"The Eighth Wonder of the World" West Baden Springs by Dabs

West Baden Springs Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 25 photos

West Baden Springs

OK, perhaps this is not the eighth wonder of the world as it is lovingly billed by the people who promote it. But for those of you that have been to southern Indiana (and even if you haven't), I'm sure that you will agree with me that is it quite astonishing that it was ever built given it's location.

In 1901, a fire destroyed the original hotel and the grand building that stands there now was built and opened for business in 1902. The rebuilt hotel had 700 rooms that cost from $2-$12, a lot of money in 1902, I imagine I would have been in the $2 rooms. There were natural mineral springs used for bathing and drinking, it was advertised that drinking the water would cure a number of illnesses.

The grounds were extensive, guests could enjoy golf, horseback riding, bowling, billiards, swimming, hiking, and theater. Professional baseball teams came here to do their spring training. There was a double decker track for pony carts and bicycles, it was demolished by a tornado in the 1920s and never rebuilt.

It was rumored that Al Capone was among the many celebrity guests.

The Great Depression in 1929 did the hotel in and in 1934 it was sold to the Jesuits who removed much of the ornamental design. Ownership transferred to the Northwoods Institute in 1966 and after several more owners, the Historic Landmarks Foundation bought it in 1996. A wealthy philanthropist named Cook who lives in nearby Bloomington donated $30 million thus far for the renovations.

When we visited West Baden Springs on a very long daytrip from home, it was not a functioning resort but we were ablet ot our the grounds. As of May, 2007, the hotel is once more open for visitors, a rather grand place to stay in a very unlikely place, 2 hours south of Indianapolis. Although the drive from Chicago to Indianapolis is not much to speak of, the ride from Indy to French Lick is quite splendid especially in the fall when the colors are changing or in the spring when the flowering trees are blossoming.

  • Last visit to West Baden Springs: Apr 2004
  • Intro Updated Jan 14, 2008
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Reviews (13)

Comments (8)

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2008 at 4:24 AM

    Wow! What a beautiful resort. I esp. like the beautiful fireplace with the rocks and mural painted on it.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2008 at 5:26 PM

    Wow, this resort looks like it used to be quite a spot! I'm always amazed at what might pop up unexpectedly around the next turn in the road!

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2005 at 1:58 PM

    You even managed to get a French Lick in here too! I have to admit though that it is a very impressive hotel!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2005 at 2:06 PM

    I was only in German Baden-Baden once. Well, the place looks beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2004 at 8:00 AM

    Kristi, this is great "stuff". I've been to French Lick many times and never even knew about West Baden Springs. WOW! Nice job with information. Fascinating.

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2004 at 11:34 AM

    I enjoyed your reading your page, looks like a lovely place to visit, I have stayed in Baden in Germany! Happy Travels (~_~)

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2004 at 1:41 PM

    Outstanding job, Kristi. We loved our trip to West Baden Springs and can take some lessons from you on tip making.

  • yooperprof's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2004 at 7:41 AM

    It seems a little sad that it's not functioning as a spa any longer. I would like to see people walking around there with mudpacks on their faces.

Dabs

“Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today”

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