Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

El Capitan's Mansion!

I'll Call It 'Palacio Cuello de Rojo'

The always invigorating Velociman donned his stylin' pimp hat and waxed eloquent on the discovery of a dwelling fit for a king in a shuttered structure that was a county courthouse in a previous era.

I can groove on the notion of getting awarded Historic Preservation status, a bushel basket of federal grant monies, and creating El Capitan's personal playground.

I've had my eye on this place for years...

The Baker Hotel, in Mineral Wells, Texas. Opened for business in 1929 and continued rentin' rooms until 1972. 14 stories of Roaring Twenties Pseudo-Deco, with 460 rooms, a big outdoor pool acessible via a footbridge, and all the mineral water you can drink, splash, and soak in.

That old postcard doesn't do it justice. Here's the Baker in the 50's, probably past its peak, but still rolling along nicely in the pre-Disney days, when a trip to a natural springs spa was still considered a worthwhile vacation.

So, what's the attraction for El Capitan? Why would your curmudgeonly buccaneer treasure such a relic from the last century?

Take a look at the 50's-era picture above. It doesn't look that way any longer. Oh, no. Years have added layers of grime and wear to the old hulk. Sitting vacant for 34 years hasn't helped matters, either.

Here's a more recent daytime shot:

Still not seeing the possibilities? Here's a shot that might cut through the fog.

At night, this place is creepy as hell. The Faux Deco architecture takes a turn for the gothic in the fading light, and the looming facade set so close to the small country highway makes it seem like it was transported there via sorcery.

The first time I saw this place, I immediately wanted to rent it, open up the old ballroom, and hand it over to my friend Jenni, so she could shuttle in every gothy type in a 300 mile radius and have the biggest gloomfest ever seen. Heh. What would I get out of that? I wanted to do it for the sheer culture-fuck factor, seeing all the locals deal with hundreds of pale-skinned vampire types wearing lipstick & lace! Dunno if there was enough AquaNet and sunscreen in Palo Pinto County to keep that party going for more than a day or so...

Oh, that's not the best part! Place is rumored to be haunted, too! One 'psychic' claims that 49 different spirits lurk in the old hallways. MMmmm... tasty Ectoplasm!

That'd also make for one hell of a blogfest base of operations, I'm thinking!