Abandoned hotels are fascinating places. Filled with mystery and sadness, the history almost feels alive in these places. You can almost hear the ding of elevators and the murmur of voices long ago silenced as you view the ruins of the once bustling buildings.
Across the South there are many places that stand derelict for one reason or another. Some were destroyed by hurricanes or fires, and some simply went belly up.
Each one of the following buildings has a unique history, some tragic and mysterious. Check out these 10 creepy abandoned hotels in the South.
The Baker Hotel – Mineral Wells, Texas
The abandoned Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas has long been a source of contention among locals. The historic monolith was built in 1929 and was once a popular health spa for jet-setters of the 1930s.
The hotel boasted the first-ever swimming pool built in a hotel in the state of Texas, and welcomed a star-studded register of guests such as Clark Gable, Glenn Miller and Judy Garland. The founder, Theodore Baker, is said to have died in the penthouse suite.
The eventual decline in popularity of health spas and Theodore Baker’s death at the hotel was too much for it to handle, and The Hotel Baker shut its doors permanently in 1972. In recent years the town has been attempting to raise enough money to restore and reopen it.
Harder Hall – Sebring, Florida
Opened in 1927, Harder Hall was at one time a premier golf destination in Florida. Sebring is home to the Sebring International Raceway, so the hotel welcomed famous guests like Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Mario Andretti.
In 1982 the structure was sold to real estate developers whose plans to turn the property into timeshares faltered. It has sat vacant since then, with several failed attempts to restore and reopen the hotel. The golf course, however, remains open to this day on a pay-to-play basis. To see more pictures of what it looks like inside, check out Abandoned Florida.
The Savoy – Nowata, Oklahoma
Signs of the Savoy Hotel’s former life as a health spa adorn the side of the decrepit building, advertising “Radium Water Baths.” Nowata was an oil boomtown in the early 1900s, and workers discovered a water spring while searching for oil.
The hotel capitalized on the popularity of the newly discovered element radium to advertise the healing capabilities of its springs. Whether or not the water actually contained the radioactive (and extremely harmful) element is unclear. In 2013 a man working to restore the hotel tragically died after falling off the roof. To see more pictures of what it looks like inside, go to AbandonedOK.com.
Hotel Grim – Texarkana, Arkansas
Though it may seem a fitting name for a creepy abandoned hotel, the Hotel Grim in Texarkana was once an opulent destination in the Arkansas/Texas border town.
The hotel opened in 1924 and once hosted Bonnie and Clyde before the duo’s violent deaths.
Passenger train travel declined, and that eventually spelled the end for the Hotel Grim. The establishment closed permanently in 1990, but the city currently has plans to renovate it.
Hotel Putnam – DeLand, Florida
Hotel Putnam reopened in 1923 as Florida’s first fireproof hotel after the original building burned down two years previously.
According to Abandoned Florida, locals claim the hotel is haunted, especially the 7th floor, which was used as a storage facility and was off-limits to guests during the building’s operational years.
The Daily Mail reported that, in 1984, a 19-year-old man killed his pregnant girlfriend by pushing her off a third-floor fire escape staircase at the hotel.
Hotel Viggo – Hebbronville, Texas
Built in 1915, Hotel Viggo served not only as accommodations for visitors to Hebbronville, but as a stronghold for citizens during attacks from Pancho Villa’s gang.
The Viggo Hotel, as it’s sometimes called, was built by Viggo Kohler to accommodate ranch hands. At the time of its construction, the town of Hebbronville had only 400 residents. The structure may be crumbling, but it was awarded a historical marker from the state of Texas. You can see more pictures here.
Hilltop Hotel – Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
The Hilltop Hotel in historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia dates back to the 1870s. It survived two fires and remained in operation until 2008 when it was closed in anticipation of a restoration.
The housing market crash and a subsequent roof collapse, however, put renovation plans on hold, and currently the hotel remains in a state of disrepair.
Wonderland Hotel – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
If this one looks familiar, it’s because a hiker’s video of this hotel went viral a few years ago. The Huffington Post reported that Jordan Liles discovered the remnants of a long-forgotten town, but according to locals, no one had actually forgotten it.
The Wonderland Hotel was an anchor for the small town of Elkmont, Tennessee, before the area attained National Park status. In the 199os the NPS refused to renew the leases for residents of the area, and they were eventually forced out. In 2016 a fire destroyed the hotel’s annex building, but the park service preserved several artifacts.
De Soto Hotel – Hot Springs, Arkansas
The De Soto Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas started out as the Howe Hotel in 1926. During those days Hot Springs was just gaining prominence for its namesake hot springs which were purported to have healing powers.
The hotel was renamed De Soto in the 1940s, at which time it was being used as a recovery center for injured soldiers returning from World War II.
In the 1980s part of the hotel caught fire and burned to the ground. It has remained closed ever since.
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