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West Baden trip 12/01

For my birthday, actually a little late, on a beautiful and uncommonly warm December 4th, Suzanne took me to West Baden, Indiana.

"Huh? West Baden, Indiana?" Yes! We went to an historic hotel where we had a tour, took some pictures, and had a generally wonderful time. This hotel was in its heyday during the 20's - 40's when gambling was popular in the area. In addition, people used to come for the healthful benefits of the hot mineral spring baths. Though the hotel is not operating as a hotel at this time, and had undergone many years of dreadful neglect and damage, it is in the process of being meticulously restored.

After that, we drove up the road just a mile or two to French Lick where we went to another fabulous resort hotel and had a sumptious luncheon before heading back up to Bloomington.

The approach to the hotel is a surprise in itself! As one drives along in the countryside, suddenly one sees the hotel off to the right, something of a mirage. The gate is magnificent. Just to the right of the gate is this tiny little bank!

The building in the first picture below is the bowling alley that they had on the grounds. One of the springs was in the "temple"-like structure. I show the front steps of the hotel on the right.

Our guide took us through the gardens (which are magnificent in the summer) and i snapped the above shots.

Then.. inside the hall, ... WOW! I hope you can get some concept of the enormity of this space from the photos that i took here.

The photo above with Suzanne on the floor is the very pose that *I* assumed to get the first picture below! The artwork of this place amazed me. The elf is their mascot of sorts. He is done on pottery with which the enormous fireplace was finished. This is original to 1917. The entrance to "Mineral Springs" below is typical of gold lettering labels they uncovered during the restoration.

During the holidays, they had on display a collection of beautiful angels. This was done as a contest and artists were invited to submit their designs. There were probably 15 of them. I have my favorite 4 depicted here. I don't know which ones won the contest.

The Christmas tree is a 30-foot tall one that they had on display at the French Lick Springs Hotel lobby. I got down on the floor and shot the photo without flash.


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