Eureka Springs in Arkansas

Friday, 25 May 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  7 minutes

At the corner of Spring and Center Streets © flickr.com - doug_wertman/cc-by-2.0

At the corner of Spring and Center Streets © flickr.com – doug_wertman/cc-by-2.0

Eureka Springs is a city in Carroll County in Arkansas, and one of two county seats for the county. It is located in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. The city’s population is at 2,100. The entire city is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka Springs Historic District. Eureka Springs has been selected as one of America’s Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Eureka Springs was originally called “The Magic City” and later the “Stairstep Town” because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.

It is a popular tourist destination for its unique character as a Victorian resort village. The city has steep winding streets filled with Victorian-style cottages and manors. The historic commercial downtown of the city has an extensive streetscape of well-preserved Victorian buildings. The buildings are primarily constructed of local stone, built along streets that curve around the hills and rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long loop. Some buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor. The streets wind around the town, and no two intersect at a 90 degree angle; there are no traffic lights.

View of Eureka Springs from atop an observation tower © Photolitherland/cc-by-sa-3.0 Spring Street © Photolitherland/cc-by-sa-3.0 Spring Street at night © Photolitherland/cc-by-sa-3.0 Queen Anne Mansion © flickr.com - Brad Holt/cc-by-2.0 © panoramio.com - Cal Wolfe/cc-by-sa-3.0 At the corner of Spring and Center Streets © flickr.com - doug_wertman/cc-by-2.0
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View of Eureka Springs from atop an observation tower © Photolitherland/cc-by-sa-3.0
Native American legends tell of a Great Healing Spring in the Eureka Springs area. People of various indigenous cultures long visited the springs for this sacred purpose. The European Americans also believed that the springs had healing powers. After the Europeans arrived, they described the waters of the springs as having magical powers. Dr. Alvah Jackson was credited in American history with locating the spring, and in 1856 claimed that the waters of Basin Spring had cured his eye ailments. Dr. Jackson established a hospital in a local cave during the Civil War and used the waters from Basin Spring to treat his patients. After the war, Jackson marketed the spring waters as “Dr. Jackson’s Eye Water”. In 1879 Judge J.B. Saunders, a friend of Jackson, claimed that his crippling disease was cured by the spring waters. Saunders started promoting Eureka Springs to friends and family members across the state and created a boomtown. Within a period of little more than one year, the city expanded from a rural spa village to a major city. Within a short time in the late 19th century, Eureka Springs developed as a flourishing city, spa and tourist destination. On February 14, 1880, Eureka Springs was incorporated as a city. Thousands of visitors came to the springs based on Saunders’ promotion and covered the area with tents and shanties. In 1881, Eureka Springs enjoyed the status of Arkansas’s fourth largest city, and by 1889 it had become the second largest city, behind Little Rock. After his term as a Reconstruction governor, Powell Clayton moved to the heavily Unionist Eureka Springs and began promoting the city and its commercial interests. Clayton promoted the town as a retirement community for the wealthy. Eureka Springs soon became known for gracious living and a wealthy lifestyle. In 1882, the Eureka Improvement Company was formed to attract a railroad to the city. With the completion of the railroad, Eureka Springs established itself as a vacation resort. In only two years, thousands of homes and commercial enterprises were constructed. The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886 and the Basin Park Hotel in 1905. These many Victorian buildings have been well preserved, forming a coherent street scape that has been recognized for its quality. In 1892, the New Orleans Hotel and Spa was built along Spring Street and is now operating as an all-suite hotel full of Victorian furniture and art.

The Ozarka Water Company was later formed in Eureka Springs in 1905. Carrie Nation moved there towards the end of her life, founding Hatchet Hall on Steele Street. The building was later operated as a museum, but is now closed. Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point was founded in 1950. The organization continues to present an annual summer opera festival in Eureka Springs. In 1967, the famous 7-story Christ of the Ozarks Statue was built. A year later, The Great Passion Play was begun as an outdoor performance piece. It is regularly performed from May through October by a cast of 170 actors and dozens of live animals. It has been seen by an estimated 7.7 million people, which makes it the largest-attended outdoor drama in the United States, according to the Institute of Outdoor Theatre of the University of East Carolina at Greenville, North Carolina. Christian-themed attractions have been added in association with the drama production. These include a New Holy Land Tour, featuring a full-scale re-creation of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; a section of the Berlin Wall; and a Bible Museum featuring more than 6,000 Bibles. (Items include an original 1611 King James Bible, a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, and the only Bible signed by all of the original founders of the Gideons.) Architect E. Fay Jones designed Thorncrown Chapel in 1980, and it was selected for the “Twenty-five Year Award” by the American Institute of Architects in 2006. The award recognizes structures that have had significant influence on the profession. The chapel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 because of the special nature and quality of its architecture.

Read more on Stadt Eureka Springs, EurekaSprings.org, Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, Crescent Hotel & Spa, Wikipedia Eureka Springs and Wikipedia Eureka Springs (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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