Designed by Harrison Albright and built in 1902, the West Baden Springs Hotel is an architectural marvel located on 684 acres of woods, springs, and formal gardens in Southern Indiana ‘s Orange County . The Hotel’s nearly 700 rooms form around a central dome that is 200 feet in diameter and 100 feet high. It is believed that this dome was the world’s largest clear-span dome until the Astrodome was built in 1963. Celebrities, dignitaries, and even professional baseball teams flocked to the resort, with notables such as Al Capone and “Diamond Jim” Brady, plus the Chicago White Sox, Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds. Golfing, horseback riding, swimming, and hiking were offered, as well as access to a bank, shops, and a barber.
In 1929 the stock market crippled the Hotel. In 1934, the property was transferred to the Jesuits, who changed much of the original ornamental design, and replaced the hotel’s towers. The Northwood Institute, a hotel management and culinary arts school, took over the Hotel and operated it until 1983. After that, the West Baden Springs Hotel stood vacant for thirteen years, until a complete restoration began in 1996. In October 1998, the original four towers were recreated and airlifted into place, marking the hotel’s long-awaited return to its 1917 grandeur. Looking like a fairy-tale castle, the West Baden Springs Hotel has since drawn national interest and will soon welcome hotel guests for the first time since 1932.