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Welcome Sign & Lookout Tower: 1929

Description: The WELCOME sign was donated to the city of Mineral Wells in 1922 by George Holmgren, President of the Texas Rotary Club, in appreciation for the hospitality extended the Rotary Club at its State Convention in Mineral Wells that year. The caption on the photograph reads: "Reputed to be the largest Non-commercial electric sign in U.S." East Mountain was a popular place for viewing the city, especially for photographers. The lookout tower atop West Mountain (above the WELCOME sign) was destroyed by a tornado in 1930. The Welcome Sign was built by Holmgren in his San Antonio Iron Works in 1922. He gave the sign to the people of Mineral Wells with the understanding that they would maintain the sign and the many light bulbs required to light it. The Mineral Wells Jaycees later replaced the light bulbs with lower-maintenance red neon lights. A Warrant Officer Club Company from Fort Wolters moved the sign from East Mountain in 1972 to the east side of Bald Mountain, where it remains today [2008], lighted with flood lights at its base. It is reported that this sign inspired D.W. Griffith, to promote possibly the most recognizable landmark in the United States, the HOLLYWOOD sign in California, following his visit to Mineral Wells in 1928. Griffith, Producer/Director of the early movie classic, "Birth of a Nation," also produced the "Keystone Kops" comedies. The house in the foreground (an example of Queen Anne architecture, spindle-work sub-type) was the home of druggist Dr. C.F. Yeager. Also in the picture, about half-way up the mountain, is the water tower supplying mineral water to the then new Baker Hotel. The object in the upper-left-hand corner of the picture invites speculation.
Date: 1929
Item Type: Photograph

[A Panoramic View of Mineral Wells, 1925]

Description: A picture taken in 1925, two months after the Crazy burned. Please note no Crazy Hotel in this picture, but the Crazy Well building in the street did not perish in the flames. Also,please note, across the city on West Mountain, the two buildings owned by the Cavalry, where their horses were kept. The old High School, the "Little Rock School", and the West Ward School are visible in the upper left of the picture at the south end of West Mountain.
Date: May 4, 1925
Item Type: Photograph

[The First Crazy Hotel and Crazy Flats]

Description: A view of the Crazy Flats and first Crazy Hotel, as seen from East Mountain, is shown here. The Crazy Flats, at the right middle of the picture, was the second Crazy Drinking Pavilion--also with Rooms for Rent--was built in 1909. One feature of the Flats was "Peacock Alley", where the men gathered on Sundays to watch the ladies parade and show off the latest fashions in female gear. The first Crazy Hotel is to the left rear of the Flats; the first section of the Hotel, on the right, was built in 1912, and the second section, on the left, to its left, was built in 1914 and connected to the first with a common lobby. The Crazy Bath house adjoined Crazy Flats on the left, and a drugstore was located in the left corner of the Bath house building. A fire, starting in the drugstore on March 15, 1925, burned the entire block, sparing only the small building housing the first Crazy Pavilion (the right rear of the Flats.) The current (second) Crazy Hotel opened in 1927, and replaced all of the former businesses in this block.
Date: 1920?
Item Type: Photograph

[The Crazy Hotel after the Fire of 1925]

Description: A handwritten note on the back of the photograph identifies the picture as "Crazy Hotel southside after fire of March 15, 1925." Shown is the skeleton of the first Crazy Hotel, after a fire destroyed the entire Crazy "complex." The original hotel complex consisted of the two adjoined hotel sections with a common lobby, the Crazy Flats (a drinking pavilion with rooms for rent), a Bath House, and a drugstore (in which the fire started). The second Crazy Hotel opened two years later, in 1927. It covers the entire city block formerly occupied by the complex which it replaced. The famous second Crazy Hotel of the booming 1930's and 1940's is now [2008] a retirement hotel that was forcibly closed down in 2010.
Date: March 15, 1925
Item Type: Photograph

[The Crazy Flats Fire]

Description: A note on back of photograph states,"Crazy Water flats fire 1925, March 15th. Picture taken from NE Corner on Oak". Thelma Hart's name appears on back of the picture, which was possibly taken by her husband, as his name, Lawrence, also appears. The picture is included in A. F. Weaver's book, "TIME WAS in Mineral Wells," on page 18.
Date: 1925
Item Type: Photograph

Crazy Hotel: Formal Opening Menu

Description: This photograph shows a SOUVENIR MENU on the occasion of the formal opening of the Crazy Hotel on March 11, 1927. The hotel, now [2008] a retirement hotel, is still located on the corner of N. Oak Avenue and NW 3rd Street, Mineral Wells, Texas. It was closed as a retirement hotel, under a considerable cloud, in 2010.
Date: 1927
Item Type: Pamphlet

We lost our job at Mineral Wells, Texas

Description: This is a picture that was found in Mr. Weaver's collection, and captioned "We lost our job at Mineral Wells, Texas." This type of advertising was used by most of the drinking pavilions in this popular health resort to tout the beneficial effects of Mineral Wells' waters. There were numerous testimonials attesting the truth of such claims. When the Food and Drug Administration began to enforce the nation's drug laws vigorously in the mid- 1930's, however, there were no rigorous scientific test data to document such claims or to warn of possible side effects that taking the mineral water might bring about. Consequently, this sort of advertising was banned after the 1930's.
Date: 1920?/1930?
Item Type: Photograph

[D. W. Griffith]

Description: D. W. Griffith is shown standing on the roof of the new Crazy Hotel, which opened in 1927 and replaced the First Crazy Hotel which had burned in 1925. Mr. Griffith, who produced silent movies including the "Keystone Kops" comedies, and the classic film "Birth of a Nation", was a guest at the Crazy Hotel while visiting Mineral Wells in 1929. A commemorative postage stamp was issued in his honor on May 27, 1975. Local folklore has it that Mr. Griffith was impressed by the "WELCOME" sign on East Mountain (the world's largest non-commercial, electrically-lighted sign at the time). He developed the "HOLLYWOOD HILLS" addition with other partners when he returned to California, and he erected what is probably the most recognizable landmark in America: The HOLLYWOOD sign now graces Los Angeles. Both signs have survived similar difficult times in their histories. This picture appears on page 19 of A.F. Weaver's "TIME WAS in Mineral Wells", second edition, 1974.
Date: 1929
Item Type: Photograph

[The Convention Hall, Built in 1925]

Description: This photograph shows the Convention Hall, which was built in 1925 to accommodate the West Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention. The lack of signage on the front of the building--along with copious bunting--suggests that the photograph was taken at its dedication. The picture is featured in "Time There Once was", page 164. The Convention Hall was demolished in 1976.
Date: 1925
Item Type: Photograph

[The Burning of the First Crazy Hotel]

Description: The first Crazy Hotel burned in 1925. This photograph shows the fire as it is burning out, and only a few pieces of the structure still stand. The sign seen in the left part of the photo says "Crazy Drug Co." which was the pharmacy inside the hotel. The hotel was rebuilt and claims to be fire-proof.
Date: 1925
Item Type: Photograph

[Excavation for the Baker]

Description: Excavation work and clearing of the two blocks in downtown Mineral Wells for the Baker Hotel is shown here. In the background is the Dr. Thompson home, the old First Methodist church and parsonage. The parsonage was moved to the corner of SE 3rd Street & SE 5th Avenue. The filling station in the foreground was located where Murray's Grill parking lot once was [ca. 1950]. The Piedmont Hotel was across the street (NE 1st Avenue.) where the Baker Hotel garage building is now [2009]located. The work has just begun clearing the lots. The tower on top of East Mountain is barely visible above the welcome sign that was erected there in 1925. This photograph comes from the Young collection.
Date: 1927?
Item Type: Photograph

[Milling's Sanitarium and Water Well ]

Description: The gazebo-like structure shown in the picture protects a water pump in front of the Milling Sanitarium. The sanitarium was built about 1929 on what was then the 2500 block of SE Sixth Avenue. It later became the Irvine Sanitarium. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (Post 2399) occupies the building as of 2010. The fate of the structure shown here is unknown.
Date: 1920?/1929?
Item Type: Photograph

The Crazy Well Water Company

Description: This picture shows a photograph of two pages from a water-bottle-shaped brochure about Mineral Wells. The "Appendix" referred to on the verso folio refers to a series of burlesques printed on previous--unseen--pages. The recto folio describes the four types of the water and the various ailments that they are expected to cure. The brochure notes that number four water is purgative, and should be used in moderation, but at frequent intervals.
Date: 1920?
Item Type: Photograph