It was late January 2017 when The Man and I pulled into Truth or Consequences, NM. I hadn’t been in the town since December of 2015.
Not much had changed since my last visit. Passion Pie was still the place to see and be seen, although new furniture had been brought in and everything had been rearranged, seemingly giving the place less seating. The CHF Thrift Store still had the best deals, although I certainly didn’t need any more stuff. The town still basically shut down by 9pm, even on Art Hop Saturday.
A few things were decidedly different. The place that had been the Happy Belly Deli during my first visit (March of 2014) was no longer called The Brazen Fox; it had new owners (again) and was called A Little Slice of Heaven. The computer lab in the Senior Center would start closing an extra day each week due to a lack of volunteers. The best change? A new place to soak in T or C’s famous hot mineral water.
As is so often the case, I got the intel from Coyote Sue. That woman really knows all the cool spots! She told me about the new bathhouse, a place called The Hoosier (516 Austin Street). She told me she and her sweetie had soaked there for an hour for about $15 for the both of them. Good price! She also said the room with the tub had a shower and since no one was scheduled to come in after them, the owner didn’t hurry them out when their hour was up.
On my second day back in town, I was out and about and discovered a free newsletter called Cobblestone which lists all the events happening each month in T or C. One of the advertisers in the February newsletter was The Hoosier. The ad offered two people an hour soak for only $10. Bargain! I made a reservation for the next week.
When The Man and I arrived at The Hoosier, I realized I’d passed the place many times before. It’s been an apartment complex for as long as I’ve been spending time in T or C. I didn’t realize it had ever been a bathhouse, although I suspect many of the little apartment complexes in town were bathhouses back in the heyday of the healing powers of mineral water.
One of the few bathhouse apartments incorporating elements of the Territorial Revival style, the Hoosier Apartments were constructed in 1937 with additions along the back completed in the early 1950s…The artesian well drilled in 1937 provides water for several tiled baths located in two rooms in the southwest corner of the building…[T]he Hoosier Apartments were developed by newcomers to Hot Springs. Harold Lotz, an architectural engineer, and his wife Jen came to New Mexico from Indiana, settling first in Santa Fe, where Mrs. Lotz, a health-seeker, frequently traveled to Ojo Caliente to bath in the hot mineral waters. Finding the thermal waters in Hot Springs [as T or C was called prior to 1950] beneficial, they moved to Hot Springs in 1937. Purchasing the property, Lotz designed the building and hired local contractor, Earl Terry, to construct the apartments along with a concrete lap pool.
The Man and I met the owner of the place, who told me the original part of The Hoosier complex had been built in the 1930s, a second part added later. Then he showed us one of his outdoor pools, which was very nice. However, I wanted to soak indoors because I didn’t want to sit in the sun while I was soaking, and it was still a little chilly to be outside naked. So the owner showed us to the room with the indoor tub.
The room with the tub was spacious and clean. Since I’d made a reservation, the owner knew when we were arriving and had filled the tub for us. (For this reason, The Hoosier does not accept walk-in soakers; soaking is by reservation only.) After pointing out the small adjacent room with the toilet and shower, assuring us we didn’t need to drain the tub when we were done, and telling us to take our time as no one was scheduled immediately after us, the owner left us to enjoy our soak.
Being traveling hippies, baths and showers are sometimes few and far between. One of the reasons I love Truth or Consequences is that a hippie can hang out in the town and not have to be a dirty hippie. Although The Man and I weren’t terribly dirty on the day we visited The Hoosier (we had showered when we visited The Lady of the House and had soaked at two other bathhouses since we’d rolled into T or C), sometimes it’s nice to shower before soaking. Personally, I don’t like to be the dirty hippie who leaves scum in the nice clean bathtub.
I scrubbed up in the shower while The Man pulled out his clippers to shave his head. I climbed into the tub as soon as The Man had taken my place in the shower, and it was wonderful. While the water was cooler than at some of the places I’ve soaked in T or C, it was adequately warm. By the time The Man got out of the shower, my core body temperature must have risen, because I was having to sit on the side of the tub to cool down.
The tub was quite spacious. The Man and I both fit easily into it without being crowded. Two people who don’t want to touch could easily share the tub without being squeezed together. Four people who don’t mind being physically close could definitely fit in the tub.
As I mentioned before, the room was clean. Everything in the room was clean: the floor, the walls, the tub, the shower, the toilet. The paint was fresh. Everything functioned properly and was well-maintained. It’s only recently that the owner set up the tubs for public use, and he’s done a great job.
I enjoyed my soak so much that I made a reservation for my birthday later in the month. The second soak was just as wonderful as the first.
I recommend The Hoosier to anyone who wants a clean, spacious place to soak and especially to folks who don’t like super hot water and don’t want to be rushed.
(Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)
I took all the photos in this post.