06 September 2010

Wander a Wonder

The 8th Wonder of the World that is. Remember the old Indiana Tourism mantra "wander Indiana, wander Indiana, wander Indiana"? It received a lot of criticism in its day-but it did the trick for me...I still can't get that ditty out of my head.


So, wander we did, on our way back from Holiday World we wandered Indiana which landed us on the doorstep of what some called the 8th wonder of the world: the West Baden Springs Hotel. Built in 1902 in West Baden-just down the road from French Lick-the hotel was falling into utter disrepair before the Cook Family stepped in and set out to rescue it. Price tag for restoration? Just a measly $500 million or so, but who's keeping track?

Having my hand on the pulse of preservation in Indiana I have been watching this story, and architectural wonder, emerge to become probably the greatest "save" in Indiana history. The building has a central atrium 200' across and more than 6 stories high. Quite a feat for 1902.


Once we drove past the restored French Lick Hotel the car just naturally got the nudge to ease its way onto the grounds of West Baden. We parked the car and walked indoors. Holy cow! And usually the kids and wife aren't impressed with my sick indulgent detours.....but they liked this one.




Just a few days ago my wife was going through some old photographs and came across this post card from the French Lick Springs Hotel and pictures of her grandparents at West Baden in 1932. Pretty cool. If you've never been, you should make the trip....it's worth the wander.

3 comments:

Flick said...

i just read about this over the weekend. looks like an amazing place. we'll have to check it out. :)

hoosier reborn said...

you guys should go visit it-less than an hour away I'd think?

vanilla said...

Though I have stayed at the French Lick Hotel, I've seen neither place since the restoration. "Wander Indiana" is still an excellent idea.