Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Top Stories

April 27, 2014

Back in the day

Gene Anastas, who went from bellhop to assistant executive manager at the Baker Hotel until its closing in 1963, hopes more glory days are ahead

By TODD GLASSCOCK

It’s likely few people in Mineral Wells paid too much mind to April 29, 1963. But the next day, which happened to be Baker Hotel owner Earl Baker’s 70th birthday, probably dropped quite a few jaws.

That day, Baker shuttered the hotel, a little less than 34 years after his uncle T.B. Baker opened it. The hotel’s shutdown ended three mostly lush decades of celebrities, business leaders, political leaders, and conventions that helped sustain the town economically and give it worldwide attention.

Its closing also put more than 200 people out of work,  and dampened the rest of the town’s spirits.

“I knew in advance it was closing,” said Gene Anastas, who worked for nearly a decade at the hotel, starting fresh out of high school at 17 as a bellhop, before leaving the hotel in 1963 as its executive assistant manager. “It provided a livelihood to a lot of people.”

Advanced notice of the hotel shutting down didn’t make it any easier to give up working for a place and with people that brought joy, he said.

Simple things – as well as the elegant – made the hotel a wonderful place to work, he said. “In the summertime, one of my fondest memories was running up the [front] steps two at a time.”

He also learned to swim in the hotel pool, a privilege usually extended to guests who were members of the hotel’s Brazos Club.

There were also fond times having a beer with co-workers at the bar across the street after a hard day’s work, he said.

Moments of elegance were evident in rooftop dances and the sight of the famous people who roomed there.

Anastas recalls, while cleaning up one time, finding a sign of the hotel’s past brush with fame – the registration card of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The president, who was crippled from polio, spent quite a lot of time soaking in the hotel’s baths, Anastas was told.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • Inquiry made on housing children at CCA

    An inquiry about housing at the former Corrections Corporation of America facility at Wolters Industrial Park some of the thousands of unaccompanied children who have crossed illegally into the United States seems to be nothing more than that, at least for now.

    July 28, 2014 2 Stories

  • Woman killed in one-vehicle wreck

    SALESVILLE – A Mineral Wells woman died Friday after she crashed her car into a brick retaining wall near Hilltop Road.

    July 28, 2014

  • bryan joyner1.jpg Back on the beat

    It is never too late to start a music career – or restart one as the case may be. For Mineral Wells High School Class of 1989 graduate Bryan Adam Joyner, restarting his is the case. He is once again making a strong push to get his music into the mainstream while performing wherever he can.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Link

  • FLIPPED TEACHING

    Teenagers seem to voraciously consume YouTube videos, whether watching Miley Cyrus and Pharrell’s latest pop music sensation, Jimmy Fallon and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s workout spoof or skateboarders wiping out.

    July 27, 2014

  • Barbara Dews and compost.jpg Inspectors return to health products company

    Texas Department of State Health Services inspectors arrived Wednesday to investigate a Mineral Wells-based natural health products manufacturer, Metro Chem Associates, as part of ongoing Attorney General’s probe into the company’s operations.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • kitchen fire.jpg Kitchen fire damages county home

    PALO PINTO COUNTY – For Garen Wyatt, of Mineral Wells, mid-morning Thursday turned into one of those days in which a few minutes proved the tipping point between bad and devastating.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • burglary suspects.jpg Police make burglary arrests, issue scam alert

    Mineral Wells police rounded up several burglary suspects this past week, each reportedly caught in the act.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • AT&T.jpg Trouble on that tower: AT&T customers continue to air cellular service gripes

    Despite assurances from AT&T earlier this month that ongoing network cellular service issues in the Mineral Wells area were fixed or soon would be, many local customers continue to complain about poor service.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Becky McDonald and Spot.jpg NO KILL ZONE: Animal shelter working with Humane Society to end euthanasias

    About mid-morning one day at the Mineral Wells Animal Shelter, Becky McDonald, shelter coordinator, makes some time to check phone messages. When she plays it back, it's a request for the shelter to pick up some apparently abandoned kittens.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry Jay Williams.jpg A stunning arrest

    After a brief scuffle Sunday morning, a Mineral Wells police officer stunned and arrested a man allegedly caught in the act of burglarizing a home.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
SmugMug


Click on a photo to see our SmugMug photos

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.