On our way to Santa Fe in 2010, John and I came upon a beautiful old hotel in Mineral Wells that captured our attention.
This a little bit of its history:
Earl Baker said that when his 70th birthday came he would close the doors of the Baker. True to his word on April 30, 1963, Earl closed the doors of the Baker Hotel. This put 250 people out of a job and ruined the social life of the citizens of Mineral Wells. In August of 1963, the Hotel went on the auction block. Bidding was very light and nothing really came of it. In 1965 a group of local leaders formed the Civic Development Corporation and reopened the Hotel paying Earl Baker a monthly check for the use of the hotel. While visiting the hotel on December 3rd of 1967, Earl Baker was discovered in the Baker Suite after having a heart attack. He was rushed to the nearby Nazareth Hospital but died later that day. The Baker Hotel closed again in 1972 due to slim profits. Today (i.e., 2010) the Baker Hotel of Mineral Wells sits empty waiting for someone to give it new life. The stores on the ground floor were available to rent out and the lobby floor was rented out for weddings and meetings. Tours were given by volunteers well versed in the hotel’s history. Sadly the roof of the hotel is in need of repairs and leaks have caused great damage to the “Grand Old Lady” of Mineral Wells. Many people fall in love with the Baker and have the desire to repair her but sadly to restore her would cost around thirty million dollars. So the Baker sits waiting for the day that someone will again restore her to glory. Perhaps apartments, a museum or even a retirement home would be a good choice to continue the life of the Baker. The current owner of the Baker Hotel is Greg Horn of Phoenix.
Now to 2017:
The city of Mineral Wells, Texas – in conjunction with multiple partners and developers – is proud to present a new Baker Hotel and Spa experience. As a tribute to its storied past as one of Texas’ most famous historic hotels. The Baker Hotel is being resurrected and restored to resemble its former glory – complete with a beautifully-preserved hotel facility, a fully-renovated collection of 157 guest rooms, the revival of the hotel’s famous natural spring spas, world-class business and convention facilities, over 11,000 sq.ft. of retail space and so much more.
Baker Hotel History
Historically known for the legendary healing properties of the water, The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas was opened in 1929, two weeks after the great stock market crash.
Rising 14 floors, The Baker Hotel was the first skyscraper built outside of a major metropolitan area. Costing $1.2 million to build, the hotel was developed by Texas entrepreneur T.B. Baker and featured progressive hotel amenities including the first Olympic size hotel swimming pool, air conditioning, circulating ice water for the guest rooms, automatic light controls to turn off lights when guests leave the room and lock their doors, and valet doors for dry cleaning to keep hotel employees from disturbing the guests.
Doing well throughout the Great Depression, the Baker hosted many celebrity music performers such as Lawrence Welk, Jack Amlung, Herbie Kaye, Guy Lombardo, Mary Martin and Paul Whiteman and a long list of legendary guests including Lyndon Johnson, Pat Boone, Jack Dempsey, Marlene Dietrich, Dale Evans, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Will Rogers, Roy Rogers, Elliot Roosevelt, the Three Stooges, and Bonnie and Clyde.
The Baker Hotel Vision
The developer’s vision for the new renovated Baker Hotel is to honor the rich past of the hotel while celebrating a new beginning.
Blending the old with the new, the new Baker Hotel will bring forth a treasure reborn with expanded guest rooms, gracious public spaces, fully equipped meeting rooms and most importantly, the renewal of the famous mineral water spas.
A key component to modernizing the hotel will be to adapt the hotel to the lifestyle of today’s guest. Reflecting great formality in its early years, the new Baker Hotel will artistically weave a regional flavor into the artwork and furnishings of this beautiful Spanish Colonial building, making the Texas casual guest feel as much at home as the guest attending the most formal of events such as a wedding
Changes – Then & Now
• The pool and the fountain will likely remain.
• Instead of 450 rooms, it will scale down to 155.
• The street-level floor will have about 11,000 square feet of retail space and a diner and coffee shop seating about 80 people. This is where the kitchen is currently located.
• The main kitchen will be moved to the lobby floor, where the serving will be done.
• The Brazos Room will serve as a pre-function space next to the 15,000-square-foot ballroom.
• The lobby will be brought back to its original glory.
• Patton said that they want to bring the Rose Room back, and they plan to remove several faux walls to open up that space.
• The kitchen will be in the back, close to the banquet room.
• Floors three through nine will be downsizing from 40 small rooms to 21 larger rooms of about 450 square feet. The standard room will be junior suite size.
• The porte-cochere area on the lobby floor will be separate from the rest of the floor and used as an extension of the upstairs spa.
• The mezzanine level will be used as a check-in area.
• Plans include restoring the Presidential Suite on the 10th floor.
• The Baker Suite will be restored on the 11th floor. Meeting rooms will be on the same floor with a set of stairs that lead to the Cloud Room. The plan is to open up one area of that room.
• The current gymnasium space will become a meeting space with breakout rooms and a small kitchen in the back.
• The women’s and men’s area spas will be separate. A fitness area will be added. The spa will be about 14,000 square feet.
• Meeting and conference space will be about 20,000 square feet
• Baker Hotel | 200 East Hubbard Street | Mineral Wells, Texas
• Copyright ©2014-2017 The Baker Hotel, Baker Hotel Renovation Project Team. All rights reserved.
If you get a chance to visit this grand old hotel, don’t miss it!
Meanwhile, don’t miss out on our other website for bold and beautiful handmade jewelry: https://gibsongrafe.com