By TYLER MASK
For years, many have wanted the Baker Hotel to come back to life, believing that it would reignite Mineral Wells to its former glory. Although it has taken some time, the city's long-held hope is finally seeming to have substance. These days, all the pieces seem to be aligning, and new leaders are coming together to accept the challenge once more.
From the Baker Restoration Team, spearheaded by Chad Patton and Laird Fairchild, to prominent Mineral Wells residents, advocates for the Baker are rising to the occasion and giving back with their resources, skills and talents. One of these advocates is Perri Leavelle.
Have you seen the “Vote for the Baker” signs around town? If so, then you have seen Leavelle's work. But her contributions to the Baker don't start there. She was an advocate for change even before Fairchild's vision for the Baker was born.
“[More than six years ago], I woke up and called my dad and said, 'I really feel like we need to prayer walk around the Baker,'” Leavelle said. “I don't know why, I just really felt like God said, 'Do this.' I went and I took some of the pastors there, and we walked around. It was kind of like a 'Jericho thing.' We didn't actually walk around seven times or anything like that, but we just prayed for it, and I remember that I felt like God said to anoint the corners of the sidewalks. I poured whatever it was I had... We just wanted this to be a positive thing.”
Leavelle's dreams for the Baker began with a realization that Mineral Wells could be a place for life and restoration – that Mineral Wells could serve as grounds for healing.
“What I love about Mineral Wells is that it is a place to come and relax and get healthy in the natural,” Leavelle said. “There is a well of spiritual healing here. I believe Mineral Wells [is a place] where you can come and just feel at home and kick your feet up and get some rejuvenation. And that's why I didn't want to see some of these other things. Not because, oh, I hate gambling, but because I want to see it as a place where people are being given back to.”