The Baker Hotel is an abandoned hotel that towers over the small city of Mineral Wells Texas. The Hotel opened its doors to the public on November 9. 1929. The Baker included features such as an advanced hydraulic system that circulated ice water to all 450 guest rooms, lighting and fans that turned on and off when the guests entered/left their rooms, valet compartment in the rooms where guests deposied their laundry and the staff didn’t have to enter the room, two ballrooms, in-house beauty shop, bowling alley, gymnasium, outdoor swimming pool, and a 3rd floor spa.
Image source: Wiki Commons
1930s at The Baker Hotel
The hotel opened it doors just a few weeks before the 1929 stock market crash and was successful through out the 1930s. The main reason for the Baker’s success was mostly for its top tier health spa. Do to its popularity, popular celebrities such as Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Lyndon B. Johnson stayed at the hotel. There are even rumors that Bonnie and Clyde may have stayed there.
In 1934, T.B Baker filed for bankruptcy and passed control of the Baker Hotel to his nephew Earl Baker who was also the manager of the Baker’s Gunter Hotel in San Antonio.
The 1940s: The Baker Hotel and the War
As the 1930s ended, so did Mineral Wells reputation as a health spa destination. As the Baker Hotel’s popularity declined, it once again gain in popularity when Fort Wolters military base opened in October of 1940. The fort was the largest infantry placement during World War II. During the war, the hotel became a temporary home for some.
1950s – 1970s The Baker Hotel and its Decline
In 1945 Fort Wolters was closed and the hotel’s business started to suffer once again. Then in 1951, Fort Wolters reopened as a helicopter base and help bring the hotel more business. Then in 1952 and 1955 the Baker Hotel hosted the Texas Republican Party conventions. In 1954, the Texas Democratic Party held their convention in 1954 at the hotel.
Even with being able to land the conventions, business still declined through the 1950s. Then the owner, Earl Baker, announced he would be closing the hotel on his seventieth birthday in 1963.
On April 30, 1963, Earl Baker did as he promised and closed the hotel. But in 1965, a group of local investors reopened the Hotel under lease from the Baker family. But the reopening would be short lived. In 1967, Earl Baker passed away in the Baker Suite. Along with the death of Earl Baker and few other issues, the hotel was not successful.
In 1972, the Baker Hotel closed its doors for the last time.
The Baker Hotel in its Current State
From the little research I did, I found that in August 2010 that Hunter Chase Private Equity was to purchase and reopen the Baker. The renovation was estimated to coast over $50,000 and should take about two years. The Baker Hotel Development Team and Hunter Chase Private Equity have plans to bring the hotel back to life once they have the funds to complete the project.
Recently, I took a trip out to visit the Baker Hotel. Although I didn’t go inside, I could look through the Windows and see the decay of a building that has been vacant for more than two decades. Most of the bottom floor windows and doors were bored up, but surprisingly one of the doors windows near the front entrance had been knocked out.
I took several shots from that opening. I could see there had been some attempts at renovation or at least some repairs made in the last few years. It was a dark inside, so it was hard to make out details, but it looked as if maybe there was some construction equipment inside left behind or possibly waiting to be used in the near future.
The Baker Hotel
Even though I have only been to the Baker Hotel once, it is one of my favorite places to visit. I am always looking for tours that allow visitors and photographers access to the structure (haven’t found any yet) and have plans to visit the hotel again next time I’m in Fort Worth or anywhere near Mineral Wells.
The Baker Hotel is a favorite spot for Urbex Photographers and there are plenty of pictures out there of the inside of the building. At some point, this once beautiful building will be restored to its former glory or it will have to be destroyed like so many other great buildings in the DFW area.
Images of the Abandoned Baker Hotel
Below and through out the article, there are a few images of the Baker Hotel I took back in October of 2012. That trip was really just a scouting trip and I have plans to come back with my camera gear and take better pictures. To see the complete set and any future images, check out the entire set on Flickr.