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Old October 25th, 2006, 08:56 PM   #1
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The Historic Baker Hotel - Mineral Wells, TX

Sometimes you find some interesting things on weekend roadtrips.
Just a short 60-mile drive west of Ft.Worth on US Hwy 180, is the tiny town of Mineral Wells (pop. 8000).
There stands what must be the largest structure of any kind in a city that small.

The Baker was built by hotel magnate T. B. Baker.
He already owned the Baker in Dallas and the Saint Anthony in San Antonio.

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.

Historical Source: TexasEscapes.com
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Old October 26th, 2006, 06:49 AM   #2
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Looks like a great building. It does stick out in a small town like that.
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Old October 26th, 2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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It has been empty for nearly 30 years and looks so clean?
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Old August 17th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #4
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Looks like it may be restored after all...

Austin hotelier Trigger to lead restoration of Mineral Wells' famous Baker Hotel
By Helen Anders
Updated: 8:19 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010
Published: 8:34 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

The man who restored Austin's Driskill and Dallas' Stoneleigh hotels to their former grandeur is now biting off a much tougher renovation assignment: the 79-year-old Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, about 50 miles west of Fort Worth.

"We're anticipating having a destination resort and spa," said Jeff Trigger, president of Austin-based La Corsha Hospitality, who will oversee the renovation and operate the hotel. The City of Mineral Wells will buy the hotel for $2.2 million from its Arizona owner and put about $52 million more into its restoration.

The Baker, a 14-story behemoth with more than 400 rooms, has loomed large in Mineral Wells since hotelier W.T. Baker built it in 1929. Although it opened two weeks after the stock market crash, the lure of bathing in the area's lithium-rich "crazy water" drew celebrities such as Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich and the Three Stooges in the 1920s and 1930s. But in the 1940s, the stars stopped coming after the federal Food and Drug Administration ordered Mineral Wells to stop making medical claims about its waters.

Nobody has stayed there for 38 years, and the hotel has looked haunted for decades. Windows are broken, and cactus grows above the front entrance.

Southlake-based Hunter Chase Private Equity put together the team to bring the Baker back to life, including Trigger as operator, Austin-based HHCC as the contractor and Southlake-based Thiel and Thiel as architects and interior designers. Hunter Chase also is putting together the funding package, which is expected to include local tax incentives as well as federal tax credits. The group also is asking the Texas Department of Rural Affairs to qualify it for a $20 million federal Housing and Urban Development loan. The hotel is expected to create more than 400 jobs.

Kevin Pruitt of Austin is making a documentary about the history of the Baker, and the Hunter Chase group has been using its eight-minute trailer as a selling point for financing.

Trigger, with HHCC, renovated the Driskill Hotel and was its general manager until he left in 2006 to form La Corsha. He still operates the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas. La Corsha, which is also involved in redevelopment of the Seaholm Power Plant site in Austin, will open two restaurants in the Austonian condominium building in November. It is also planning to restore the 1930 Settles Hotel in Big Spring.

Trigger said the Baker Hotel's rooms will be expanded and number pared down to 155. There will also be meeting rooms. But the biggest venture is bringing back the mineral-water spa.

"The spa is a big component of the redevelopment," Trigger said. "Mineral Wells is about mineral wells." The third floor of the hotel will be a spa, he said, and there might also be mineral baths outdoors. The hotel's pool will also be restored. Construction would take at least two years, Trigger said.

"We're extremely excited," Mineral Wells City Manager Lance Howerton said. "The Baker Hotel dwarfs the entire landscape. We feel that the Baker is the answer to rejuvenating not only our downtown but our community." The city has a population of about 17,000.

The Baker Hotel filed for bankruptcy in 1932 but stayed open until 1963. Then it was reopened briefly between 1965 and 1972. It's been empty ever since. Its current owner is a partnership managed by Greg Horne of Phoenix.

[email protected]; 912-2590


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Old January 30th, 2017, 08:27 AM   #5
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I wonder if Mineral Wells, or any city with a population of 15,000, can support a hotel of this magnitude right now. The Baker Hotel has been vacant for almost 45 years, and plans for its renovation and reopening have never got off the ground. I think it is hard to believe that the Baker Hotel has actually been vacant longer than it was in business right now.
I honestly think all development projects must be sustainable and futureproof.

You support the good projects... and oppose the bad.
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