HOTELS BUILT BEFORE 1950

BAKER HOTEL
Mineral Wells, Texas

c. 1929
Wyatt C. Hendrick and Co. Architects



by Johnny Stucco

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The Baker Hotel - Mineral Wells, Texas  old  post card
"Just wanted to share this picture of Mineral Wells' Baker Hotel. Was sent to our grandfather L.H. Allard Cement, Oklahoma who was a cook all his life. His family moved around a lot. Post card was from Gillard which said come could use a good capable cook, dated by mail Jan. 23, 1942." - Sheri Miller, October 14, 2006
The Baker was built by hotel magnate T. B. Baker who already owned the Baker in Dallas and the Saint Anthony in San Antonio. The Crazy Well Hotel AKA The Crazy Hotel had proven that the business was there in Mineral Wells. When the Crazy burned in 1925 - a more lavish hotel was planned with twice the number of stories of the Crazy and more than twice the number of rooms.

The "new" Crazy - rebuilt on the foundations of the old - had 7 stories and 200 rooms compared to the Baker's 14 stories and 450 rooms. The Baker had 11 floors for rooms with space for 50 "apartments" above the main roofline. These premium rooms had the benefit of the rooftop "solarium."
Baker Hotel today, Mineral Wells, Texas
The Baker Hotel today
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Dallas TX Baker Hotel old post card
The Baker Hotel in Dallas
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
St. Anthony Hotel, San Antonio old post card
St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
The Baker was modeled after the Arlington Hotel which still operates in Hot Springs, Arkansas - also built by Wyatt Hendrick. The Baker opened it's doors just two weeks after the stock market crash of 1929. It filed for bankruptcy in 1932, but new owners kept the building open. It served as military dependent quarters from 1941 to 1944 and remained open until 1963.

It reopened briefly from 1965-1972 but the doors have been shut since then.
Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, Texas, post card
The Baker Hotel c. 1948

TE Postcard Archives
Arlington Hotel, Hot Springs, Arkansas
The Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas

TE Postcard Archives
The public's taste, increased mobility and changing values made the Baker a relic of an earlier age. It was a lively place while it was open, though, with celebraties like Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow, Helen Keller and even the Three Stooges (Shemp, however, was reportedly asked to stay elsewhere). One brochure states that it was the 2nd hotel in the U.S. to have a pool - but that seems unlikely.

Entertainers that performed at the Baker included Lawrence Welk, Pat Boone, Mary Martin, Judy Garland and Paul Whiteman (and his orchestra).
Baker Hotel lobby, Mineral Wells, Texas
Baker Hotel lobby
Photo courtesy TXDoT
The building has been described by various writers as "The Grand old Lady of Mineral Wells," "a red-topped UFO," and a "cathedral." Prof. Jay Henry, author of Texas Architecture 1895-1945 unsentimentally calls it "essentially a slab of guest rooms with public spaces at the base." The one thing that is agreed upon is the hotel's dominance of the Mineral Wells skyline.
Mineral Wells Texas bird's-eye view
A bird's-eye view c. 1948

TE Postcard Archives
Mr. Baker had his 3 bedroom, five-bath apartment on the 7th floor. A place that is reportedly haunted by the ghost of his mistress. Even today, with it's ghosts, broken windows and bats, it's easy to imagine the hotel's salad days in the 1930s when anyone with $35 dollars could get a week's stay with baths, massages and all the water they could keep down.

The Crazy Hotel, once reduced to second-class status by the Baker, has had the last laugh, since it remains open. It is currently in use as a retirement home. The Baker remains in good shape despite a leaking roof and is still on the market - perhaps the biggest real estate white elephant in Texas.

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The Baker Hotel Today

Cactus  grows on Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells TX
Cactus grows on the Baker Hotel
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
MineralWells TX Baker HotelT ower
Baker Hotel top
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Mineral Wells TX Baker Hotel Details
Architectural details
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Mineral WellsT X Baker Hotel Behind Fence
Parting view of the Baker
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Baker Hotel top, Mineral Wells Texas
One more glance at the top
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Baker Hotel top
Baker Hotel top
Photo courtesy Paul Cox, 2-2-2005
Baker Hotel entrance
Baker Hotel entrance
Photo courtesy Paul Cox, 2-2-2005
Baker Hotel  front view
Baker Hotel front
Photo courtesy Paul Cox, 2-2-2005
Baker Hotel  interior view
Baker Hotel interior
Photo courtesy Paul Cox, 2-2-2005
Baker Hotel garage, Mineral Wells Texas
Baker Hotel garage
Photo courtesy Paul Cox, 2-2-2005
Photographers' Note:
Subject: Mineral Wells Baker Hotel
Somehow the one with the cactus bothered me. Kind of like the end of the line. I doubt that this place will ever have another life. - Mike Price, December 2007

Subject: Baker Hotel Lobby etc.
I saw the articles on the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells on your site about a month ago when a friend mentioned that he would like to go see the town. I have always been interested in grand old buildings and so I brought along my camera to take some pics.

I was able to get a pic of what the lobby looks like today by adjusting my camera settings and holding it right up to the glass on the front doors. It is easy to imagine what it looked like in its heyday (which makes its current state all the more poignant). I also took a picture of what used to be the hotel's garage across the street. As you can see, the "B" is clearly visible over the doors.

I hope that the town decides to do something with it as it is a beautiful building. Unfortunately, from the current state of the rest of the town, that may not be an option. Thanks - Paul Cox, Dallas, TX, February 26, 2005

More on The Baker Hotel

  • The Ghosts of the Baker Hotel
  • Haunting Photos of the Baker Hotel

    See also
  • Ghosts of the Crazy Water Hotel
  • Mineral Wells, Texas
  • Mineral Wells Trip - From Weatherford to Palo Pinto County
  • Mineral Wells Hotels - Book Here & Save

    Related Topic:
  • Rooms with a Past
  • Texas Architecture
  • John Troesser
    First published August 2002

    Baker Hotel Forum:

  • Subject: Baker Hotel Piano
    Dear TE, I have the 1928 William Knabe 5' 8" Grand Piano out of the lobby of the Baker Hotel, in Mineral Wells. It must be haunted. I have had it for 20 years and cannot get anyone to even come and look at it. Something is up. I now have it for sale and would really like to get it out of my home. Help please. - Michael Anderson, Weatherford, Texas (817) 596-0550, November 16, 2006

  • Mineral Well's Baker Hotel
    Dear TE: I am trying to contact your contributors Bob Hopkins, Jason Grant, [or anyone] with information on the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells. The building has become something of an obsession for me, and I'm planning on making a documentary film. The problem is- the historical society / chamber of commerce/ city council pretty much refuse comment on or [provide information] about the hotel. I was told the owner lives in Arizona and is "tired of dealing with the hotel" so I am hoping that some of your readers might put me in contact with someone who has access to the building. The Baker is too important to North Texas history, and too beautiful to have its doors closed forever. Anyone who can provide information on the hotel, please contact me at: texas.rambler@yahoo.com, - Jessica Golden, Grapevine, Texas, September 01, 2006

  • I would just like you to know that the Hotel has been closed by the Fire Marshall. I guess due to the lack of up to date fire prevention.

    When I was there looking at the out side of the building I felt like I was back in time. It is wonderful to look at and it seemed to draw me near to it. I wanted to go in some how. I hope that they will reopen it to tours at least. I will continue to look on your web site to see any new info on the Baker Hotel. Thanks - Bobbie Taylor, Houston, December 26, 2003
  • Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, 2005
  • I certainly enjoyed Jason Grant's photos of this old hotel. Last July, after leaving Alexander, I saw this shot looming on the horizon. So as we topped the next hill I shot this picture from about 5 miles south of the building. Just another view of a part of the once magical era of Crazy Water Crystals. - Ken Rudine, October 21, 2005

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