When I knew that we were going to be in Indiana, I immediately routed us in a way that would take us to a place that I have wanted to see since our Book Club read a book about it.
“So Cold The River” is a really fun, very scary, historically based book centered around the resort at West Baden Springs, Indiana. From some of the opening paragraphs, I was intrigued and obsessed with going there someday. Because, any building with a creepy, long history, that was billed as the “8th Wonder of the World” when it first opened in 1902, it had the distinction of being the largest single span dome in the world (until they started building domed stadiums).
The day started out in a spooky, shaky manner…in that as soon as we started heading toward West Baden Springs from our stay in Greensburg, Indiana, it started raining buckets…with foreboding wind that seemed to be threatening to turn into even more severe weather.
But…we got there…and were simply blown away.
This place has long, convoluted history from “the destination resort” in the region for the rich and well-healed. However, after the stock market crash of 1929, came an almost instant crash of hotel business. The hotel ended up falling into disrepair, to such a degree that an outside wall collapsed, and the dome needed reinforcement to keep it from falling to the ground.
It was donated for a number of years to the Jesuit Catholics, and it served as a school for years…until once again, it just became too expensive to keep up. Several more years of being abandoned, left its future in doubt, until several people tried to by and refurb, and failed…until the lat 1990s, when the State finally came to the rescue with tax credits to the “Cook Group” who specializes in refurbing historic buildings…and we are ALL the better for their efforts.
Deb and I will be coming back…to spend an extended vacation here (yes they have healing waters as well as golf). It would be a perfect place for an anniversary…now we just have to get through a few weddings…right?
How big is this place?? Every one of the windows and balconies are associated with one of the 200+ hotel rooms. Amazing….
The floor is made of more than 2 MILLION small imported tiles.
Just one of the dome-side restaurants…and one of the original Italian sculptures that festoon the grounds.
One of the creepy, real-life mysteries of this place is the “Angel Room” which was a hidden room at the very top of the dome, with loads of paintings by an unknown artist.
We shared “The Dome”…rich chocolate shell, with a mocha filling.
Yes…that is a funnel cloud trying to form up. It never did…but got our attention.
On the way to St. Louis, who could resist a stop at OzarkLand? Well…we passed.
The drive from Greensburg to Nevada Missouri took us through St. Louis….pretty cool.
Interested in the book? Go HERE