The Baker's been empty since the Sixties. That's when Earl Baker locked the doors and walked away. People say the hotel just sat there, perfectly intact, with the furniture in place, and linens on the beds. But then the hotel went through a series of new owners, and they pretty much cleaned the place out. People in Mineral Wells remember an especially notorious owner in the early-80's. He bought the hotel, then held a giant auction. The marble was ripped off the walls, and chandeliers were cut down from the ceiling. Later, wandering around the old Connellee Hotel, I met the mayor of Eastland, Texas. He told me how he bought a couple antique chairs during the auction at the Baker. Then he and his wife had to drag the chairs down 11-flights of stairs.  After the auction, the hotel was just an empty shell. I'm not sure who owns the hotel now, but it's looked after by a group of local old folks, who organize tours and hold craft fairs in the lobby. Sometimes, prisoners from a nearby prison drop by and do some painting. They even polished the old elevator doors, though the elevators haven't worked in years.
The ballroom used to have graffiti scrawled across the walls, but the convicts took care of that. There's another ballroom next to this one. Last time I was at the hotel, the room was being rented by a boxing club.
The spa is on the second floor, and there's still plenty of old exercise machines in it. They're the kind you strap yourself into and flip a switch. Then they do the exercising for you.
When I used to live in Austin, I'd pass through Mineral Wells all the time. A few nights, I stopped by the hotel and tried to figure out a way to sneak in. I mean, going on a guided tour with old folks is okay, but it's not the same as trespassing in the middle of the night. Besides, the tour didn't include the basement or the sub-basement, and that's practically the best part. One night, I squeezed into the old parking garage that's under the pool. It was a cold night, and my flashlight beam cut through my steamed-up breath. But then I got scared, so I got some fries at McDonald's instead. That's the enema table, by the way. It's up in the spa.