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"Baker Hotel" Menu

Description: This photograph illustrates an October 1929 menu from the Stephen F. Austin Hotel, a "Baker Hotel" (located in Austin, Texas), similar to the one that opened in Mineral Wells in 1929 is shown here. The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells was apparently one of a chain of hotels. This menu serves as a reminder of that fact.
Date: 1929?
Item Type: Text

[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

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

Crazy Hotel from East Mountain

Description: In this view from East Mountain along NE 2nd Street toward West mountain, the West Ward School, Mineral Wells "Old" High School, and the "Little Rock School" are all visible in the upper middle of the picture on this side of the gap between West Mountain and South Mountain. The rebuilt Crazy Hotel is seen in the right middle of the photograph, and construction of the Nazareth Hospital to the northwest of the Hotel is underway at the right of and behind the hotel. Nazareth Hospital was built by the Crazy Hotel as a clinic, but was later sold to a Catholic order of nurses and operated as a hospital. (In the early 1960's, two floors of the Crazy Hotel were used as a hospital while the new Palo Pinto General Hospital was being built.) Dr. A.W. Thompson's home(1896)is in the middle foreground of the picture and the Mineral Wells Sanitarium is beyond it. The Cliff House Hotel occupied this site initially, but it burned, and was replaced by the Plateau Hotel. The Plateau Hotel's name was later changed to the Exchange Hotel, and still later it was converted into the Mineral wells Sanitarium, also known as the Hospital. Next to and beyond "the Hospital" is Mineral Wells' (1912) Post office. The photograph was taken shortly after the second Crazy Hotel opened in 1927.
Date: 1928?
Item Type: Photograph