The Crescent Hotel in the Ozark Mountain town of Eureka Springs is said to be the most haunted hotel in America!
The hotel certainly has an eerie and unsettling history and many guests and staff have claimed to have seen ghosts and evidence of supernatural activity. Recent finds have only added to the creepy allure of this haunted place.
However, In addition to the resident ghosts, The Crescent Hotel is also an extraordinary grande dame of Arkansas hotels with plenty of non-supernatural activities and amenities to offer its guests.
It also has a wonderful hilltop location from which you can visit the charming and quirky town of Eureka Springs.
America’s Most Haunted Hotel: The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs
Before we dive into the ghostly history of the hotel let me tell you what it is like today!
The Crescent Hotel was fully restored in 2002. Since then it has become a perfect place from which to explore the town of Eureka Springs and enjoy the beauty of the Ozark Mountains.
We found the hotel to be a beautiful place with a stunning hilltop location. It’s beautiful signature crescent graces the front entrance, the public spaces are grand, and service is both warm and impeccable.
Do be aware that this is an old hotel and in many ways it feels old. In other words, it hasn’t been restored in a way that takes away all the signs of age.
Rooms at the Crescent Hotel
The rooms come in a variety of sizes and configurations.
We stayed in room 202, a King parlor room, which supposedly is near much of the supernatural activity. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view) we had no ghostly experiences.
The decor has darker woods, old fashioned furnishing, carpets, curtains. It is very pleasant but has a very different than the style of most modern hotels.
Some of the rooms have balconies with very nice views overlooking the grounds and the mountains.
There are several dining options in the hotel.
- The Crystal Dining Room serves breakfast and dinner. We did not have dinner there but we really enjoyed the breakfast buffet.
- The SkyBar Gourmet Pizza is really good! It is on the 4th floor of the hotel so it has great views from the balcony. You can choose to sit inside or out.
- We happily enjoyed the Frisco Bar and Burgers at the Frisco Sporting Club. They have a full bar along with burgers, shaved ice, chicken tenders, and desserts.
- Top of the Crest a great place to get a snack or a drink with a view. Try to come here at sunset!
New Moon Spa
The New Moon Spa and Salon is said to be one of the finest spas in Northwest Arkansas. You can choose from a variety of services.
Some of the products from the spa are also in your room. I loved the lotion!
Frisco Sporting Club
The Frisco Sporting club might have been our favorite area of the hotel!
You can just relax in the pretty surroundings here or you can participate in games, do a little hatchet throwing, listen to live music, have a drink or a snow cone and so much more. We loved it!
Activities at the Crescent Hotel
The hotel offers a wide variety of activities for their guests. You will always want to check the schedule to see what is going on.
Many of the activities are free to hotel guests while others, like the ghost tour, have a cost.
Some of the activities are:
- Guided History tour
- Scavenger hunt for kids
- Cake tasting of the day
- Family games on the back porch
- and MANY more!
The Ghost Tour at the Crescent Hotel
We took the ghost tour and it was so much fun! They start every night at 6:30 and last about 1.5 hours. You get to hear the stories of many of the hotel’s spirits, learn about the various guest sightings, and see the infamous morgue of Dr. Baker.
I had no ghostly experiences while on the tour but definitely was a little afraid!
Hotel Amenities and Activities
- Swimming pool
- New Moon Spa & Salon
- Hot tub
- Crystal Dining Room
- SkyBar Gourmet Pizza
- Concierge and bellman service
- Gorgeous manicured gardens
- Easy access to town
- Ghost tours
- Biker Friendly
- Daily Activity Programming
- A Shuttle into town
- Fitness room
- and so much more!
History of the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs
Now let’s talk about the history and the ghosts of The Crescent Hotel.
Over the years many of the guests have reported not only ghost sightings but also strange, paranormal events occurring both in their rooms and in other areas of the Crescent hotel.
Here is how it all came about.
Michael the ghost
May of 1886 marked the opening of the opulent Crescent Hotel on its majestic hilltop location. It was built at a cost of almost $300,000 and was a showplace!
During the building of the hotel Irish stonemasons carved and assembled 18-inch-thick blocks of limestone from a White River quarry not too far from the hotel.
(The quarry was across the river from the town of Beaver which is now known for the little Golden Gate Bridge of Arkansas.)
One of these masons may be the hotel’s first ghost. He tragically fell to his death into what is now room 218. This room just happens to be the most “active” of the haunted rooms with slamming doors, visions in the mirror, and opening drawers.
This mason turned ghost is called Michael by the hotel and many visitors actually request room 218 in hopes of experiencing paranormal activity.
The hotel attracted wealthy visitors during the Victorian years and several of todays ghosts appear dressed in Victorian garb. Much of this activity seems to be centered around the Crystal Dining Room where dancing Victorian ghosts have been seen in the wee hours of the night.
Staff have experienced decor being moved around when nobody was in the room.
Guests and staff have reported seeing a man in dapper Victorian clothing sitting and looking pensively out a window
Boarding School Days
The hotel began to struggle financially during the off-season and became the Crescent College & Conservatory for Young Women during the winter months while continuing as a resort in the summer months.
The Crescent College was a boarding college for “fine young ladies” and according to my research several of the attendees went on to have celebrated lives.
This was during a time that education for women wasn’t highly valued yet many prominent families sent their daughters to study here. It was considered to be one of the most exclusive boarding academies in Arkansas
During the ghost tour you will learn that one of the hotel ghosts is said to be a young woman from the college who was pregnant at the time of her death.
Nobody really knows her story. Some speculate that the father of her baby was one of the professors at the school. She fell…or perhaps jumped…or perhaps was pushed, from her 3rd floor balcony and died from her injuries.
This ghost is seen as a mist-like apparition in a nightgown, sometimes jumping from the balcony, but also drifting in the hallway and on the back courtyard.
The Sad Days of the Baker Hospital
Due to the tough economic times of the depression the college was forced to closed completely. In 1937 the hotel was purchased by a psychopathic con-man named Norman Baker. Thus began the creepiest time period of the Crescent Hotel.
Baker began a pseudo-scientific establishment which he named Baker’s Cancer Curing Hospital.
He was called Doctor Baker although he had no medical training. Patients were attracted to the “hospital” through the mailing of brochures that claimed he could cure cancer without surgery.
Many people, sick and weak and dying, came to the hotel to take his “cure” which consisted of a magical elixir which, of course, did nothing. He bilked families out of their savings by telling them that he could cure their loved ones.
On some occasions even after patients died in his care he would not tell their loved ones that they had passed in order to continue collecting payments.
It is probably not surprising that many of the hotel ghosts are from these dark days.
Here are just a few of the sightings:
- Theodora is a ghost who lives in Room 419. She is seen to be looking for her room key. Theodora has even been known to tidy up or repack bags after the guests leave the room to have a meal or go into town.
- “Doctor” Baker himself has been seen in the hotel lobby. He wears a purple shirt and white linen suit and his appearance matches that of known photographs of the charlatan.
- A nurse pushing a gurney has been seen in the area of the “hospital’s” morgue and the squeaky wheels of a gurney have been heard on other floors.
- People report hearing screaming or voices when no one is around.
- Some people report feeling faint while on the 3rd floor.
Fortunately Baker’s time at the Crescent Hotel did not last long. He was arrested for mail fraud and sent to Leavenworth prison in 1940.
It was those fancy lying brochures that convicted him.
The Hotel Falls into Disrepair and Comes Back to Grandeur
During the next years the building had various owners and experienced various levels of restoration and neglect. It seemed that the death knell for the hotel was in 1967 when a fire destroyed much of the south wing of the hotel.
Although there were some more owners and various restorations it wasn’t until 1997 when Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the historic inn that the fortunes of The Crescent Hotel really began to change.
The new owners announced, “In five years, we pledge to have this ‘Grand Lady of The Ozarks’ back to where she was 100 years ago.”
I suspect that the residents of Eureka Springs were skeptical of this claim. However, by 2002, after spending 5 million dollars in renovations, the hotel had been fully restored and was once again presiding grandly over the town.
Recent Chilling Discovery at the Crescent Hotel
In 2019 the hotel’s landscape gardener made a discovery. She dug up some strange bottles. Soon it was realized that the bottles were identical to those that had been used on one of Norman Baker’s advertising posters and brochures.
Some of the bottles even had what appeared to be tumors floating in liquid in them.
This hit the Arkansas news hard. I remember the whole state was talking about it.
Archeologists from the nearby University of Arkansas were called. The state crime lab was called, a hazmat crew was called, and…eventually the dig moved forward.
The site turned out to be the lost dump site for the infamous con-man Norman Baker. As each bottle, surgical tool, and specimen jar was unearthed it became clear that the stories and rumors not only were completely true but were probably worse than had previously been thought.
This has simply added to the mystery and allure of the Crescent Hotel.
Although the hotel leans heavily (and dare I say, happily) into their ghostly reputation it is also a perfect place for those who just want to experience a stay at a great historic hotel.
You absolutely do not have to believe or buy into the ghost stories to enjoy a get away at the Crescent.
I have never experienced anything supernatural or even creepy while there. But I assure you that I keep an eye out for ghosts or misty apparitions!
Here are some lists of some more of our favorite places to stay in Arkansas!
Thanks for stopping by!