In the mid 1880s, Isaac L. Taylor, an architect who later became famous for his designs for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, designed a hotel eight miles south of the Missouri border, in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas.
The Frisco Railroad took visitors to Eureka Springs to take part in the healing spring waters of the area. The waters in the area were reputed to have “magic powers.” There are even Native American legends telling of a “Great Healing Spring” in this area.
Eureka Springs became one of the foremost vacation spots of that era. A hotel was needed to accommodate these thousands of guests.
The Crescent Hotel and Spa was built “on the crest” of West Mountain in 1886. The hotel offered electricity, steam heat, and a hydraulic elevator. The resort was a popular year-round vacation destination for the rich and famous for many years, until people noticed the waters weren’t as healing as they had hoped.
In 1908, and for the next decade and a half, the resort was used as a women’s college, but still “catered to the tourist crowd” in the summer months. Unable to maintain the high costs of keeping the building open, the college closed in 1924.
The building was empty for a few years, until 1930 when it was again used as a college for a short time.
A quack by the name of Norman Baker bought the building in 1937. He passed himself off as a cancer doctor with a miracle cure, and opened the old hotel as a cancer hospital.
Baker was not a doctor, and had had no medical training at all. In 1936, he had been convicted in Muscatine, Iowa for “practicing medicine without a license.” His miracle cures had been “condemned” by the American Medical Association.
In 1939, the feds arrested Baker for mail fraud, and he was sentenced to four years in Leavenworth.
The hotel was taken over by investors in 1946, and remodeled as a resort. During the remodeling, there were stories of body parts and skeletons being discovered in the walls of the old hotel.
In 1967, a fire destroyed much of the south wing’s fourth floor.
Thirty years later, Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the hotel, conducted extensive and expensive renovations, and the hotel was opened fully restored in 2002.
The lovely hotel is once again a popular spot for vacationers and for ghost hunters too!
Staff and guests constantly encounter paranormal activity at the hotel, especially in rooms 424 and 218.
Naturally, strange sounds are heard. Doors slam, whispers are uttered, people are shaken awake during the night, and footsteps are heard hurrying across the floors.
Room 218 is supposedly the location of the spot where a worker landed when he fell and was killed during the construction of the hotel. One woman awakened in that room during the night, and saw “blood spattered all over the walls.” She ran out of the room screaming in the middle of the night.
The hotel employees have named the spirit in Room 218. They call him “Michael.” His apparition is often sighted as a “red-haired Irish stonemason.” He likes to be playful, especially with women, often turning lights and other electrical appliances on and off.
In the lobby and bar area of the hotel, a gentleman with a mustache, beard, and top hat is often seen sitting quietly. He is dressed in old-fashioned clothes, and never speaks to anyone who addresses him. He just fades away.
The Crystal Dining Room of the hotel is a great place to see apparitions in Victorian clothing dancing and having a lovely time.
A little boy is sometimes spotted skipping in the kitchen, accompanied by pots and pans flying around the room.
A waiter carrying a tray of butter is seen in the hallways outside rooms 202 and 424.
Sometimes a nurse is seen in the third-floor hallway in the middle of the night pushing a gurney. When she reaches the wall, she disappears. Occasionally, only the “squeaks and rattles” of a gurney are heard “rolling down the hallway.”
This area was used as the morgue in the hotel’s hospital days. Evidently, Baker’s autopsy table and walk-in freezer are still stored there.
The ghost of a woman is seen often by staff outside of Room 419. She is very polite, introducing herself as a cancer patient named Theodora, and then she disappears.
Often a confused looking man is by the staircase to the first floor. He is believed to be Baker himself.
There was a switchboard in the basement of the building that had been used during its hospital days. The staff would often get phone calls from the unused and locked recreation room in the basement. They would unlock the door and go into the room, only to find the phone off the hook!
The Crescent Hotel sounds like an awesome place to visit with ghosts. You know I’ll be making plans as this is not too far from where I live in central Missouri!