The Crescent opened its doors in 1886 as a luxury resort for affluent visitors. The business thrived until 1901, after which it fell into disrepair. From 1908 to 1934, the Crescent functioned as a college and conservatory for young women and, subsequently, a junior college. But when the college closed down, the building’s dark destiny began to take shape.
In 1937, Norman Baker, a self-proclaimed “cancer doctor” with no medical training, bought the Crescent and morphed it into a hospital and health resort. Claiming to have a cure for cancer, Baker solicited desperate and unsuspecting cancer patients from across the country to try his “cure”: drinking the area’s natural spring water and taking injections of a useless elixir made from watermelon seed, brown corn silk, alcohol and carbolic acid. The tragic and inevitable patient deaths that resulted landed Baker in prison and in 1946 the “hospital” was bought and renovated into the hotel it is today.
The New Moon Spa and Salon is situated on the grounds of the former conservatory’s bowling alley and gym. You can still see the marks of the bowling lanes beneath the salon chairs. Some insiders say the hotel is home to at least five restless spirits (including a ghostly cat), while others insist there are even more.