French Lick Indiana, perhaps, at least in my mind, best known as the boyhood home of Larry Bird. Historically it French Lick and its sister city, West Baden is probably more known for the hot springs in the area, which was in the 1920’s and 1930’s a favorite stomping ground of Al Capone and the rest of the Chicago mob. The two hotels built to house the Chicago crews were lavish and extraordinary. One of them, the West Baden hotel fell into years of disrepair and looting.
The other remained open and is a wonderful place to stop and enjoy a long weekend. We spent many long weekends at the hotel. They have two golf courses, bowling, and horseback riding right on the property of the hotel itself. The images in the snow shared with this post are that of the West Baden hotel. The rotunda of that hotel was famous. For many years they hosted the CIA well not the CIA but the CIA’s school in Indiana. By CIA I am referring to the Culinary Institute of America, not the spy agency.
Additionally, the Rotunda was also home to car shows and other large events. The hotel has suffered years of abuse (it is restored now, but these pictures are from 2004). There were some failed renovation projects. One of which was famous as they took all the valuables out of the building, and then stopped the renovation. Many believe the project intended to gut the building sell off the parts and then allow the original company to go out of business.