The first chapter of our history was written in 1950 when Mr. and Mrs. I. L. Baker constructed a 20-unit motor inn and family home. Located on U. S. Highway 30 West of Clinton, it immediately welcomed travelers using this major route for business and pleasure. The concept of motor inns was new at the time. The Frontier Motor Inn took the lead then, and continued to grow and be innovative with its service and facilities. The Frontier grew along with the city, expanding to 40 rooms by 1976. It was the first motel in the area to have a swimming pool (1958) and a restaurant (1960). Creative planning and a major commitment to providing the “Best” transformed the original motel and restaurant buildings into a convention center. New meeting facilities, new lobby area, revitalized lounge and a vaulted atrium with pool and spa were created, along with 110 luxurious guest rooms.
There are many memories of the Bakers’ role in Best Western. The Frontier was one of the first members of the association built on the idea of referring guests from one Best Western to the next, along their route. Mr. I. L. Baker served as Best Western’s first full-term president (1959-66), guiding it through major growth. He instituted the inspection system, which keeps the chain uniform in cleanliness and maintenance. Mrs. Baker designed the first Best Western gold crown logo, recognized around the world. Bart T. Baker was governor of Best Western, District III.