Baker was convicted to
serve a four year sentence in
Leavenworth. The investigation revealed that over the years Baker had defrauded cancer
patients out of approximately $4,000,000. While no one actually died
from Baker’s "cure,” the investigation showed that his treatments most
likely hastened the death of those suffering from cancer when they didn’t
receive effective forms of treatment. In 1944, Baker was released
Leavenworth and moved to Florida, where he lived comfortably until his
death in 1958.
During the wars years of
1940 to 1946, the beautiful building once again sat empty. However,
in 1946, the hotel was purchased by four Chicago businessmen who began to
restore the old hotel to its former elegance. Though never at the
level of its first grand days in the late 1800’s, the hotel once again
began to thrive. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1967 when a fire
swept through the fourth floor of the south wing and much it was
Over the next several
years, the hotel passed through several hands as repairs and more
restorations were made, but the hotel was never fully restored to its
original grandeur. However, this all changed
in 1997 when the historic inn was purchased by Marty and Elise Roenigk. In May, 1997, the couple announced, "In five Years, we pledge to have this
‘Grand Lady of The Ozarks’ back to where she was 100 years ago.” But, Ozark residents, having heard these promises too many times before,
In 1997, the Roenigks
began to rebuild the spas. That first year, a 6,500 square foot "New
Moon Spa” opened which included Vichy showers, a hydrotherapy tub, sauna,
message and therapy tables, tanning beds, and exercise equipment. The next major project
was to restore the hotel’s skyline which had been destroyed in the 1967
fire. Costing well over a million dollars, the 3,500 square foot
penthouse, original center observation tower and the 200-pound,
24-foot-tall Crescent Moon weathervane were restored.
In the meantime,
restorations of the guest rooms, lounges, electrical and plumbing, and
landscaping were also going on. On September 6, 2002, The Roenigk's bold announcement became a reality. After 5 million
dollars in renovations, the grand hotel had been fully restored to its
original stately glory.
Today, the Crescent Hotel
is one of the most visited hotels in the South. With its long and
extensive history, it is also
known to be one of the most haunted places in the Ozarks. Staff and guests
alike tell stories of a number of ghosts that are still said to inhabit
the old hotel.
The most often sighted
apparition is that of an red-haired Irish stonemason, who the staff has
dubbed "Michael.” Allegedly, Michael was one of the original masons
who worked on the building of the hotel in 1885. However, while working on
the roof he lost his balance and fell to the second floor area and was
killed. This area now houses Room 218 of the hotel and is said to be the
most haunted guestroom. Michael is evidently a mischievous spirit who
likes to play tricks with the lights, the doors, and television, as well
as often being heard pounding loudly on the walls. Others have witnessed
hands coming out of the bathroom mirror and heard cries of what sounded
like a man falling in the ceiling. Yet other guests have been shaken
during the night, and on one occasion a patron ran screaming from the
room, professing to have seen blood splattered all over its walls.
From the days when the
old hotel served as Baker’s Cancer Hospital, the lingering spirit of a
nurse, dressed all in white, is often seen pushing a gurney on the third
floor. Only spotted after 11:00 p.m., the time which they used to move
the deceased out the cancer hospital, the ghostly spirit vanishes when she
reaches the end of the hallway. Others who have not seen the apparition
have reported the sounds of squeaks and rattles that sound like a gurney
rolling down the hallway. During the 1930’s, this area was used as the
morgue and even today, still houses "Dr.” Baker’s old autopsy table and
walk-in freezer. Also located on the third floor is the laundry area,
where a hotel maintenance man once witnessed all of the washers and dryers
inexplicably turning on by themselves in the middle of the night.
The apparition of the
greedy "Doctor Baker” himself, has also been seen in the old Recreation
Room in the basement and at the foot of the first floor stairway. Dressed
in a purple shirt and white linen suit, and looking somewhat confused, the
apparition appears identical to old photographs of the infamous "quack.”
For a time, the antique
switchboard continued to be utilized in the hotel, but when it continually
received phone calls from the otherwise empty basement, the use of the old
switchboard was discontinued. It was here in the basement that "Dr.”
Baker’s hapless patients were often convinced of his miracle cures and
handed over their life's savings for the "treatment."
Another remnant of these
old "hospital” days is a ghostly figure who calls herself "Theodora.” Most
often seen by housekeepers in Room 419, Theodora courteously introduces
herself as a cancer patient, before quickly vanishing.
the lobby a gentleman dressed in formal Victorian clothing, complete with
top hat, has often been spotted at the bottom of the stairway and sitting
at the bar. Described as distinguished-looking with a mustache and beard,
many have claimed to entice him into conversation. However, he just sits
quietly and never responds, before he suddenly disappears.
hotel’s Crystal Dining Room, is another place in the hotel that is said to
contain frequent paranormal activities. Here, other Victorian dressed
apparitions have often been encountered. Many have seen groups of 1890’s
dancers, in full-dress attire, whirling around the room in the wee hours
of the morning. Other reports tell of a 19th century gentleman who has
been seen sitting at a table near the windows. When approached, he says,
"I saw the most beautiful woman here last night and I am waiting for her
A former waitress
reported that she spied the vision of a Victorian bride and groom in the
dining room’s huge mirror. The groom allegedly made eye contact with her
before the couple faded away.
The Victorian spirits
that linger in the dining room are said to be very playful, and on one
occasion during the Christmas season, the Christmas tree and all its
packages were found mysteriously moved to the other side of the room.
Additionally, all the chairs had been moved to circle or face the
transported tree. On another occasion, staff arrived in the morning to
find the dining room in perfect order, with the exception of all of the
menus scattered about the room.
In the dining room’s
kitchen. the apparition of a small boy has been seen skipping around and
sometimes pots and pans are said to come flying of their hooks of their
One other often reported
spirit is that of a young female who once attended the Crescent College
and Conservatory for Young Women, which was open between 1908 and 1924.
According to the tale, the young girl either jumped from or was pushed
from a balcony to her death. Today, guests report hearing her screams as
Other apparitions have
been sighted in Room 202 and Room 424, as well as a ghostly waiter
carrying a tray of butter in the hallways.
Whether you visit the historic Crescent Hotel
to get a peek at one of its many spirits, or simply want to experience its
long history and luxurious accommodations, you will certainly not be
Today, the fully restored hotel creates an
ambience that has transcended time, while providing all the amenities that
the modern day traveler requires. Surrounded by 15 acres of formal gardens
and nature trails, the hotel offers 72 guest rooms, many with their own
balcony, and 12 luxury suites throughout the building. The New Moon Spa
features a full menu of treatments, a salon and a wellness program.
Springs is located in just eight miles south of the
border in northwest
near Beaver Lake.