My grandmother, Mary, decided that this would be a great question to send in to the Crazy Water Crystal Program - “What is the horizon?” My grandmother listened faithfully to this radio program which was broadcast from the lobby of the Crazy Water Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas from 1935 through 1941.
I was around five years old at the time. My grandmother baby sat with me while my mother worked in her beauty shop, and she listened to her favorite radio program which the NBC radio network broadcast nationwide. As I recall the program consisted of a variety of early country western and Bluegrass music, along with a few comedians. And then there was a part of the daily program which invited listeners to send them hard-to-answer posers.
Of course I was too young to appreciate from whence the program emanated, or anything about the “Crazy Water” or the hotel. The majestic Crazy Water Hotel was built in 1927 by Carr Collins at a cost of $1,000,000, a tidy sum in those days. It was built on the site of the third well dug in Mineral Wells in 1881. The hotel contained over 200 guest rooms, a spacious lobby and incorporated the Crazy Water Pavilion. The top floor of the hotel had a glass enclosed ballroom which opened onto a roof-top garden.
Local legend holds that an insane woman was cured after drinking from the “Crazy Spring” located at the pavilion. Thus the name Crazy Water and the “Crazy Well” came into use. During the depression era, The Crazy Water Company focused on sales of their crystals - a snowy white residue left from the evaporation of their waters. Their “Crazy Gang” explained how their elixir could be reconstituted with tap water, giving folks all the benefits without having to leave home. The company’s motto was “Every Home Needs Crazy Crystals” and appeared on their box which sold for sixty cents.
The company claimed that its miracle crystals could cure hysteria, insomnia, rheumatism, diabetes, gout, Bright’s disease, malaria, or high blood pressure.
Mary Martin, a native of Weatherford, Texas, appeared in Crazy shows before she attained Broadway and Hollywood stardom. The hotel hosted numerous dignitaries to listen to prominent big-band orchestras. It was also the site for weekly radio shows, weddings, galas, cotillions, and dinners. A few guests who failed to correctly sign the guest register include Machine Gun Kelly as well as Bonnie and Clyde.
While all this history about the hotel was interesting, I was interested only in having my question “What Is The Horizon?” answered and my name heard on the radio. So, we mailed the letter and waited, and waited some more. Finally, one day my grandmother received a letter from Mineral Wells which contained unwelcome news. The Crazy Water Crystal Program had declined use of our question. I was sorely disappointed as I knew the answer - “The horizon is the place where the earth and sky appear to come together.”
To add insult to injury several weeks later we heard our question being asked by another person on the program. I felt sure that we had been done an injustice. It never occurred to me that they probably already had the question from someone else when they received mine - so much for my escapade into radio programs. But, even today, when I recall that event of so long ago I feel a slight rush of disappointment that our plan did not work out.
For over one hundred years, the Crazy Hotel has served four strengths of water from its pavilion. It can no longer claim that it cures many illnesses that plague man. It also cannot claim a letter from a young boy and his grandmother who asked a simple question.
“CRAZY WATER CRYSTALS”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
107 HEMLOCK STREET
P.O. BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972