Many property owners in early Mineral Wells had their own water wells, but the city pumped water to a small standpipe on East Mountain for distribution to the city. When the wells became insufficient to supply the city's needs, Barber Lake was built in the Barber Addition--in the northeast part of town--as Mineral Wells' first city water supply lake. Around 1905, Cicero Smith and Ed Dismuke built a dam across Pollard Creek west of the city to form Lake Pinto, the city's next water supply. Barber Lake, the City's first municipal water supply, can still be found southeast of Cullen Grimes School (built in 1920 at 1800 Northeast 1st. Avenue as Barber School, the name was changed to Cullen Grimes School in honor of a long-time principal when it was enlarged in 1942.)
The Bimini Mineral Baths, at 112 NW 4th Street, was built by Goodrum, Murphy and Croft, contractors in the early 1900's. The Bimini later became the Wagley Bathhouse. Dr. Wagley was an early pharmacist in Mineral Wells. The El Paso Morning Times in 1909 states that the re-building of the Bimini (the building here illustrated) will cost "...over $35,000." What the equivalent amount could be in modern-das dollars remains unknown. Please note the utter lack of automobiles, and the horse-drawn vehicle in front of the bath house. The meaning of the white-ink number "1861" remains to be determined.
Colonel W. R. Austin came from Kentucky to Palo Pinto County about 1880, and settled on Staggs Prairie. When an infection in his eye responded to mineral water treatment, he established the Austin Well, later operated by his son-in-law, Tom Sims. Blind Nellie was a fixture of the Austin Well for years. She had an interesting history: A cowboy rode her into town one day, and auctioned her off to the highest bidder, J.H. Coleman, who bid a dollar and a half for her. Then Bob Kyle took Coleman's bargain off his hands, but Colonel Austin was the one who profited most from her when he devised a method that used her to "pump" water from his well. This unique method of bringing water to the surface was an added attraction at the Austin. Instead of drawing it up by hand or using a power pump, Blind Nellie was trained to walk around in circles, pulling the water up from below. She would pause long enough for the water to empty and, as if on a hidden cue, would go around again as the receptacle was lowered back into the well, repeating her performance accurately each time. In later years, when she became confused in her ritual, she was allowed to retire. In retirement, however, Blind Nellie selected a place in her pasture, and during the working hours of the day she repeated the ritual of walking her circle in a size corresponding to the one she had walked for so many years at the Austin Well. She died in 1912.
A copy of this picture is found in A. F. Weaver's, "TIME WAS in Mineral Wells", Second Edition", on page 188. The caption states "Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 901 North Oak Avenue." Note the surrey with the fringe on top. The person in the buggy has been identified as Mrs. Flora Howard, daughter of William Winfield Hayworth "Howard", the minister of the church. Howard owned a hardware store, going under the name "W.W. Howard." He is also listed as a member of the I.O.O.F. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church takes its name from Cumberland Street, Pennsylvania, where the sub-denomination (more Arminian than the main denomination) was founded. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is currently  in Newberry, Texas. The building was sold to the Church of Christ, torn down and rebuilt. The North Oak Church of Christ still stands [in 2011] at this location, 901 N. Oak Ave. The picture is reliably dated to have been taken in 1912.
Only a caption on the photograph identifies it as the Cafe Royal. This building that houses it, on the N.W. corner of NW 1st Avenue and 3rd Streets, was known as the W.E. Mayes Building. Upstairs rooms were rented under the name of the "Carlsbad Hotel" in recognition of the nearby Carlsbad Drinking Pavilion at the opposite (or NE) corner of the block: 700 NW 2nd Avenue. (The first edition of "Time Was in Mineral Wells", page 105, identifies it as the Wells Hotel.)
The Cliff Home, an early Mineral Wells hotel, stood on Northeast 2nd Street (formerly Coke Street) just east of the head of NE 1st Avenue (formerly Mesquite Street), and the site of the 1912 "Old Post Office" (now the Women's Club.) The hotel burned down in 1899, and the Plateau Hotel was built in its place. That hotel, in time, became The Exchange Hotel, which lasted until 1900, at which time it was demolished, and the Plateau Hotel was built in its place. It was touted as the only brick hotel in Mineral Wells in 1902. The Sanborn Map of 1907 gives the address as "207 E Coke", but the city Directory of 1909 lists the hotel as being at "211 E Coke." No building was listed in the City Directory in that block for the year 1920, save the Post Office. A street was added to the east of the Post Office between it and the Hotel Wilson(of which no further information at this time  is available)/Mineral Wells Sanitarium (the building must have housed a hospital/clinic, as well), which was operated by a Doctor Buie. In 1924, the hotel was listed as being at 209 NE 2nd Street, and the sanitarium at 211 NE 2nd street. No listing for the sanitarium is given in the 1937 City Directory. The significance of the small "E" between "CLIFF" and "HOME" on the sign painted on the roof is not as yet  known. The back of the photograph bears the name "Henry Sikes" (a banker in Graford, and probably the donor of the picture) written in ink, and a business stamp, "S.B. Hall, General Photographer." This picture is found on page 100 of A.F. Weaver's book "TIME WAS In Mineral Wells".
The Commercial Hotel, one of the early hotels in Mineral Wells, was located on South Oak Avenue, where the Mineral Wells Fire Department is now  located. The Cutter Guide of 1893 states that the hotel was recently completed. It is listed as being "[T]wo blocks from the depot [and] 1 block [away] from the post-office [sic]." This picture may be found on page 101 of A.F. Weaver's book "TIME WAS In Mineral Wells."
The Curtis House was an early hotel at 315 E. Hubbard Street, where the Baker Hotel swimming pool is now  located. This picture was handed down through the Curtis family to Robert Curtis, who donated it to A.F. Weaver June 25, 1996. A later view of the hotel is found on page 101 of A.F. Weaver's book "TIME WAS In Mineral Wells."
[The] Exchange Hotel (also known as [The]Plateau in 1909, and later as the Hospital) was built on the site of the Cliff House, which was destroyed by fire. The house to the right was built in 1896 by Dr. A. W. Thompson as a wedding present for his second wife. The Mineral Wells Post Office was built on the vacant lot at the left of the hotel in 1912. The Hotel presents something of a conundrum. An annotation without date states that the Exchange Hotel was destroyed by fire and the Plateau Hotel was built in its place. A notation of 1902 states that the Plateau Hotel was the only brick hotel. A 1907 map shows the Hotel as being at 207 East Coke (Now NE 2nd Avenue) Street. In 1909, a St. Paul Sanitarium was listed at 118 NE 7th Street. .A map of 1912 shows the Plateau Hotel as still being in existence. The city directory of 1920 shows no building in the 200 block--except for the Post Office. A Mineral Wells City Directory of 1924 listed the former Exchange/Plateau building as the Mineral Wells Sanatorium. Dr. A.W. Thompson was still living in the house to the right at the time. In 1924, the Mineral Wells Sanitarium was listed as being at 211 NE 2nd Street, and a Hotel Wilson (with no room for a third building) at 211 NE 2nd Street. In 1928, the Mineral Wells Sanitarium was listed at 211 NE 2nd Street. By 1937, there was no listing in the City Directory. It is presumed that the Hotel/Hospital was finally demolished.
Shown here is a picture of a dirt horse-race track and fair grounds,located southeast of town. It is not known if thoroughbred horses raced, but sulkies are known to have raced here. This course was the first of its kind in Mineral Wells. Another track was constructed at Elmhurst Park, in the southeast part of town, after this one was torn down.
The Fairfield Inn, built by Col. Walter H. Boykin around the turn of the twentieth century, was a very popular rooming and boarding house in the early days of Mineral Wells. It was located at 814 North Oak Street, across Oak Street and one block north of the contemporary Hexagon Hotel. Part of the retaining wall shown in the picture still exists. Mr. Boykin built his home at 1501 SE 4th Avenue. The home was later sold to William Whipple Johnson, who operated the Rock Creek coal mines in eastern Parker County around 1910. Mr. Johnson, with his brother Harvey, had previously opened the coal mines at Thurber on the Palo Pinto/Erath county line in 1908.
A note on the back of this picture identifies it as the Foster House. The 1907 Polk's directory lists it at (202 West Moore" (202 NW 6th Street ), two blocks north of the Crazy Well) and facing 6th Street. The proprietress is given as "Mrs. Sallie Cock." It was one block west of the Hexagon House, and within two blocks of other wells. The style of the building appears to be Queen Anne, spindle-work sub-type, with paired gables. The number "2231" is written on the photograph. A railroad ran a main trunk line on the west side of the hotel's block. The Foster House (as it was called) was built just before 1902. Mrs. Sallie Cock was born in 1861 in Fayette, Texas. She married Robert H. Lett in 1886. She married Dr. Lewis Cock in 1898. She had three children by him. She died in Blanco, Texas in 1950.
Shown here is a picture of the first Gibson Well drinking pavilion. Located in the 700 block of what is now NW 2nd Avenue, it was one of the first drinking pavilions in the city. An expanded pavilion replaced the one in this picture, and it became one of the more popular social gathering places in town. The Christian Church now  occupies the entire city block on which the Gibson Well was located.
A caption to the photograph states: "Gulf and Brazos Valley Railroad Depot 1899-1902. Erected back some 80 years ago, and served the Brazos Valley Railroad from Mineral Wells to Peck City near Millsap, now known as Bennett." The area formerly known as Peck City is now the location of an Acme brick plant, and is named "Bennett" for the rail switch that serves the plant. Standing on the right in the photograph is Noble Nuttall, father of Verne Nuttall, the first depot operator and telegraph operator. Please note the guitar near the woman at the window. The depot was once located on the site now occupied by the Hayes Lumber Company, in the 300 block on SE 1st Avenue. The newspaper caption: "Passengers would ride on the Texas and Pacific to Peck City and come by the Brazos Valley train from Peck City to Mineral Wells" is incorrect. The GULF and BRAZOS RIVER RAILWAY was strictly a freight line that hauled coal from the Rock Creek mines (east of Mineral Wells) to the T&P main line at Peck City. The first depot in Mineral Wells for passenger service from Weatherford was built when the W.-M.W.-N.W. that first arrived in Mineral Wells in 1891. It burned down, and it was replaced by the current brick depot in 1902, the year the GBV was sold at a sheriff's auction in Weatherford. (Photo courtesy of Verne Nuttall)
The Hawthorn Well drinking pavilion, located at 314 NW 1st Avenue, was owned and operated by William O'Brien. The Hawthorn not only had mineral water and a drinking pavilion, but also catered to the pleasure-seeking public with a bowling alley. Dances were also held in the pavilion both afternoon and nights during the "Season." The picture shows advertising on the roof for the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad. The "Katy" built a north-south railway across Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) at about this time. Its Texas office and shops were located in Dennison. Hotels in Mineral Wells were sending hacks and buggies to Millsap to transport passengers to "The Nation's Greatest Health Resort" in such numbers that by January 1, 1891, the first train of the Weatherford Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railroad (WMWNW) rolled into town. With connections through Dallas, the "Katy" sought a portion of that railway passenger traffic.
This photograph,labeled "A July Crowd", shows a ladies' gathering about 1920. The photograph shows what is possibly a tea party or a ladies' club meeting. Some of the ladies shown were members of prominent Mineral Wells families. Identified in a typed note - and graph - accompanying the photograph are: (starting at back left) the 4th lady is Mrs. D. G. Galbraith [wife of the owner of the Hexagon House], the 8th is Mrs. E. F. Yeager [wife of Dr. E.F. Yeager, Pharmacist/ Owner of the Lion Drug Store), 16th is Mrs. J.H. McCracken [wife Dr. J.H. McCracken, president of the Texas Medical Association], 17th may be Mrs. Raines (Mrs. McCracken's mother); (middle row, starting in front of Mrs. Yeager) the second from left is Mrs. Dr. Beeler; (first row from left) the 3rd lady may be Mrs. Coon, the 6th lady is Mrs. Paul Bock, the 8th is Mrs. Reba Williams. The children in front are Langdon Bock on the left and Elizabeth Galbraith on the right. There were forty people in total.
The Lithia Well drinking pavilion was located on the southwest corner of the Crazy block at 400 NW 1st Avenue. The roof of the second Crazy Well drinking pavilion can be seen to the left of the Lithia. The Mineral Wells Library maintained its second location in this pavilion. The First Crazy Hotel was built on this location in 1914, but burned in 1925. The rebuilt and expanded Crazy Hotel (Now  a retirement home) replaced the burned hostelry in 1927. See also the following picture.
A view of Mesquite Street (in 2008: NE 1st Avenue), taken in 1910, and looking south-east. The scene shows horse-drawn wagons loaded with cotton bales. Electrical lines are visible. The building at the northeast corner of East Hubbard Street and South Mesquite Street is the D.M. Howard Block. D. M Howard was the first of five Howard brothers to come to Mineral Wells and establish businesses. There was a Dry Goods store on the left end of the building, a millinery shop above it, and a grocery store was in the building to the right. Later the J.M. Belcher Furniture occupied the building; and still later, R&W Furniture. Demolition of the building began March 17 of 1975 to make room for the Savings and Loan Building and a parking lot. The First State Bank now  occupies this entire block.
This article and photograph from the Weaver Collection appeared in the Mineral Wells Index in the late 1960's--or possibly the early 1970's. The newspaper attributes the photograph to the "Courtesy of Tom Green," and the research to "Bill Cameron." The article states: "This is the way Mineral Wells looked at the turn of the [twentieth] Century. The Scott Livery Stable, foreground, is occupies the area the Whatley Motor Company does today. Across the street at left was the two-story Holmes Hotel. The barn in the corner, in the center of picture, was the T.J. Green Transfer Company. Mat Birdwell, who purchased horses for the government, had his headquarters in the Green barn. Other spots include the Frost Lumber Yard, next to the Green barn; [the] old Baptist Church steeples, top left; [the] Presbyterian Church, top right, that burned 60 years ago."
A number of the early mineral water wells bottled their product and sold it nationwide for its reputed health benefits. The name of this particular well, associated with this turn-of-the-20th-century endeavor, is not identified. It may well have been the inventor of the bottled water industry. This photograph shows what has been tentatively identified as a threshing machine, driven by a steam-powered tractor, parked outside the plant. This bottling plant also produced "Country Red" and "Cream soda" in 1906. J.L. Tipton is shown, fourth from the left. The other men remain unidentified. The photograph dates from 1912. This bottling company also bottled "Country Red" and "Cream soda" in 1912. J.L. Tipton is shown, fourth from the left. The other men remain unidentified. Later development of a crystallizing process eliminated the substantial cost of shipping water, and adversely affected the bottled water industry. The concentrated crystals greatly expanded the distribution of beneficial minerals said to be inherent in the water, and created an industry of its own. However, it led to legal problems occasioned by the limited supply of crystals, and attempts to satisfy a voracious market. What appears to be a scar across the photograph indicates that the original picture was probably damaged, and was repaired by Mr. Weaver for the making of a duplicate photograph.
A photograph of the Norwood Hospital during its completion. Note the "Parry and Spicer Architects" sign and the "Goodrum, Murphy and Croft Contractors" sign. Dr. Norwood was the first Osteopathic doctor to set up business in Mineral Wells. He departed this life at the age of 82 in 1953. The building was donated to the Mineral Wells Historic Foundation. Plans were announced to convert the clinic to a Bed and Breakfast facility, but no progress towards such a conversion has been made to date . The legend "1863" appears on the photograph, but it is not known what it signifies. It cannot possibly be the date of the building--or of its photograph.
Written on the back of the photograph is: "Presbyterian Church & Manse N.W. 4th Ave. & [NW]2nd St. Built 1896, Burned 1908" This was the first Presbyterian Church of Mineral Wells. It was replaced, after it burned in 1908, at the same location the next year by a unique domed church that endured for some seventy years. Deterioration of the foundation of the second church building dictated its prudent replacement by a third building at this same location in the early 1980's.
The Sangcura Sprudel Wells. On back of photograph is written: "Located at 800 N.W. 2nd Avenue." The building was later moved to 314 NW 5th Street. The porches were enclosed and it was turned into a rooming house. The building burned down in 1973.
The Sangcura-Sprudel Wells Drinking Pavilion was originally located at 800 NW Second Avenue. The building was later moved to 314 NW 5th Street, the porches enclosed, and it was converted into a rooming house. The Crazy Water bottling plant was built on this site in 1919. The rooming house that was the former Sangcura-Sprudel drinking Pavilion burned on December 5, 1973, just five minutes before Mineral Wells' annual Christmas Parade was scheduled to start.
The small building seen at the right of this picture was the First Crazy Well Drinking Pavilion. The large structure in the center of the picture is an early view of the second Pavilion, which was built in 1900. This picture was taken before its first two floors were enclosed. The Carlsbad pavilion, which was built around 1895 (across NW 1st Avenue and west of the Crazy) also appears in several pictures of the area around this time. Its absence in this photograph is probably the result of a combination of perspective, angle of picture, and depth-of-view of the camera. The Second Pavilion (shown in this photograph) was replaced in 1909 by the Crazy Flats, which burned in the fire of 1925. The current Crazy Hotel opened in 1927, and occupies the entire city block. It is now  a retirement home.
Entertainment for the many visitors to Mineral Wells around the turn of the twentieth century was provided, in part, by donkey rides up a trail to the top of East Mountain. The donkey trail crossed a 1,000-step staircase, built in 1905, to the top of the mountain about half-way up. Photographers, first J.C. McClure and then J.L. Young, took souvenir photographs of the visitors at this crossing. This photograph of the Belcher family was a taken by J. D. McClure. Mr. John M. Belcher stands on the right and his son, John E. Belcher sits on a donkey at the left of the picture, with his mother standing beside him. The clothing suggests that the picture was taken in the early 1900's. The legend "19EE" in the lower left-hand part of the picture invites speculation concerning its significance.
This photograph illustrates the Texas Carlsbad Well at Mineral Wells, Texas, one of the early drinking pavilions in the "City built on water." It was located at 415 NW 1st Avenue, directly across the street west of the first Crazy Well drinking pavilion. Shown here is an early picture of the Carlsbad, as later views show slight additions and alterations in response to competition among drinking pavilions for business.
An off-season (Winter?) picture of the Vichy Well Natatorium, once located in the 600 block of North Oak Avenue, where North Oak Community Center now  stands is illustrated here. The picture is dated the time around 1900. The Vichy well featured a swimming pool, which it labelled a "Natatorium." Later improvements, when the name was changed to The Standard Well, included a motion-picture theater and a pavilion for dancing. (Note the Dr. A.W. Thompson residence and the Mineral Wells Sanitarium on the right skyline.) A USO was built on this location In World War II for white servicemen at Camp Wolters. The USO building was turned over to the city at the end of the war, and became known as the North Oak Community Center. Preservation efforts are underway [in 2008] to restore the Community Center.