Seven Historical Facts about West Baden Springs Hotel


By Joy Neighbors

Thanks to Lee Sinclair and his forward-looking ideas, West Baden Springs Hotel grew to become a world-renowned resort at the turn of the last century. When Sinclair died in 1916, his daughter Lillian continued the legacy of updating and remodeling the hotel. When Ed Ballard took over ownership in the 1920s, West Baden was known for its “moving” Sprudel water, baseball, and numerous luxurious conveniences.

Here are seven more historical points in honor of National Preservation Month.

West Baden Freestanding Dome

1) The largest freestanding dome in the
world spanned the atrium at West Baden until the 1960s when the Houston Astrodome took the glory.

2) West Baden was known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” because of the dome.

Jesuits Cemetery
3) The Jesuits bought the hotel from Ed
Ballad for a dollar in 1934. West Baden houses three groups of Jesuits during the 30 years they kept the hotel: Priests, Brothers and students.
4) There is a cemetery on the property. Close to 40 Jesuits are interred in the small graveyard located a few steps from the West Baden portico. Visitors are welcome.

The Rookwood Fireplace in the Atrium
5) For several years, West Baden was a business and culinary school known as Northwood Institute.

6) The atrium boasts a one-of-a-kind
fireplace crafted from Rookwood tile made in Cincinnati and now valued in the millions.
7) West Baden opened as a hotel again in 2007 – 75 years after the hotel closed its doors on June1, 1932.

Learn more about West Baden Springs Hotel; visit our web page and explore all we have to offer.