Crescent Hotel (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)
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The Crescent Hotel is a historic hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
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.
- "1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, a Historic Hotels of America member". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- Spence, Stephen. "Pure Hoax: The Norman Baker Story". The Crescent Hotel. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- Uhlenbrock, Tom (November 8, 2008). "Welcome to the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, America's most haunted hotel". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Dupy, Jerry; Long, E. Alan (November 15, 2009). "Band Organ Aficionado Martin Roenigk, (1941-2009)". The Carousel News & Trader.
- "Ghost Hunters". SciFi Channel. Season 2. Episode 213. 2005-10-19.
- Hawes, Jason; Wilson, Grant; Friedman, Michael Jan (2007). "Horror Hotel June 2005". Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 208–214. ISBN 978-1-4165-4113-4. LCCN 2007016062.