Buckhorn Hot Mineral Baths Motel

I was bound to get lucky eventually. Travel around the country long enough with a camera and an enthusiasm for the “Old America”, the Route 66 feel, the memory of a tailfin, the black and white pictures of men in fedoras and women in cats-eye glasses and eventually I’d come home with some photos, do a bit of research and sit back in my chair, a bit surprised at what I had found.

Spotted

I first spotted this motel while taking MsBoyink to a eye doctor visit. I instantly loved the sign - between the 1950’s feel and deteriorating paint I knew I’d have to get a camera aimed at it.  On a return visit I did just that, parking long enough to grab a few iPhone photos.

It wasn’t until I randomly Googled the Motel’s name that I found out what a historic place this is.

History

I’m finding discrepancies in the actual dates, but the general story is that Buckhorn Baths started in 1935 as a trading post at the corner of Main and Recker Roads in Mesa.

Owners Alice and Ted Sliger lived there for 7 years before they could get electricity to the place. In 1939 they went to sink a well for fresh water and it came out at 112 degrees. 

The Mineral Baths were born.

Baseball?

But here is where the story gets interesting.

In 1947 the New York Giants discovered the Baths and made the Motel a regular stop. Willie Mays, Gaylord Perry and Ty Cobb were regulars here.

The Buckhorn Baths are considered the birthplace of Spring Training in Arizona.

The owners were considered part of the Giants team. The team made a silver tray with engraved signatures for the Bath’s owners in 1954. They went along with the team on a goodwill tour of Japan in 1960.

Animals

And then there are the animals. Ted Sliger was a taxidermist, and the Motel’s “Trophy Room” contains 403 mounted animals - the largest collection of Arizona wildlife taxidermy.

Alice Sliger ran the place until age 98, and she passed at age 103. 

Future

The Motel is now in the hands of preservationists who consider the Buckhorn Baths an important landmark to be preserved. Plans discussed include Little League Ball diamonds so that players can play where the greats once hung out.

What a fun story to come across after just shooting some photos of an interesting sign!

More about the Motel:

Backside of the main sign in black and white

Backside of the main sign in black and white

Front of the Buckhorn

Front of the Buckhorn

Wildlife Museum sign

Wildlife Museum sign

Mens entrance

Mens entrance

Mens Entrance

Mens Entrance

The Adventuremobile parked where the baseball greats once walked

The Adventuremobile parked where the baseball greats once walked

4 Comments Buckhorn Hot Mineral Baths Motel

  1. Picture of Marci Marci February 12, 2013

    Cool place!  I especially love the B&W version of the sign photo!  Nicolas can’t wait to travel along Route 66!

  2. Picture of Mark Mark February 16, 2013

    I’ve passed that place I don’t know how many times.
    Cool to find out the history of it and that it will be preserved. Too many historical places out here get torn down.

    Good to see you are back here in AZ!

  3. Picture of Boyink Boyink February 16, 2013

    Hi Mark -

    I hope it will be preserved - if I look at my pictures compared to what’s on the ‘net from a few years ago it’s deteriorating rapidly and there doesn’t seem to be work going on. I’m guessing the money is tough to find..

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