Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Crescent Hotel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

In the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas in 1884, construction began on a grand hotel on West Mountain.  Eureka Springs, Arkansas was a popular spot known all over for the healing powers of its waters and the purpose of the hotel was to give these travelers a luxurious place to stay.  The building was completed in 1886 and hotel would become known as The Crescent Hotel. However, what people in Eureka Springs would not know is that it would become one of the most haunted hotels in America.

The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas 1886

The hotel was a very popular place to stay.  It became known as "The Grand Old Lady of the Ozarks" and it was taken over by the Frisco Railroad around the turn of the century.  They leased the hotel until 1908 when the increase in car ownership plus the fact that the word got out that the waters of Eureka Springs did not have much healing power at all, marked the end of the hotel's hey day.  It was then that the building changed hands and became the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women.  It was basically a girls school for the upper class.  However, the school could not afford the operating costs and it closed.  The old Crescent Hotel then served as a summer retreat leased by various companies until 1930 when the more ominous history of the building would take over.

The Crescent Hotel was a popular place to come and stay to take advantage of Eureka Springs' healing waters

Dr. Norman Baker, became a self-made millionaire by inventing a pipe organ that did not require steam.  He professed to be a doctor and claimed to have invented various medicines or "elixirs" they turned out to be, that would cure people.  He was run out of Iowa after having been convicted of practicing medicine without a license.  In 1930, he moved to Arkansas and purchased The Crescent Hotel building and proceeded to convert it into a hospital for cancer patients, destroying much of the hand crafted wood work by painting over it in unusual colors.

Allegedly, Baker claimed that he invented an medicine made simply by using the water from the local springs and other ingredients that would cure cancer.  Many people afflicted with cancer flocked to his hospital to receive treatment.  As a result, many people died there.  Some say that he even did strange experiments on the dead and living.  When the experimental patients would die, he would attempt to hide it.

The infamous "Dr." Norman Baker believed to be responsible for many deaths or doing little to prevent the deaths of cancer patients in his hospital which was formerly The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

In 1940 the law caught up with "Dr." Norman Baker and he was sent to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.  He then disappeared into history.  The hospital building sat empty during the entire periods of World War II.  Afterwards however, investors purchased the building and set about restoring the building to it's former grandeur.  it flourished for several decades but became a little run down.  In 1997 it was sold and was fully restored.  However, the hotel guests are not the only ones staying at The Crescent Hotel.

The spectacular Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas stands out on the mountain side

Over the years many witnesses have spotted people wearing Victorian era clothing as if they were dressed for dancing in various places in the hotel including within mirrors, but mostly what is now The Crystal Dining Room.  This room previously served as the hotel's ball room.

Room 218 is said to be the most haunted in the hotel.  An Irish workman who fell to his death during the original 1880s construction.  His scream for help as he is falling has been heard within the walls of this room. His body came to rest where room 218 is today. Other paranormal occurrences such as doors slamming shut on their own have also occurred, believed to be caused by a poltergeist.

It is however, the many hospital patients who died in the hospital that is believed to haunt it the most.  Many have been seen wandering the interior of the hotel and there is not just a few.  Reports of many different ghosts and spirit are said to roam the halls of The Crescent Hotel.  In fact some say there are "legions" of ghosts roaming the premises thanks to Dr. Baker.  Also, more than one person has claimed to have seen nurses pushing gurney's and disappearing into a walls.

The hotel is open today as The Crescent Hotel & Spa and is located on 75 Prospect Avenue.  The waters of Eureka Springs may not really have healing powers, but one thing is for sure, if you stay at The Crescent, you just may get healing of a "spiritual" nature!

The Crescent Hotel & Spa is haunted by many spirits of it's past

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