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MINERAL WELLS, TEXAS

Palo Pinto County, Texas Panhandle / Central Texas North

32°48'31"N 98°6'7"W (32.808594, -98.101859)
US 281 - 90 miles S of Wichita Falls
US 180 - 48 miles W of Fort Worth
80 miles W of Dallas
Population: 14,826 Est. (2016)
16,788 (2010) 16,946 (2000) 14,870(1990)

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MINERAL WELLS, TEXAS

by Sam Fenstermacher

The town of Mineral Wells is at the intersection of Texas State Highways 180 and 281. Highway 180, previously U.S. Highway 80, crosses the whole state of Texas heading east and west. State Highway 281 crosses nearly the whole state, running from Wichita Falls to San Antonio. Before the Interstate Highway System, Mineral Wells sat at the intersection of two major routes of travel. Today, Mineral Wells sits at the intersection of two major routes of road trip travel.
View from the top of Penitentiary Hollow and Lake Mineral Wells at Mineral Wells State Park
View from the top of Penitentiary Hollow, and Lake Mineral Wells at Mineral Wells State Park.
Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008

The Mineral Wells State Park

The Mineral Wells State Park is located just a mile or two east of town. This rugged terrain along Rush Creek was an early home to several Native American tribes including the Comanche. Here you'll find camping, a nice lake, hiking trails, rock climbing, and one of the largest stands of undisturbed Cross Timbers forest in the region. Rock climbing is a popular activity in the Penitentiary Hollow area of the park.

Mineral Wells and Baker Hotel
The Baker Hotel dominating Mineral Wells
Photo courtesy Jason Grant
Baker Hotel bridge
Baker Hotel - The bridge from the hotel to the pool
Photo courtesy Jason Grant
The Baker Hotel

A fine hotel of 14 floors and 450 rooms, constructed during the late 1920’s to take advantage of the town’s famed mineral wells. The Baker reigned as one of the countries most glamorous hotels for 25 years. It remained open until the late 1960’s when changing travel preferences and other social and cultural changes caused a decline in business.

Downtown Mineral Wells

Today the Baker stands as a landmark for downtown Mineral Wells. The old commercial district along State Highway 281 (North Oak Ave.) is occupied by a wide variety of retail shops and restaurants. You can walk and shop in the shadow of the old Baker Hotel.
Mineral Wells Texas Home of Crazy Water  1940 post card
A reprint of a 1940’s Crazy Water postcard I picked up at the Famous Mineral Water Pavilion in Mineral Wells. It carries no copyright notice on the front or back. - Sam Fenstermacher
The Famous Mineral Water
In 1877 James Lynch and his wife Armanda settled on land that would eventually become the town of Mineral Wells. After several years of hauling water four miles from the Brazos River, they drilled a well in 1880. The Lynch family was initially hesitant to drink their well water because they thought it was poisoned. Over time they began drinking from the well, and an amazing thing happened: their health improved substantially.

News of the curative powers of their water spread, and Mineral Wells very quickly established its identity as a mineral water resort town. National recognition resulted in explosive growth that shaped the development of the town for several decades. During the 1930's the Great Depression and other factors foreshadowed the end of the golden age of Mineral Wells. By the 1940’s most of the mineral water companies had closed for lack of business.

Today, very little from this gilded era remains. The Baker Hotel resort and spa still stands, closed since 1972 and no better for all the years it has stood vacant. Another landmark of the era is the Famous Mineral Water Company Pavilion at 209 N.W. 6th Street.

The current Famous Mineral Water Pavilion was built at this location in 1914. You can still enjoy a mineral water at the old bar, and for anyone hesitant to commit to a full glass they have free samples. An apothecary's cabinet at one end of the pavilion contains tools and artifacts of the work of Ed Dismuke, founder of the Famous Mineral Water Company.
Giant bottle of mineral water in front of Famous Mineral Water Co. in Mineral Wells
Giant bottle of mineral water in front of Famous Mineral Water Co. in Mineral Wells.
Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008
Entrance to garden at Famous Mineral Water Company pavilion
Entrance to garden at Famous Mineral Water Company pavilion in Mineral Wells Texas.
Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008
Counter inside Famous Mineral Water Company
Counter inside Famous Mineral Water Company in Mineral Wells.
Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008
Apothecary's cabinet inside Famous Mineral Water Company
Apothecary's cabinet
Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008
Ed Dismuke came to Mineral Wells, as so many others did, seeking a cure for chronic health problems. After being cured by the mineral water, Ed sold his business in Waco and founded the Famous Mineral Water Company. Ed Dismuke was an avid promoter of the mineral water. As a trained pharmacist Ed was able to derive additional products from the water, for example Dismuke’s Famous Crystals and Dismuke’s Eyebath. These products were sold nationally, for a time, during the heyday of mineral water.
Crazy Water Hotel and Crazy Water Crystal postcard
Crazy Water Hotel and Crazy Water Crystals
Postcard courtesy of Byran Black
Famous Mineral Water Company historical marker, Mineral Wells Texas
Texas Historical Commission Medallion for Famous Mineral Water Company in Mineral Wells Texas.
Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008
The Chautauqua auditorium, the 2nd Crazy Well Pavilion and the Carlsbad Well Pavilion. Photo circa 1910
Click on image to enlarge
Photo courtesy Tracy Blackburn
Today they sell several varieties of Crazy Water at the Famous Pavilion in Mineral Wells. These waters come from wells in the area including the Crazy Well. Crazy Water gets its name from a crazy woman believed to have been cured by the water of the Crazy Well many years ago. The Famous Mineral Water Company wells are the only ones in town still accessible to the public.

The Famous Mineral Water Company Pavilion is an interesting stop. They stay busy selling mineral water, snacks, and other merchandise. A good source of travel information for the area, they also tell a great version of the history of Mineral Wells Texas.


© Sam Fenstermacher

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BAT WORLD

Mineral Wells is also home to Bat World – a living Museum and rehabilitation center for orphaned and injured bats which nest throughout Mineral Wells. Like Austinites, the citizens of Mineral Wells have grown to appreciate their insect eating, pollinating friends. Founded by Amanda Lollar, Bat World is an affiliation of B.A.T.S., the Beneficial Animal Teaching Society, a non-profit organization.

Elmwood Cemetery in Mineral Wells
Frost Tombstone, with statue Elmwood Cemetery, Mineral Wells Texas
Elmwood Cemetery
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Smith Tombstone with statues, Elmwood Cemetery, Mineral Wells Texas
Elmwood Cemetery
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
Statue , Elmwood Cemetery, Mineral Wells Texas
Elmwood Cemetery
Photo courtesy Mike Price, December 2007
More Texas Cemeteries |
Statues & Monuments

Mineral Wells Ghosts, Stories & Images

  • The Ghosts of the Baker Hotel by Bob Hopkins.
  • The Baker Hotel ("Rooms with a Past") by Johnny Stucco
  • Haunting Photos of the Baker Hotel
  • Ghosts of the Crazy Water Hotel by Bob Hopkins.
  • Mineral Wells once a booming health spa by Delbert Trew
  • Book Burning by Mike Cox
  • Oil Patch Memories by Mike Cox

    Mineral Wells Trip

  • Weatherford, Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto and Thurber

    Book Hotel Here › Mineral Wells Hotels

  • Old Neon sign outside Mountaineer Bowling Lanes in Mineral Wells Texas
    Old Neon sign outside Mountaineer Bowling Lanes in Mineral Wells
    Photo courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, September 2008
    "Here is a photo taken of the Grand Theatre in 1948 just after it was remodled. I worked there as a teenager and later owned the building after it had closed. This is one of 4 theatres that were open in the 1940's into the 1960's in Mineral Wells."
    Don Eichler, Center Point, Texas, September 14, 2006

    Mineral Wells, Texas Area Towns:
    Wichita Falls | Fort Worth | Dallas
    See Palo Pinto County | Texas Panhandle / Central Texas North

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