Through My Lens: The Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, TX

The Baker Hotel opened in Mineral Wells, TX in 1927 in response to the growing popularity of the town’s mineral water. It became an iconic destination for travelers, with the likes of Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Bonnie and Clyde, and various other notables visiting. Earl Baker closed the hotel in 1972, on his 70th birthday, and it has been abandoned ever since. There have been attempts to re-open the hotel to revive what has since become a dying town, however, none of them have prevailed.

My design class has had the opportunity to visit the hotel twice now, as it is the site of our senior project. The 13 of us are all designing our projects with the goal of ‘reviving’ the Baker Hotel, and subsequently the town of Mineral Wells, TX. Although our projects won’t be implemented, there is currently a grassroots  campaign to revive the Baker. To learn more about it, visit

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30 thoughts on “Through My Lens: The Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, TX

  1. Natina says:

    Your photographs are absolutely stunning! Much success to you and the others goal on trying to revive the historic hotel!!

  2. Beautiful photos! This hotel was probably gorgeous in its heyday and has been left to fall apart now for years.

  3. jotaemebede says:

    Amazing serie! I feel as if I had been there… Thank you.

  4. dearestbeloved says:

    Where I live there are many buildings that are no longer fit for the their original purpose. We have office blocks, mansion houses, hotels, etc that are converted into accommodation, either for students or front-line workers (emergency services), or luxury apartments. They quickly get snapped, but I live in the centre of a city. However, in the UK there seems to be a resurgence of all things natural and spa towns are really taking off again. The time will come … what ideas have your class come up with so far?

  5. Cheryl says:

    Love the idea! When you’re finished with this project, there is a smaller but equally majestic hotel sitting vacant in Eastland, TX – just west from Mineral Wells on I-20. It was built during the height of the Texas oil boom in the early 1900’s. Besides hotels in Texas, the only grand monuments were Court Houses, but most were torn down during the Depression. We should try and save the few gems Texas has left!!

  6. HornedFrogNana says:

    Many(many!) years ago, as a high school freshman, my best friend and I and her family stopped there for breakfast one morning. Afterward, we roamed the lobby upstairs from the restaurant. I will always remember the “loud” red patterned carpet (I think you can probably still see remnants of it if you’ve had the priviledge of going inside lately). I worked with a wonderful old gentleman in MW who used to work at the Baker during its heyday. He had an absolutely wonderful scrapbook of everything “Baker” including pictures of many of the celebrities. The stories he has to tell! Amazing.

  7. Sara says:

    My great-grand-mother worked there from the day it opened to the day it closed. my family paid to tour it back in the early 2000s and it was really eroding, but now it is even more so. I know my mom and aunts would love to see this place up and running again, our family has so many memories there, and i know we would love to show them to the next generation.

    • Beatriz Palacios says:

      Hi, I am doing an informative speech for a college class. I would love to get information about the hotel from someone rather than internet. May you share some things your great-grand-mother has told you about the hotel

  8. janine says:

    I have been obsessed with this hotel since I moved to Texas in 2004. I’m a photographer also and would give anything to capture her. Would you consider letting me join you in a photo session there? I have only been able to photograph her from the outside and through windows. I drive from killeen every few months just to get my Baker Hotel fix. Such an amazing landmark that needs to be brought back to life. Would love to be a part of that endeavor. Thanks for sharing your photos.


    • Hi Janine,
      I was able to enter because of my senior project–however, I’m sure if you contact someone on the city council you may be able to arrange a way to get let in to photograph it. Hope that helps!

  9. leellen williams says:

    we took a private tour thru the baker with jane several years ago. it was amazing. i wish that it could be saved. cant explain the feeling that comes over you,when you are walking the halls and climbing the old staircase. got lots of good pics and memories. like the guy that came out of nowhere when we were in the medical ward,then vanished once we stepped out on the sidewalk when the tour was over. still gives me chicken skin. lol

  10. Marnie Tunay says:

    very nice pictures, Sarah. original perspective.

  11. Leslie says:

    I had the fortune to be able to photograph the inside. I fell in love with her at first glance even before I went inside. When I went inside she became a part of me. I miss her.

  12. Helen says:

    This is a wonderful tour of the hotel. We were in MW two days ago. We’re told there is Lithium in the water which could have contributed to its popularity. Even tho at the time people were unaware of that. A majestic testimony to our wonderful country. Should be restored in some way. Thank you so much.

  13. patricia peters says:

    Theres Talk Of Restoring The Baker, Investors Are In Talks With The bank.. To Restore Her Exactly How She Was…

  14. Debbie says:

    I’ve always wondered what this once-vibrant (and still hauntingly beautiful) historic building looked like on the inside. Oh, the stories that she could tell… Thank-you so much for sharing your stunning photographs. I travel to Mineral Wells from time to time. I hope that she can be restored to her former glory! Please email me should there be a follow-up or additional information.

  15. Jo says:

    Sara, your photography is very interesting and tells a wonderful story! I live in Palo Pinto county, and get to drive by the Baker often – it definitely calls to you and begs to be revived!

  16. Jane Porter says:

    These are amazing. I’m a novelist that has written several books set in Palo Pinto County and Parker County and I have been so intrigued by this hotel, Thank you for giving me a glimpse inside. Just incredible. I would love these as a photo book to leaf through again and again.

  17. Christian Garcia, Tourism Sales and Marketing Associate- Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce says:

    Would you be willing to let the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce use some of your photos of the Baker Hotel? We are currently gathering pictures to redecorate the offices and people would love to see these pictures I’m sure. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me: 940-325-2557 or

  18. Donna Summerfield says:

    I remember vacationing at the Baker Hotel with my parents when I was a child. I love the beautiful swimming pool. Do you know if it’s still there?

  19. Christian Garcia, Tourism Sales and Marketing Associate- Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce says:

    Sarah, I am so sorry I miss placed your email if you could email me again it would be greatly appreciated. So sorry for the inconvenience!

  20. Cassie Van Zee says:

    Im in a advanced photography class and i would absolutely love to take pictures here. Could you give me the name of the person you contacted? Were doing a midterm project and my friends and I love taking pictures of places like these. Also do you know of any other places in Texas that are abandoned that we could get into?

    • Hi Cassie, So sorry that I am just now seeing this! I went with my class at TCU and wasn’t involved in organizing it…I would suggest calling someone at the city to see if you can get in! Hope this helps. All the best :)

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