Wednesday, March 18, 2009
America's Most Haunted Hotel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Whether you believe in such things or not, there is no doubt that most Southerners enjoy a good ghost story.
One of the best places to hear some unique ones is at the beautiful and historic Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Built in 1886 to cater to a rich and elite clientel that came to the mineral water spas for which the city was once famous, the Crescent featured beautifully landscaped grounds, elegant dining, carriage rides and even "tea dances."
As America's fascination with the supposedly curative powers of spring water faded, however, the hotel fell on hard times. By the late 1930s, it was in the hands of "Dr." Norman Baker, a radio station owner and former manager of a "mind reading show." Baker came to Eureka Springs to convert the Crescent into an elegant medical facility where he performed a variety of unusual procedures on patients who came to willingly pay for an alleged "cancer cure" that he promoted far and wide. It was, of course, a fraud.
Indicted on Federal mail fraud charges, Baker was sentenced to prison at Leavenworth. During his trial it was revealed that, despite the fact that it operated during the darkest days of the Great Depression, he cleared an estimated $4,000,000 at his pseudo-medical facility.
Once again a beautiful and romantic hotel that overlooks the charming Victorian city, the Crescent Hotel is a focal point for ghost stories, many of which revolve around the structure's association with "Dr." Baker. Some have proclaimed it as "America's Most Haunted Hotel." To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/crescenthotel.