I like casinos, horse races and good beer = I’m easy to please. Well, most of the time. So on the last trip to US Mike’s parents took us to the French Lick Casino which is located in the middle of nowhere. You would never guess such massiveness out there.
We stayed a night in their hotel and on the next day after a night of gambling we drove over to the awesome West Baden Hot Spring Hotel. Which is right next door.
Wikipedia tells us this:
In 1852, John Lane built a hotel on a site near the town of Mile Lick that he named the Mile Lick Inn. The town was renamed West Baden in 1855, so Lane changed the hotel name to the West Baden Inn. In 1887, the Monon railroad built an extension to take guests to the springs and the hotel. By the late 1800s, seven railroads brought guests from all over the country to the Springs Valley for relaxation and the alleged curative powers of the mineral water.
A group that included Lee Wiley Sinclair from Salem, Indiana acquired controlling interest in the hotel in 1888. Sinclair soon became sole owner and transformed it into a sophisticated resort, including an opera house, a casino—advertised as "The Carlsbad of America" and a two-deck, covered, one-third-mile oval bicycle and pony track. A lighted baseball diamond in the center of the track became the spring training grounds for several major league teams including the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. Fire destroyed the entire hotel building in less than two hours in June, 1901; however, no guests were injured. Owner Lee Sinclair declared that the new hotel would be fireproof and would have the world’s largest dome. Most professionals in the architectural community considered it impossible, but unknown West Virginia architect Harrison Albright completed the new West Baden Springs Hotel on time.
The new structure opened in September 1902 and if the advertisements and articles about the new hotel were true, the facility deserved being called the Eighth Wonder of the World. It was claimed that the resort’s mineral baths and drinking waters could cure everything from sterility to senility. The hotel’s amenities included two golf courses, billiards, bowling, baseball, swimming, horseback riding, bicycling and hiking on scenic trails, movies and nightly theatre. On-site personal services included a stock brokerage, banking and a barbershop. Birds flew freely in the 200-foot-diameter atrium, and an enormous fireplace burned 14-foot logs to take the chill off on cool evenings. Source and more info.
Pretty impressive though, he? If we ever go back I want to stay there one night. The French Lick casino was not very big but had my game of choice – Blackjack $5 mind. bet table but was missing a Pai Gow Poker table. Oh well. Did gut even after I hit a straight flush on Video Poker !