Mineral Springs Hotel
One of the oldest buildings in Alton, the Mineral Springs Hotel mixes the spooky, the spiritual, and the historic into an amalgam of businesses, shops, and events unlike any place in the region!
The storied and allegedly haunted building, built in 1914 by the Luer Brothers, broke ground originally to become an ice warehouse for their meat-packing company but, when the brothers started digging in the bedrock, a natural spring was hit.
Taking advantage of the popular 1800's fad of "healing" mineral spring water, the brothers instead began building a hotel and spa. A bottling plant was built in what would become the lowest sub-basement of the building - around five levels below the street. The plant sold "curative" bottled water that was shipped to 12 different states.
The Mineral Springs Hotel was built on top of the bottling plant- layer by layer- opening for business the following June. The finished structure was in an Italian Villa style, comprising over 100 rooms. There were bathing pools for swimming lessons, water polo, and spa rooms for taking in the Sulphur-rich mineral water. At the time of its opening, the hotel boasted it had the "largest swimming pool in Illinois." The pool supposedly once attracted more than 3,000 people in a single season.
The lavish hotel was five stories tall, with terrazzo floors, marble staircases, and art glass. The luxurious complex enjoyed success through the 1920's- new rooms being added in 1925. That same year, an orchestra was hired to play on Sunday afternoons and for evening diners. The Hotel was sold by August Luer in 1926 but continued to thrive, finally beginning to deteriorate in the 1960's.
In 1971, The Mineral Springs finally closed completely due to negligence and poor upkeep. Seven years later, in 1978, the neglected building was restored by Roger Schubert, who developed the building into a shopping mall. Businesses came and went until the 2010's- a resurgence of life having been breathed into the old venue.
Today, the Mineral Springs Mall is home to multiple new-age and Bohemian shops including It's Raining Zen, Mississippi Hippie, Indigo Moon, and Dottie's Emporium, as well as the In-Zone Barber Shop, the Soul Asylum curiosities museum, and more! The restored ballroom at the mall hosts many events including weddings and paranormal evenings.
The Mineral Springs Mall is considered to be one of the most haunted locations in Alton and the state- a close contender with Alton’s famed McPike Mansion. It is unclear why Alton has so many ghost-inhabited properties, but the town’s reputation has earned it the title of “Most Haunted Small Town in America.”
Stories surrounding the Mineral Springs abound. A story exists of a woman named Mary who, upon having a quarrel with her husband, fell down the staircase, connecting the ground and upper floors, to her death. The Jasmine Lady ghost smells of floral perfume and is thought to be the fallen Mary.
A 17-year old boy called Clarence has been encountered near one of the building’s pools and stories are told of a young girl named Cassandra having drowned in a pool at a birthday party (though evidence of such a drowning has not been verified).
Another spirit called Charlie haunts the Crystal Ballroom Bar area. Charlie was supposedly an alcoholic who chose to repay his debts by painting the mural inside the bar room. The stress of debt collectors and his spiraling alcoholism led to Charlie’s suicide. Supposedly the spirit of Charlie likes bawdy women and sometimes chooses to follow them home.
Many paranormal investigators have toured the property, catching Electro-magnetic Field(EMF) readings, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), and photos of unexplained occurrences at the Mineral Springs.
Visitors on tours and building employees regularly have strange encounters- everything from moved objects or objects appearing in places they shouldn’t be, being touched by unseen hands, strong feelings brought on suddenly for no apparent reason, shadow figures, and even full-bodied apparitions all included!
Visit the Mineral Springs on a haunted tour or dinner below:
Dinner and Spirits
Alton Hauntings Haunted History Walking Tours
Ghosts of the River Road Dinner Tours with Troy Taylor
Search for desired tour on the Rivers and Route’s events page for more information!
Dec 9th, 2023