Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Sitting high in The Ozarks is a mountaintop spa resort that is the
Symbol of Hospitality for the State of Arkansas. Built in 1886 and a
proud member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, the
Crescent Hotel has been Creating Lifetime Memories as the premier
Eureka Springs vacation destination and select choice for Eureka
Springs weddings for nearly 125 years.
Crescent Hotel and Its Ghosts
A number of
rooms are haunted in this historic hotel. Room 218 is the spot where
Michael, an Irish stonemason, landed when he fell from the hotel's roof
during construction. His ghost is said to bang on the walls and turn the
lights and television on and off. Rooms 202 and 424 are also said to be
haunted. Outside of the Recreation Room, the ghost of Dr. Norman Baker
often appears, looking a bit confused. He ran a controversial hospital
and health resort in the building during the 1930s. A nurse, dressed in
a white uniform, has been seen on the third floor. A woman in Room 419
introduces herself as a cancer patient to guests and housekeepers, then
History of the Cresent Hotel
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.
Thirty years later, Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the hotel,
conducted extensive and expensive renovations, and the hotel was
opened fully restored in 2002.
& New Moon Spa
75 Prospect Avenue
Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632