Our Crazy History
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Crazy Water Hotel has a rich and fascinating history dating back to 1881. In that year, our founder, Judge James Alvis Lynch discovered the mineral-rich water from his well seemed to have therapeutic properties that could help with a variety of ailments, including arthritis, rheumatism, skin conditions, and other health issues. Soon after, people flocked to Mineral Wells in droves!
The Crazy Name
To meet increasing demand, the town quickly dug three more wells. One was at the site of the current Crazy Water Hotel and named the “Wiggins Well” after the man who owned it. It was local school children who first began calling it the “Crazy Well” because an old woman who seemed a bit crazy was spotted drinking from that well daily until she seemed to improve. Then, she disappeared, unnamed, into history, but her legacy remains. And while we make no claims that the water cured her, the folks in that day sure did. Her “miraculous cure” just added to the legend of the healing magic of the water!
In 1885, a small wooden pavilion was built over the well. The completion of a passenger railroad in 1891 brought record crowds to Mineral Wells and it quickly became a popular destination for tourists wanting to experience the healing water. Thus, in 1900 a larger frame pavilion was built next to the first one where folks were entertained by orchestras, vaudeville acts and silent films. Later still, a larger brick pavilion replaced the frame pavilion, but it simply wasn’t enough to hold the growing crowds. It was time for Mineral Wells to have a large hotel.
The Crazy Hotel
The need was met in 1913, with the construction of a five-story hotel adding two buildings and a shared lobby to the pavilion. This was the first Crazy Hotel. With 110 rooms, it was the town’s first large hotel.
Tragically, the hotel and everything in the block was totally consumed by a fire in 1925. However, rising like a phoenix from the ashes, the hotel was quickly rebuilt by a new owner; Carr Collins. In just two years, the new seven-story Crazy Hotel re-opened offering a whopping 250 rooms.
The design for the Crazy Water Hotel was inspired by Spanish Colonial Revival design elements that created an atmosphere of elegance and sophistication.
The Crazy Amenities
Various stores surrounded the first floor with physicians’ offices on the mezzanine floor above. On the rooftop, a luxurious ballroom and outdoor patio drew guests for a view of the town and surrounding Palo Pinto Mountains. In the basement, guests enjoyed a bathhouse, bowling lanes, a skee ball court, and domino tables. The Crazy Water pavilion was one of the largest of its kind in the Southwest and the counter was advertised as the largest counter in the world over which mineralized water is served!
Proud of the magnificent hotel, the town celebrated for a solid week with a baseball game, a wrestling match, a golf tournament, banquets, concerts, dances, and various other entertainments. Five thousand people were in town for the formal opening with over a thousand attending the opening day ceremonies in the lobby. The town was so crazy with excitement, they named it “Crazy Week”.
The Crazy Radio Shows
The hotel even had its own radio program, The Crazy Radio Gang, that was aired directly from the lobby! In the early 1920s, the Crazy Hotel Orchestra began entertaining fans on Fort Worth’s WBAP radio station on Sunday nights. During the 1930s they aired their radio program “Crazy Water Crystals Saturday Night Jamboree” to sell Crazy Water Crystals, the powdered mineral left after the evaporation of Crazy Water.
The Crazy Downturn
Unfortunately, the Crazy Water Hotel began to struggle in the mid-20th century as folks increasingly began to rely on the newly available modern medicines to treat their ailments. In addition, affordable automobiles and better roads made road trips to state parks and other great American sites ever more appealing to travelers.
So, the hotel closed as a hotel in 1961. In the intervening years, it served as an interim hospital while the county hospital was being built and as a retirement home. It was permanently closed in 2010 and sat vacant for nearly eleven years
The Crazy Return
Happily, local investors joined together in 2019 to bring The Crazy Water Hotel back. Renovated and reopened in 2021, the rooms have been enlarged and beautifully remodeled with all the modern amenities. Wonderful shops surround the first floor, the Crazy Coffee & Water Bar now occupies the large water bar, and a restaurant is soon to join the first-floor merchants. Today, the mezzanine now offers conference rooms and hospitality suites and the rooftop ballroom and pavilion have been splendidly restored making stunning venues for weddings and events. The basement is being restored as a world-class spa, offering health and wellness care for locals and visitors once again.
The Crazy Water Hotel once again welcomes guests from all over the world. In fact, some of the first guests in the newly renovated hotel were the cast and crew from Paramount’s mini-TV series, 1883.
The Crazy Invitation
Whether you are interested in history, or architecture, or simply looking for a luxurious and relaxing escape, the Crazy Water Hotel is a must-visit destination. Its rich history and iconic status have made it a beloved landmark in Mineral Wells, Texas.