The Crescent Hotel
A Eureka Springs landmark
since 1886, the Crescent is
reputedly the most haunted
hotel in the United States.
Elegant and Sinister Past
The Crescent Hotel began its
history as an elegant resort,
but later became the scene of
bizarre "medical" experiments.
THE CRESCENT HOTEL
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Crescent Hotel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
|The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs
The famously haunted Crescent Hotel was built in
1886 and stands atop a mountain overlooking
historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
America's Most Haunted Hotel
Set on beautifully landscaped grounds atop a
mountain in Eureka Springs, the historic
Crescent Hotel is an inspiring sight.
Reputedly America's "Most Haunted Hotel,"
this Arkansas landmark has been a focal
point of the community since it opened its
doors to the wealthy and elite in more than
120 years ago. Now a National Historic
Landmark, the Crescent is also one of the
most romantic destinations in the South.
Constructed in 1886 and operated for its first
15 years by the Eureka Springs Improvement
Association, the Crescent Hotel was popular
with the wealthy during the late 19th century.
Guests could stroll the beautifully land-
scaped grounds, dine in elegant splendor
and enjoy activities ranging from carriage
rides to "tea dances."
When the popularity of bathing in mineral
springs faded, however, hard times came to
the beautiful hotel. It fell into disrepair during
the years of the Great Depression and
ultimately fell into the hands of an eccentric
character named Norman Baker. Or, as he
liked to call himself, "Dr." Norman Baker.
A consummate fraud man, Baker had lost the
license to his radio station in Muscatine,
Iowa, for using it to promote his "sure cure for
cancer." So controversial a figure was he that
he was the target of a failed assassination
attempt on April 11, 1930.
He ran for Governor of Iowa in 1932, ran an
outlaw radio station across the border in
Mexico and then in 1936 sought the
Republican nomination for Iowa's U.S.
Senate seat. Along the way he faced criminal
charges, civil suits and a proclamation by the
American Medical Association that his cancer
facility was a "quack institute."
Giving up on Iowa and Mexico, he moved his
operations to Eureka Springs in 1937. There
he converted the Crescent Hotel into what he
called his "Castle in the Air."
Baker renewed his claims that he could cure
cancer. For the right price, he subjected his
"patients" to a variety of strange procedures
and bizarre experiments.
Using he U.S. Mail, he sent out solicitations
to people around the country. Not only did he
claim that he had "cured thousands of
persons," he also advised those with cancer
not to undergo treatments recommended by
the American Medical Association.
Despite the preposterousness of his claims,
Baker operated his clinic at the Crescent
Hotel for two years. During that time, he
performed a variety of fraudulent treatments
and experiments on the desperate people
who came to him hoping to be cured of their
cancer. Many of his patients were women.
Many of those who came to "Dr. Baker" for
help did not survive. When they died, he had
their bodies taken down to the special
morgue he built in the basement of the hotel.
It is still there and is a fixture on ghost tours.
The scheme collapsed on September 22,
1939. Because he had used the mail to
distribute his false advertisements, the U.S.
Government came after Baker and his
associates for mail fraud.
Indicted by a Federal grand jury in Little Rock,
he surrendered to the U.S. Marshal there
along with five of his associates. His sister,
Isurrendered to Federal authorities in Iowa
and a seventh associate gave himself up in
Little Rock a few days later.
Baker was tried in January 1940 and found
guilty of using the mails to defraud. Federal
investigators had testified during the trial that
Baker had made more than $4 million by
peddling his fake cure during the dark days
of the Great Depression.
Norman Baker was sentenced to prison at
Leavenworth, Kansas, but served only four
years. He then retired to Florida and lived out
the rest of his life in relative comfort.
Many of those he "treated" were not so lucky.
Some, it is said, still walk the halls and haunt
the rooms of the Crescent Hotel to this day.
Staff members and guests report seeing
strange things in the historic hotel. The SyFy
Channel television show Ghost Hunters
investigated the Crescent and recorded video
of a strange apparition in Baker's basement
morgue. Check out their video at the top right
of this page.
The hotel offers ghost tours for the brave and
also maintains a web page detailing some of
the alleged sightings that have taken place
there. The tour tickets are $21.50 per person
($8 for children under 12) and the tours begin
nightly at 8 p.m. Call (877) 342-9766 for
same day reservations.
Please click here for information on ghost
tours and to learn more.
Ghost stories aside, the Crescent Hotel is a
splendid and romantic historic hotel that is a
Southern favorite. The Crescent is at 75
Prospect Avenue, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Click here to visit their website to reserve a
room or for more information.
Romance on the Mountain
Ghost stories aside, the
Crescent Hotel is one of the
most romantic and charming
spots in Eureka Springs.
|Copyright 2012 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Update: October 29, 2014
Service, Splendor & Spirits!
Known for its beautiful rooms
and impeccable service, the
Crescent Hotel offers nightly
ghost tours for those seeking
an extra thrill!
Castle in the Air
The Crescent Hotel is now a
beautifully restored historic
lodging. Its Sunday Brunch in
the Crystal Ballroom is a
Northwest Arkansas tradition.
Syfy's Ghost Hunters investigate the Crescent Hotel