by Amanda Geronikos
Nestled in the Ozark Mountains and known as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,” the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa has a creepy — and extremely controversial — past.
It first operated as a resort for the elite, and then as the Crescent College and Observatory for Young Women. The college fell on hard times during the Great Depression, and hence closed in 1924. It remained empty and abandoned until 1937, when a man named Norman Baker purchased the building to house his “miracle” hospital for those with cancer, promising patients they’d walk away cancer-free.
But it was all a scam. Norman Baker didn’t have medical training; in fact, he had been convicted for practicing medicine without a license in Iowa years prior. In 1939, he was arrested for mail fraud, having distributed his “miracle” product for thousands of dollars. A full investigation revealed Baker had defrauded patients of nearly $4 million dollars, all told. Many of Baker’s patients never returned home after they checked in to the hospital; it is believed they died and were buried on the property.
There are at least six ghosts said to haunt the hotel, which reopened in 2002. Nightly ghost tours are offered to both guests and the general public, and include visits to the morgue, where Baker used to store cadavers and other body parts for “research.” For years, the former morgue acted as a storage space during the day and a stop on the tours at night, but in Sept. 2013, it was reopened and solely dedicated to the tours, which draw thousands of visitors each year.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is a member of Historic Hotels of America, and although it is most famous for its ghost tours, it also features the New Moon Spa and Salon, a hot tub, swimming pool, three onsite dining options and 72 elegantly furnished rooms, suites, penthouses and cottages. For families of four or five, the Double Double Room and Governor’s Suite are best; the Double Double Room has two double beds, and the Governor’s Suite has two king bedrooms. Rollaway beds are available for a fee per day. The suites and penthouses feature mini refrigerators and microwaves. Cottages offer more space, and each one has two bedrooms. Pet-friendly accommodations are also available.
The hotel is located on 15 acres of land in Eureka Springs, Ark., about 50 miles from Branson, Mo.
Our Editor Loves
- Haunted hotel
- Nightly ghost tours
- New Moon Spa and Salon
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
We had a blast at the crescent hotel! My mother, sister, best friend and I stayed at the gatehouse, and it was wonderful! The beds were super comfortable and we were welcomed at the hotel anytime. We had breakfast in the crystal ballroom and enjoyed the spa services! We will definitely be coming back for another visit! The town is also very welcoming and we enjoyed the shopping but didn’t have enough time to do everything!
Toured through the hotel and read about what the building was at first and later became and the ghost living there! It was an awesome building and grounds! Wasn’t able to go in the ghost tour but will when I go back!! Loved the place and history!