Thought Number One: The 1886 Crescent Hotel
Built in 1886, the Crescent Hotel and Spa was built by Irish stonemasons in the Ozark Mountain town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. When the doors opened, the hotel catered to the “carriage set” of people living in and traveling through the town during the Victorian Era. It was a destination for the rich and famous. Tea dances were held in the afternoon while dance parties were held at night, with music from the in-house orchestra. For many years, the hotel enjoyed prosperity as a year-round resort for those seeking the healing properties of the springs that seem to be abundant all over Arkansas.
By 1908, the hotel was in decline and was opened as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. It catered to wealthy young women while still
catering to the tourist crowd, but neither this nor the astronomical tuition charged to the students was enough to keep up with the constant upkeep and repairs needed. The school closed in 1924. In 1930 it reopened as a junior college for four years.
It wasn't until 1937 that The Crescent Hotel entered it's most notorious period.
|our arrival to the hotel on the backside of the building|
Iowa-born Baker bought the hotel with the idea of turning it into a hospital and “health resort” despite his distinct lack of medical training. He was a charlatan with a history of swindling millions from individuals who believed in his cures for cancer and subsequent run ins with the American Medical Association.Baker was an entrepreneur, a con man, a salesman but the one thing he wasn't...was a doctor. Despite having all of his “cures” for cancer condemned by the AMA, Baker relocated his patients from Iowa to Arkansas with the story that no patient would need surgery to cure their cancer. Dr. Baker assured people that cancer was curable with the use of the area's mineral spring water and a concoction of his own invention. His remedy was injecting his patients with a formula of glycerin, carbonic acid, and alcohol mixed in a brewed tea of watermelon seed, brown corn silk and clover leaves.
|The front of the hotel taken from the trail that runs in front of it|
Thought Number Two: The Most Haunted Hotel In America
OK...I may be more than a little skeptical as far as "haunted hotels" go but because this hotel is supposedly chocked full of ghosts...who am I to deny their existence. Over the last two days, I have given them every opportunity to sway me from the "unsure-kind-of-person" to the "hot-damn-there-ARE-ghosts" kind of person. I have gone on not one BUT two ghost hunting excursions with a bunch of interesting people of varying belief levels. I have traipsed through the rooms that are known to have the most paranormal activity levels. I have gone into the portion of the hotel that once was a "pain asylum"...still no ghosts hanging around. I even hauled hubby down to the old morgue (now maintenance room) and turned off the lights...WTF...not one ghost had the initiative to throw me a bone (invisible or otherwise) to prove to me the place is haunted.
So far, the hotel seems not to be living up to it's reputation. I would think I deserve a huge discount but doubt that management shares my opinion.
Still...who knows there is still tonight.
(PS There are a number of books that have the stories of the resident ghosts including two that I bought down at the gift shop during my stay here. Haunted Hotels of the West by Bruce Raisch
and Night Journey by Goldie Browning.)
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