MINERAL WELLS, TEXAS
Many of these small towns seem to be dying, and have few businesses or residents. I often wonder about the town’s history and how life would have been when the town was thriving.
In the late 1870’s, Judge James Lynch had a water well dug on his property. The water that came out of the well was foul smelling and full of minerals. Believing the water had cured their ailments and illnesses, word spread about the health benefits of this “Crazy Water”, and the town of Mineral Wells was born. At it’s peak, more than 4,000 people per day made Mineral Wells their travel destination. Built in 1929, the jewel of the town was the landmark Baker Hotel - an opulent, 14-story tall, 450 room hotel with many unique amenities. For thirty years, everyone from heads of state to movie stars were attracted to Mineral Wells to enjoy the health benefits of the town’s mineral waters, and the Baker Hotel provided them with the luxuries to which they were accustomed.
With the construction of Interstate 20, traffic that had traveled through Mineral Wells, now by-passes fourteen miles to the south. Proprietors experienced a significant drop in business. The Baker Hotel closed its doors three years later. Today only a few wells are left that bottle and sell their mineral waters.
This project explores the rise and fall of Mineral Wells. Multiple visits to Mineral Wells have shown that much of the town has fallen into decay, and older, established stores have been replaced with newer businesses away from the downtown area. My images convey a sort of wistfulness and longing for days past, and the sadness of being replaced by something newer but not necessarily better.