West Baden Springs History 1930-1984
Great Depression ushers in college era
When the stock market crashed in 1929, many guests witnessed the event in a brokerage firm’s offices in the hotel. The resort emptied of guests almost overnight. Ballard’s valiant efforts could not keep the hotel afloat. He closed the place in June 1932, and in 1934 he sold it to the Jesuits for one dollar.
To transform the hotel for use as a seminary, the Jesuits removed many of its elegant appointments and eventually dismantled the building’s four Moorish towers rather than invest in their repair. Known as West Baden College, the seminary operated until June 1964 when declining enrollment led the Jesuits to close the facility.
In 1966, the Jesuits sold West Baden to a Michigan couple who donated it to Northwood Institute, a private college based in Midland, Michigan. Northwood operated a satellite campus on the property until 1983, offering degrees in several subjects and being particularly noted for its culinary arts program.
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