52 Sundays; September 19, 2010


The Professor and I had the pleasure of visiting the French Lick Resort in Southern Indiana and to say that we were pleasantly surprised is an understatement – shocked and awed is more like it.  The architecture alone is both stunning and breathtaking, but what makes this resort a treasure is it’s rich and fascinating history which spans more than 150 years.

From Wikepedia: ‘The West Baden Springs Hotel is a historic landmark hotel in the town of West Baden Springs in Orange CountyIndiana, USA, known for its vast domed atrium. It is currently part of the French Lick Resort Casino complex. Prior to the completion of the Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1955, the building had the largest free-spanning dome in the United States and was the largest in the world from 1902 to 1913. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, became a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.’

Tile work flooring in the Domed Atrium which consists of more than 2 million 1-inch marble tiles that were installed by Italian artisans from 1917-1919.

This fireplace is large enough to accommodate logs up to 14 feet in length and was refaced with glazed ceramic tiles from the Rookwood Pottery Company between 1917 and 1919.

Originally, birds had free range in the dome where guests lounged and palm trees thrived under the 200 foot dome

West Baden Springs Check-In Area – stunning!

In his book, West Baden Springs: Legacy of Dreams author Chris Bundy writes, ‘These hotels were the Disney World of their time. In those days, it was assumed that if you could afford to come to America [for vacation], you would go to French Lick. It was that well-known overseas.’

At one point, the property was owned by Jesuit priests; it was also a satellite campus as part of the Northwood Institute from 1966 to 1983.  And believe it or not, basketball legend Larry Bird held clinics and staged games in the dome.

As I said, this resort has a fascinating and rich history – we did not get to stay overnight but I can’t wait to return and experience all that it has to offer: full-service spa, hiking trails, horseback riding as well as some of the fabulous restaurants on the property!

13 Comments

  1. :O…This is now on my list of must visit places. Simply stunning!!

  2. I am totally unfamiliar with this resort and LOVED reading about it. The dome is gorgeous and oh my that fireplace. The art and tile work are something to behold. Great photos!
    Yes, I could indeed spend some time there!

  3. Look at what a gorgeous building! Will y’all pack me away and take me with you when you return? This place is awesome and sounds like a place I’d LOVE!

    Thanks so much for joining in Mingle Monday! Have a great week!

  4. That building is truly stunning! You and the Prof sure do get around! 🙂

  5. Wow…, that fireplace alone is something to check out. I love it when on the rare occasions you get to stay in places like this. Absolutely awesome.

  6. What a stunning place! The art is just everywhere, and I loved seeing those mosaics. Thank you for sharing it with us…so much history, so much beauty! Have a wonderful Monday!

  7. I’ve never been to Indiana if I don’t count the flight overs but now I know what to see when I’m thr. Great photographs. I’m sure you guys had a great time.

  8. Pingback: Tweets that mention West Baden Springs Resort, French Lick Indiana -- Topsy.com

  9. Wowee! Talk about grand. Sign me up for two of those rockin’ chairs. :o) And by the way, I love that you have an Orange County, IN. Cuz I’m in Orange County, CA.

    Happy weekend!

    [K]

  10. What a beautiful place! Need to check that out when we get to Indiana.

  11. Oh my goodness, that domed atrium is absolutely spectacular! What a wonderful looking place!

  12. How cool is that? Need to put that on the places to visit.

  13. Wow! Even just looking at the pictures makes me feel small!

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