Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Most Excellent Adventure....Part II

Front Enrance to "The Grand Old Lady of the Ozarks"
The Grounds of the Crescent Hotel Are Beautiful, With a Lovely Chapel Just Down the Mountain 
After a whirlwind visit to Branson, Missouri on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Cindy and I turned our attention to the charming little burg of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Eureka Springs is about an hour south of Branson over winding, country roads.  The trip was relaxing and scenic.
The Massive Lobby Fireplace
We arrived in Eureka Springs about 1:00 and slowly drove the main streets of town...up, up, up the mountain past the edge of town, winding slowly up the mountain to the top, where we were greeted by the "Grand Old Lady of the Ozarks"---the Crescent Hotel, our accommodations for the evening.
Door to Our Room---201
The Crescent Hotel has a wonderful history.  It was built in 1886, and was originally a destination for the wealthy, who flocked to the area to bask in the healing waters of the area's natural springs.
Inside Our Room

Over the years, the hotel has been renovated several times, most recently in the period encompassing the past 13 years, after it was purchased by the current owner in 1997.

Balcony of Our Room Taken From the Back Grounds of the Hotel

View of The Crescent Hotel From the Backside
Without a doubt, the most infamous period of the hotel's existence was the 1937---1940 time frame.  Those were the years that the hotel was run by Dr Norman Baker, who turned the hotel into a hospital for cancer patients.

Dr Baker Claimed to Have Invented a Serum, which, Combined with X--Rays, Nutrition and the Area's Mineral Spring Water, Could Cure Cancer.  Apparently, Not Much Has Changed in the Past 70 Years.

That may sound like a noble pursuit, but unfortunately, in Dr Baker's case, it was anything but.  Touting a serum he had concocted as a "cure" for cancer, this quack lured thousands of patients from all over America.  Once he had their money, the patients were put in an asylum where they eventually died a horribly slow and painful death.  Often, the doctor would write to the loved ones of the patient and inform them that "Your aunt Maude is making wonderful progress, but we need more money to continue treatment".  Of course, when this type of letter was written, aunt Maude had already passed away.

The good doctor had an incinerator on the premises, and it was put to use in the middle of the night to dispose of the bodies.  There are many, many stories about the doctor---I would advise that the reader Google for more detailed information.
Mugshots of Dr Norman Baker After His Arrest.  He was Sentenced to Only Four Years in Prison and a Paltry $4,000 Fine
At any rate, it is no wonder, with the history of the place being so colorful, that ghosts are said to inhabit the premises.  In fact, the Crescent Hotel is one of the top ghost haunts in America.  This is part of the appeal, I suppose.

Cindy is afraid of three things---snakes, dentists and ghosts.  And this is a major reason for our visit.  She went on a ghost tour of the hotel the night we were there.  The guide was quite skilled at explaining all the ghosts that had been seen, and the events at the hotel over the years that had given rise to hundreds of sightings.
Dr Baker's Autopsy Lab
The tour visited Dr Baker's morgue---in the basement of the hotel.  Then the tour moved to the autopsy room.  Then to various rooms of the hotel that are said to be the most haunted. 
Picture of the "Ghost Maid" at the Crescent
The tour took two hours, and when Cindy got back to our room at 10:00, I have never seen her so wired.  When the door to our bathroom suddenly swung open without warning, she was ready to jump out the window.
The Hotel Dining Room is Spacious and Beautiful
Our visit was wonderful.  There was a little chapel just down the mountain from the hotel, and it would play Christian hymns that would echo across the forest every few hours.  There was a spring next to the hotel that was scenic and offered a place to reflect on its history.  The dining room and lobby of the hotel were magnificent.

Our Favorite Art Shop---The 83 Spring Street Gallery in Downtown Eureka Springs
 After a huge Thursday breakfast in the dining room, we visited our favorite art shop downtown, 83 Spring Street Gallery, before departing for home.  We had a wonderful trip, and a most excellent adventure.

Check out Cindy's more detailed version of events at the Crescent on her blog


  1. We sure indeed had a most excellent adventure! I am always happy when you go along with some of my hare-brained ideas! A trip we'll never forget!

  2. At first I though what a beautiful hotel, then I read on and though Oh my what a creepy hotel. It was like you were in a set for a horror movie. Ghost photos and all.

  3. What an interesting history The Crescent Hotel has.

    I've never been to Branson but it's one place I hope to visit in the near future.

    I hope you have a good week Clint.


  4. Thanks, Jane and Old Geezer. I think anyone would enjoy Branson and the quality of the shows available. Likewise for Eureka Springs, although it is a relatively quiet town. The Crescent Hotel is really a very nice place to stay, assuming you aren't afraid of things that go bump in the night. Ha.