[Please note that this blog post is backdated to September 17; the post was published on October 11.]
This blog post continues Day 7 of our 13-day vacation. We are in Eureka Springs, AR attending the annual Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) Reunion motorcycle rally.
This afternoon Bob and I went sightseeing. Our first stop was at Thorncrown Chapel. Our second stop was at the Crescent Hotel, perched high above Eureka Springs.
I obtained the following information about the Crescent Hotel from a Wikipedia article:
“The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886 as a resort for the rich and famous, but quickly became unmanageable and fell into disrepair. In 1908, it was reopened as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. This institution closed down in 1924, and then opened again in 1930 as a junior college. After the college closed in 1934, the Crescent was leased as a summer hotel.
In 1937, it got a new owner, Norman G. Baker, who turned the place into a hospital and health resort. Baker, a millionaire inventor and radio personality, styled himself as a doctor, despite having had no medical training. He claimed to have discovered a number of “cures” for various ailments, including cancer, and launched frequent attacks on organized medicine, which he accused of being corrupt and profit-driven.
Having been run out of Iowa for practicing medicine without a license, Baker moved his cancer patients to Arkansas and advertised his new health resort at the Crescent. His “cure” consisted primarily of drinking the area’s natural spring water.[clarification needed] In 1940, federal charges were filed against Baker for mail fraud and he spent four years in prison. The Crescent Hotel was left ownerless until 1946. In the spring of 1946, the Crescent Hotel was purchased by John R. Constantine, Herbert E. Shutter, Herbert Byfield, and Dwight Nichols. On March 15, 1967, the hotel was nearly burned to the ground. The only living owner at this time was Dwight Nichols.
In 1997, the Crescent Hotel was purchased by Marty and Elise Roenigk, who oversaw a six-year restoration and renovation of the hotel rooms. Marty Roenigk died in a car crash on June 18, 2009; Elise Roenigk remains the hotel’s current owner.
The Crescent Hotel has been called “America’s Most Haunted Hotel”, and is said to be haunted by at least eight spirits. These include: a young woman who attended college there in the 1920s or 30s, who is either said to have died by jumping from the roof or being pushed; a nurse who worked in the building when it was a hospital; a man in a hat and tails, believed to be the ghost of Dr. John Freemont Ellis, a staff doctor at the original Crescent Hotel resort in the late 1800s; Michael, an Irish stonemason, who lost his footing while building the hotel and slipped off the roof to his death; Theadora, a cancer victim who came to Norman Baker’s resort for treatment; a ghostly bearded gentleman wearing Victorian clothing and a top hat; Brecky, a boy who often came to the resort in its glory days and died of complications with an appendicitis; and Norman G. Baker himself.
In 2005, the hotel was visited by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, presenters of the television show Ghost Hunters. Wilson recorded a full-body apparition on their thermal imaging camera; the form seemed to be that of a man wearing a hat and nodding his head.”
We didn’t know its history, when we visited the Crescent Hotel. Had we known more about the Crescent Hotel, we would have explored more of the hotel and the grounds on which it sits. As it was, the sole purpose for our visit to the Crescent Hotel was to see the Christ of the Ozarks from the hotel’s observation deck on the fourth floor.
A framed note to the right of the time capsule indicated that Robert Rees was commissioned by Marty and Elise Roenigk, owners of the Historic 1905 Basin Park and 1886 Crescent Hotels in Eureka Springs to construct the two time capsules located on the 4th floor of the Crescent and the Basin Park Hotel lobby. Tyson Foods provided the massive stainless steel inner cores, which are designed by the artist to last well beyond the required 100 years. The time capsules were filled during a Millennium Celebration held in the Ballrooms of each Historic Hotel on December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000. No date was posted for when the time capsules would be opened.
To the right of the time capsule was a door that led outside, to the fourth floor observation deck.
In a future blog post I will share more photographs of the Christ of the Ozarks from a much closer perspective.