By TYLER MASK
Ever since the Baker Hotel's final closing, the center of “main and main,” has been rotting out. One couple has literally watched the Baker deteriorate from a few feet away every day and night for the last three decades, but they are full of hope.
Mineral Wells natives Bryan and Laura Marsh, co-owners of Jitter Beans Roasting Company and Downtown Video and Laser, are located just across the street from the Baker. They also live downtown, which means the 14-story giant never leaves their sight.
The Marshes moved downtown in 1981, and DVL opened shop August of 1989. Although this was after the Baker's prime, the Marshes remember a time when it was still in good condition and the city was thriving.
Growing up, Laura remembers Mineral Wells as a community where everyone knew everyone's names. She and her friends used to walk and ride around town on their bikes, making rounds to various shops and stops, doing what kids do.
“There used to be drains under the street, and you could crawl underneath the drain to get across the street,” Laura said. “You could go for blocks.”
Bryan's grandparents owned a furniture store that was once a car shop, and while he didn't know Laura at the time, she and her friends would take advantage of the store's car ramp.
“You could sneak in the back and ride your bike if they were up front,” Laura said. “They never heard you coming in because we were always very quiet. We would ride up the ramp, turn around and ride out the door.”
“Downtown was vibrant back then,” Bryan said. “There were people walking down there – walking and shopping. I think that's what was so neat.”
One of Bryan's fondest memories is that of Poston's Dry Goods. His favorite thing about the store was their money system, where one could place their money in a holster and send it across the store to the cashier.