The Baker Hotel

Baker Hotel

This past week I spent a morning exploring some unknown (to me) parts of North Texas. I had heard about a historical hotel that had been boarded up for quite some time.  So, I drove west from Dallas for about 80 miles to check out the legendary Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells.

The hotel had opened in 1929, just a few weeks after the stock market crash. However, the hotel prospered even during the Great Depression due to the famed mineral waters of the city of Mineral Wells. With 14 floors, it was the first “skyscraper” built out of a major metropolitan area. As I drove into town I could see in the distance, it was indeed, still standing tall, and strangely proud over the much smaller and insignificant buildings surrounding it.

Over the years, the hotel hosted many famous performers and actors. But the high times wouldn’t last forever. In the 1940’s Mineral Wells reputation for its health spas began to deteriorate and the Baker Hotel along with it. After struggling along for a couple of decades, the once grand hotel finally closed its doors in 1972. Over the recent years there has been talks of renovations and bringing the hotel back to its former glory, but when I visited last Friday, it seemed hard to believe that it could ever come to fruition.

Baker Hotel-2

During my exploration, I spent more time walking around just visually absorbing the place, more so than taking photos. There was definitely an aura about the place. It didn’t feel particularly sad, just mysterious and even a tad majestic. How could such a once stately place be left to such despair and ruin? Where was the respect it deserved? Would we ever witness how impressive it could be again? Would the chandeliers (still inside) once again sparkle and shine? Would exotic rugs and rich woods once again delight its guests?

Baker Hotel-3

What would it take to bring it back to its former glory? If the exterior was any testament, I can only imagine what toll the years have taken on the inside. I only got a few glimpses inside, through shattered windows and bent bars, and it was clear the place had been ravaged, not only by time, but by vandals, too. It was quite obvious there were many ways to get inside. And, oddly enough, I didn’t see “no trespassing” signs anywhere around the property.

Baker Hotel-4

Perhaps someday I’ll go back, when I’m not alone, feeling a bit braver and it isn’t mosquito season, to see if I can get a better look inside of this charmingly mysterious and once grand, hotel.

Sonja Quintero

Squint Photography

To see more of my fine art work go here.

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