A Tour Through Mineral Wells' Baker Hotel As It's Prepped for Its Makeover
|As Rawlings pointed out, it's unclear whether you pay to spank or get spanked in here.|
Mineral Wells' Crazy Water, the stuff they still bottle and sell today, was the hotel's main draw when it opened, and people would stay for weeks at a time to get cured. (Hence the Baker's old slogan: "Where America drinks its way back to health.") Along with the mineral water, the hotel spa included a host of oddball treatments.
According to redevelopment plans, some of the old equipment will stay in a second-floor museum, while the rest of the space will be upgraded to suit more modern tastes. "You're not gonna bring someone from the Metroplex and get them to pay for Hostel 4 or Saw XXII," Rawlings says, "where you've gotta know a secret word in Dutch just to get something taken out of your rear."
For a more in-depth look at the old spa gear, from the 'leg gyrator' and the 'bun-splitter' to the coin-op colonic machine, check back soon for a slideshow of more photos.
|The 'rump-shaker' is one of the first machines you'll find as you enter the spa.|
From the third to the ninth floors, the hotel's pretty much the same, full of small hotel rooms that'll have to be expanded when the place reopens. Most rooms are littered with decomposing red party cups, empty 40's and beer cans among the stained mattresses and broken bedsprings.
Higher up, we made our way to the suite where Bonnie and Clyde once stayed, then up into the penthouse suites.
|"That's where a dead 'coon laid for a while, behind that nasty thing," Rawlings said, pointing out the dark patch of dead maggots. "He was kinda like our mascot for a while. Back when it was cold, he didn't smell so bad."|
|Even Bonnie and Clyde's old digs haven't been spared from the penis graffiti motif.|
At the far end of one hallway, the carpet stops -- this is the suite of rooms where Bonnie and Clyde's gang holed up in the Baker, with hard flooring outside the rooms so they could hear anyone approaching.
Up on the 10th and 11th floors, the Presidential Suite and the Baker Suite have been spared the '50s lime-green carpeting, but are pretty well run-down too.
|Rawlings opens up a Prohibition-era liquor hooch stash in the Baker suite, where the owner lived when he stayed in Mineral Wells.|
|Probably the scariest thing I found in the hotel, a fake head on a shelf. It was tied to a rope running up to a light in the ceiling above it, where someone must've left it to hang.|