West Baden Springs History 1985-1995
Post-college years bring vacancy and deterioration
After Northwood Institute closed and sold the campus in 1985 to a real estate development firm, West Baden Springs began its long slide into deterioration. The firm went bankrupt and the neglected, vacant hotel became tangled in years of litigation in a Los Angeles federal bankruptcy court.
In spite of its condition, the hotel won National Historic Landmark status in 1987.
The elements and lack of maintenance and repair took their tolls. The property was closed to the public in 1989 for safety reasons and in January 1991, a six-story section of the exterior wall collapsed.
Following the collapse, Indiana Landmarks led a coalition with two goals: stabilize the hotel to preserve its redevelopment potential, and attract an owner capable of restoring the property for a new use. In 1992, Indiana Landmarks won permission from the bankruptcy court to stabilize the hotel in the area where the collapse occurred and in other vulnerable spots. A portion of the unrecoverable $140,000 cost came from an anonymous donor.
In May 1994, the Los Angeles bankruptcy court receiver sold the hotel for $500,000 to Minnesota Investment Partners which hoped to win a casino license. Unsuccessful in its lobbying campaign, the firm listed the hotel for sale for $800,000.
History of West Baden Springs Hotel
1901-1902: Creating "The Eighth Wonder of the World"
1902-1929: Vacation spot draws elite crowd
1930-1984: Great Depression ushers in college era
1985-1995: Post college years bring vacancy and deterioration
1996-1999: Partial restoration designed to attract buyer
2000-present: Nothing but blue skies from now on