Homestead Hotel

In contrast to the opulence of both the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel is the more modest, mid-sized Homestead Hotel. This building, located across the street from the West Baden Springs Hotel, was built in 1913. Smaller hotels began appearing in the Springs Valley in the late 1890s. The rates at both French Lick and West Baden ranged from $2-$3 a day so only the wealthy could afford to stay there. The mineral waters and casinos were a powerful enough draw that people of all classes wanted to visit the valley. This resulted in the construction of a series of mid-sized hotels that only charged $1 per day including meals. The Homestead is the only mid-sized hotel that remains today.

The Homestead Hotel is a brick, three story tall structure. The first floor was used for commercial space while the upper floors offered guest rooms. The retail space included a saloon, drugstore, dry goods store, restaurant, town post office, and a ladies’ clothing store. There were no casinos or mineral baths at the Homestead. However, these amenities were available at other hotels in the valley. By 1913, three of the 21 hotels had established public casinos. Hotel guests at the Homestead were able to purchase a “water privilege ticket” for either French Lick or West Baden to “take the waters”.

In 1919, Ed Ballard, future owner of the West Baden Springs Hotel, purchased the Homestead Hotel for $1. Ballard weathered the beginning of the Depression but sold the Homestead to his cousins in 1934. Upon the transfer of the West Baden Springs Hotel to the Jesuits that same year, the Homestead was renamed the West Baden Springs Hotel. With new ownership and a new name came a new look for the hotel. The main entrance was redesigned and included a revolving door and Art Deco canopy. The building continued to function as a hotel until 1976 when the Northwood Institute purchased the hotel for a dormitory. In 1984, Eugene McDonald purchased both the Homestead and the West Baden Springs Hotels to return them to hotel use. Unfortunately, neither effort was successful and the Homestead was turned over to the county. The hotel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. In 2001, the Homestead Hotel underwent a successful restoration effort and was converted into senior housing

Images

Homestead Hotel

Homestead Hotel

Source: Courtesy of Indiana DNR View File Details Page

Street Address:

8163 W State Road 56, West Baden Springs, IN 47469 [map]

Cite this Page:

Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, “Homestead Hotel,” Discover Indiana, accessed September 21, 2018, http://indyhist.iupui.edu/items/show/312.

Share this Story