Would you believe that in the 1990s, this grand structure sat abandoned and crumbling? An exterior wall had even collapsed. Yet here it is today, restored and jaw-dropping.
This is the West Baden Springs Hotel, completed in 1902. Nestled among the mineral springs in Orange County in far southern Indiana, the hotel attracted people looking to relax and let the springs heal what ailed them — and people looking to gamble in the illicit casinos here.
Billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, its enormous domed atrium was the largest domed structure in the world at that time.
There are four exits from the atrium; one of them leads to this lobby, which is also round.
A deep porch curves around the front of the hotel. Some of it is covered and some is not; this uncovered portion was closed this day. The covered portions gave surprising relief from what was a very hot day.
You’ll find a sunken garden next to the hotel. This is where the springs used to be. They’re probably still there, but they’ve been closed up for years.
The main entry and exit road to the hotel is paved in brick. This road shows every sign of heavy use over decades. It was very rumbly as we drove in and out.
The entry arch dates to the hotel’s beginnings, when the springs were marketed as the main attraction here. “West Baden” is an Anglicization of “Wiesbaden,” a springs and spa town in Germany.