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
  • SD Presentation 13.jpg Weatherford's ICI awarded new Lamar construction contract

    With construction on the new Lamar Elementary School expected to begin in two about weeks, the Mineral Wells ISD school board on Monday approved Weatherford-based Imperial Construction Inc. as the project's general contractor.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Link

  • JROTC.jpg Uniform success

    In another year or so, Mineral Wells High School students might have a new organization to join. Civic leaders and school and city officials met Thursday at Mineral Wells ISD’s administration offices to hear a presentation about bringing the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, or JROTC, to the high school.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos 2 Links

  • Pat Green and Crowd.JPG Buckets, boots filled

    Country music stars helped raise more than a quarter million dollars for local volunteer firefighters during last weekend's Fourth Annual Buckets and Boots benefit concert.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 1 Link

  • 0720 one geese IMG_0387.jpg Geese are birdies not par for the course

    Birdies are not something golfers want many of – ones they create by failing to shoot par or the large, living, two-legged kind that damage a course's fairways and greens.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police investigate area store burglary

    A thief or thieves struck a local shop sometime around the July 4 weekend or early the next week, swiping about $3,000 worth of jewelry.

    July 17, 2014

  • choates.jpg Local Pythian couple ready for service

    Oscar Choate seems called to service.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baker 2 (Clint).JPG City Council appoints 4B board members

    In regular session Tuesday, the Mineral Wells City Council selected a seven-member board of directors for an economic development sales tax nonprofit corporation.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • todd hamilton IMG_0333.jpg SLIDESHOW: A Taste of Palo Pinto County 2014 Hundreds of people attended Monday's A Taste of Palo Pinto County event at Holiday Hills Country Club. Those attending sampled a variety of foods and beverages from local restaurants, stores and caterers. Also included at the benefit for the Mineral Wells Senior Center were silent and live auctions to raise monies to help keep the center and its seniors programs funded and running. Photos by David May/Index.

    July 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Watkins back to work in Palo Pinto County

    Former Parker County Assistant Elections Administrator Laura Watkins, who sought, but was not appointed to the post of Parker County elections administrator after Robert Parten retired, began work Monday as assistant elections administrator for Palo Pinto County, Palo Pinto County Elections Administrator Judith Evans confirmed.

    July 15, 2014

  • historical commission award.jpg Fire departments petition to create new fire district

    PALO PINTO – Palo Pinto County Commissioners accepted a petition for the creation of a second county Emergency Services District in Precinct 4, which covers Santo, Lone Camp and Brazos.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
SmugMug


Click on a photo to see our SmugMug photos

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
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.