See Rock City

See Rock City

Friday, August 1, 2008

Eureka Springs, AR

Spring Street and "Flat Iron" building, 2008 
The City of Eureka Springs was founded and named on July 4, 1879. By late 1879, the estimated population of Eureka Springs reached 10,000 people and in 1881, the town was declared a "City of the First Class," the fourth largest city in Arkansas. Today, our history lives on and the entire downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While we're nowhere near the 4th largest in Arkansas, Eureka is still a "First Class City."

Dr, Pearl Tatman House

Dr. Pearl Tatman, the first woman doctor in Arkansas, built her house in the late 1880s. Dr. Tatman lived in the charming three bedroom Victorian until her death in the 1940s.
It has been said that she died in bed leaving on her feather pillow a crown of feathers ... a sign that she is now an angel watching over all who visit the house.

No person in the history of Eureka Springs is so revered in remembrance as the woman usually called 'Doc Pearl'.

Pearl Hale came to the health resort in the 1890's, a young, unmarried woman who had already received her medical training. She began the practice of medicine as physician and surgeon, setting up an office in the Duncan block on Spring Street, and soon became almost indispensable to the people of Eureka Springs who sought her help.

View of Eureka Springs from atop an observation tower; the Crescent Hotel is visible on the horizon, 2008

In a time when young women did not enter into professions and most were trained simply to be wives, mothers and homemakers, Pearl Hale shone as a courageous individual. In time she added home and marriage to her busy life through being married to Dr. Albert Tatman. Their lovely home 'Cozy Corners' was one of the most gracious centers of social life and both took part in the literary and drama society. They adopted an orphan baby girl whom they named Daisy.

Pearl Hale Tatman devoted her life to the people of Eureka Springs and served them well for more than half a century, continuing the practice of medicine long after Albert's death, until advanced age brought her career to an end. (Doc Pearl passed away in 1944 and left her home in town, now named in her honor, to Daisy).

The most repeated word used in praising Doctor Pearl was "saintly", and there is little doubt that it was truly appropriate.

Park Basin Hotel

Downtown Eureka Springs Since 1905

The choice location for the Basin Park Hotel was on the north side of Basin Circle Park, on Spring Street, in the downtown building district. It was built on the site of the Perry House, a four story hotel built in 1881.

Captain Joseph Perry built the hotel after moving to Eureka Springs because of poor health. He had several hotels, in different locations in the United States, prior to his arrival here.

Harding Spring, 2008

A Grand Opening was held on July 1, 1905. William M. Duncan and his associates built it. They owned The Syndicate Company that owned and operated many businesses in town. The building, including furnishing, cost over $50,000.

Like the Crescent Hotel and many other buildings in town, the limestone quarry near the town of Beaver provided the rock exterior of the hotel.

There are several horizontal rows of red dolomite around this building. Although very evident when built, it is quite easy to miss seeing the red dolomite now.

In it original state, the Basin Park Hotel had 100 rooms, a cage elevator, electric lights, steam heat, and telephones in the rooms. It also had complete fire protection.

The Crescent Hotel and Spa

Eureka Springs, Arkansas Hotel History The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa has a rich and fascinating history. Read about some of the earliest accounts from these stories taken from the Eureka Springs Times Echo, one of Eureka Springs' early newspapers which is still in existence today and some fascinating information on Dr. Norman Baker, one time owner of the Crescent Hotel who ran a "Cancer Hospital" in his "Castle in the Air".

1886 - 1901 The "Carriage Set"

"For the first 15 years after its grand opening, The Crescent Hotel was operated by The Eureka Springs Improvement Company as an exclusive year-round resort hotel catering to the carriage set. During those Victorian Years, the years of grandeur, the gracious southern hospitality of the Crescent Hotel became well known."

"A stable with a hundred sleek-coated horses was provided for the guests' riding pleasure on early morning canters over the trails. Often as many as 75 riders could be seen making their way along some remote mountain trail - the ladies in their long skirts, hats and veils, mounted fashionably on sidesaddles while the gentlemen were gallantly astride mounts with English saddles."

"Visitors could enjoy tea dances during the afternoon and dance parties each evening with music provided with an in-house orchestra maintained by the hotel. Other forms of recreating available to the guest included picnics, hiking, streetcar rides, and the ever-popular Tallyho rides to Sanitarium Lake or some other attraction locale. The Tally Ho was a large open coach drawn by teams of four, six or eight horses."


Q: During the years when drinking the water from the springs was so highly praised for cures, did anyone bottle it?

A: The first recorded white man to find the healing water, bottled it. It was called "Dr. Jackson's Magic Eye Water". Several water shipping companies came and went after that. John S. Tibbs was one of the pioneers in water shipping, and he was succeeded by M.A. Church. Another was the Ramsey and Turner Water Company. The most famous was the Ozarka Water Company which shipped water for over a quarter of a century.

Q: Where did they get the water that was bottled for interstate shipping?

A: Tibbs and Church are always shown in old pictures at the Basin Spring. Ramsey and Turner used Mystic Spring but said that they would get it from any spring requested. Ozarka's came from Ozarka Spring and, as it was situated above the train depot, the water was piped directly into glass lined rail cars. There were distributors that bottled it when the railcars arrived at their destinations. Ozarka's water was also served aboard all Frisco trains.

Q: Can Ozarka water still be purchased?

A: A product by the name of Ozarka Water can be found in Texas, but the water is not from Eureka Springs. It is evidently the franchise purchased here by a bottling company years ago.

Note: The Ozarka Water label was purchased by Perrier Corporation.

The Ozarka Water Company building is located at 75 Hillside Avenue and is presently in use as the Brownstone Inn B & B

"Discover The Secret Of Eureka Springs"

By 1985, the Grand Central Hotel had sunk to it lowest ebb. Commercial activity was limited to the ground floor only. The basement and the upper two floors had been completely neglected. The building had been designated for destruction. One person who understood the historical significance of the building and the activities that had taken place there, figuratively stood in front of the wrecking ball. A massive reconstruction project was begun. By 1987 the upper two floors had been completely redone to produce fourteen luxury suites furnished with period antiques that were brought over from England. The lobby had been rebuilt with new shop spaces. The lower level was finally finished. It now houses the massage parlor, a hair and nail salon and the Grand Ballroom, a place suitable for weddings, wedding receptions, corporate retreats, family reunions, and holiday parties. The GRAND DAME OF THE OZARKS had been reborn.

Reborn, indeed, while many places in Eureka Springs Arkansas boast of having the ghosts of unhappy souls lurking, The Grand Central Hotel presents a feeling of serenity and peacefulness the minute you step into the beautiful and expansive lobby. Executives in high pressure situations come here, step back in time to the pure luxury of a by-gone era while experiencing today’s most up to date conveniences. High speed wireless internet service (a wi-fi hotspot), cable television and cell phones allow you to monitor the world without responsibility for doing anything about it.

Dining in the Grand Taverne allows you to taste the wonder of the best in American cuisine with the heaviest of French influence. Matched with a bottle of fine wine the food at the Grand Taverne will offer you a dining experience you will never forget.

The Grand Central Hotel anchors the developing North Main Street art district. Visitors can visit an active art colony and observe the artists at work. Several galleries line the street and are within easy walking distance. If hiking is your activity of choice, the galleries and museums along Spring Street offer exercise for both the body and the mind. Guided walking tours of the Victorian architecture through out the city are available only here in Eureka Springs Arkansas.

Shopping in historic Eureka is like nowhere else. Most shops have one of-a- kind items. If you need a gift for someone that truly has it all, come to Eureka Springs Arkansas.

If nature is your thing take the walking tour of the springs just behind the Hotel. Little Lake Eureka is at the fartherest point and Carry Nation’s home is located midway along the return. If you want more, go to Leatherwood Park. A 1600 acre marvel of nature awaits.

After your walk through nature, history or art return to the Grand Central and experience the origin of Eureka Springs Arkansas. Yes, the Spa. After your treatment or your session in the hot tub, you will have found the cure for whatever ails you. The magic is still here.

The healing waters of Eureka Springs Arkansas were discovered by Dr. Alvah Jackson while on a hunting expedition in the 1850’s. In May of 1879 he convinced Judge Saunders of Berryville to come to the site of the first spring to see if the magical waters would cure a chronic wound on his leg. Promising to herald the news around the world if successful, Judge Saunders set up camp on the present site of Basin Spring. As the healing began to be apparent, the Judge’s son Buck returned to Berryville to tell his mother. Hearing the news, Mrs. Saunders insisted on going to the site of the spring. Buck soon built a wooden shanty for the camp and the first settlement of Eureka Springs Arkansas was established. A debate was soon joined to name the settlement. Was it to be Jackson Spring as the Judge suggested or was it to be Saunders Spring as Dr. Jackson insisted. No, Buck interjected, it must be called Eureka Springs. Not only had a town been born, it now had a name. By July of 1879, twenty families were living in the fledgling town. Less than one year later Eureka Springs Arkansas was incorporated as a city. By 1881 the population had grown to 10,000 and Eureka Springs had become Arkansas’ fourth largest city. The Grand Central Hotel was built in 1880 as the stagecoach terminal for passengers coming to Eureka Springs from the north. The nine hour line reached from the rail head at Pierce City in Missouri to the front door of the Grand Central Hotel. As many as 100 persons a day would come through the hotel seeking the healing waters of Eureka Springs. Many of these new arrivals were well-to-do Easterners. They brought with them discriminating tastes in all manner of living, especially in the architecture of the fine houses that were built soon after arrival.

Ironically, discoveries in Europe at the same time would undo the magic of Eureka Springs Arkansas for nearly a century. Robert Koch in Germany discovered that it was micro-organisms that caused many illnesses. Joseph Lister in Scotland discovered the benefits of antiseptic surgical procedures. All these advances were based on the work of Louis Pasteur in France.

Tragedy soon struck the Grand Central Hotel. It was destroyed by one of the four great fires that nearly wiped out the wooden structures in the city. By the time it was rebuilt, the railroad had reached the north end of town. The Grand Central still remained the entry point for people coming to Eureka Springs. Horse and buggy shuttles were running from the depot on North Main to the hotel. The Grand Central was first in many ways. It was the first brick hotel in town and it was the first to have running water on every floor. Water from Onyx Spring on East Mountain was piped down the hill. This development emphasized how upside down Eureka Springs has always been. Normally the high ground is valued more for building purposes. Not in Eureka Springs. The Valley Floor between East and West Mountain was where the early action was because water could be easily piped down hill to the many bath houses that developed there.

By the turn of the twentieth century, science and technology had dealt a deadly blow to the “magical waters” of Eureka Springs. As was the case with most Spa towns all across America, their attractiveness waned among the sophisticated visitors that once came to Eureka Springs. Next it was the Great Depression. Once magnificent Victorian era structures went neglected or worse torn down simply for the materials that could be recovered.

In the 1970’s teetering on the brink of disaster, the town’s civic leaders decided to consult with theme park experts to see if some grand attraction could be lured to the area. To their surprise they came to understand that Eureka Springs Arkansas is a theme park. Efforts began immediately to preserve what was left of the Victorian Village that had been built nearly a century earlier. The whole of the Historic Downtown Eureka Springs and most of the buildings in it were placed on the Registry of Historic Places, one of only two such places in the country.

Eureka Springs Peabody House Bed and Breakfast

An exquisite and historic bed and breakfast set in the heart of the Victorian town of Eureka Springs, AR, Peabody House offers luxurious guest accommodations and the charm of an 1880's Victorian inn. Relax on the wrap-around porch in a rocking chair, lounge in your spacious suite's jetted tub, or enjoy the many antiques and curios collected by the innkeeper. For your lodging, choose between the lovely Cheshire Suite, the Dashwood Suite and the Rivendell Cottage. Perfect for guests looking for space and seclusion, this lovely inn offers some of the largest accommodations in Eureka Springs, and is located steps away from all the activities and attractions this historic town has to offer: restaurants, shopping, outdoor activities, romantic dining, boating, antique stores, the Great Passion Play, and so much more.

Just ten minutes from Beaver Lake, the White River and many other outdoor destinations, the Peabody House provides a wonderful haven after a day of adventure vacation activities. Recuperate from your day of exploring Eureka Springs and the Ozark area in your large guest chambers. Amenities include luxuriant beds and baths, separate sitting areas, and a wet bar with with mini-icebox, microwave, coffee maker, gourmet coffee, assortment of complimentary teas, cocoa, soda, juice, bottled water. Complimentary muffins, fresh fruit, sipping sherry and other treats also await you in your room. Any special arrangements you desire such as champagne, extra flowers, etc. can be requested at our Arkansas bed and breakfast. If you are visiting our Eureka Springs to celebrate a special occasion, don't forgot to look into our packages. Commemorate a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or simply surprise your sweetie with these wonderful special deals.

Rogue's Manor at Sweet Spring is a fine dining restaurant and lounge
with romantic overnight rooms for couples in the downtown Historic District of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
We offer one of the most interesting and unique quality dining and lodging experiences in Eureka Springs.

This is a George F. Barber designed home, from his “Cottage Souvenir #2″, design no. 37 published 1891. Despite the fact the real estate ad says this was built in 1880, unless the Barber design was built around an existing structure, that could not be possible.

Points of interest

Eureka Springs hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

"May Festival of the Arts" is an annual month long celebration of the arts in Eureka Springs. Eureka Springs has over 400 working artists and performers, and they all shine during the month of May. Events include the ArtRageous Parade, White Street Walk, Gallery Strolls, Taste of Art: A Visual Feast at local restaurants, Bank on Art at local banks, artist receptions, special events and exhibits, and lots of free music in Basin Park. 2013 marked the opening of the Eureka Springs Music Park: an interactive sound sculpture experience, in the North Main Park.

Eureka Springs Food & Wine Festival an annual fall event featuring fine cuisine and international wines. 2012 event is November 8 to 11.

Eureka Gras Mardi Gras Extravaganza "Eureka Gras". was introduced in 2006 to kick off the Event Season with a New Orleans style Mardi Gras, complete with parades, floats, and masquerade balls. King's Day, in January, begins the celebration, which ends on Mardi Gras Day, in February or March.
Blues, jazz, folk, and classical music are each celebrated, with a weekend dedicated to the particular genre each year. Each summer, Opera in the Ozarks presents full operatic productions with orchestra and a cast of pre-professional students. 

Eureka Springs is home to the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. It is the only writer/artist residency colony in the world to recognize culinary art as a legitimate literary genre, The Colony has a dedicated culinary suite and hosts workshops, cooking classes, open readings and theatrical performances year-round.

A well-attended poetry festival is held each year. There is extensive local theater, with many productions held at the large stone auditorium, built in the city's downtown in 1929 and inaugurated with a concert by John Phillip Sousa.

There are four annual gay and lesbian events called Diversity Weekends. The city also boasts an annual UFO conference and several auto shows, including a Mustang show in April, a Corvette show during the first weekend in October, and a Volkswagen show is held in August. The town is also a destination for tourists visiting various attractions, including the Little Portion Hermitage, founded by John Michael Talbot.

Each May, Eureka Springs hosts the May Festival of the Arts, a celebration of the art, music, and creativity that are some of the defining features of the Eureka community. The festival begins on the first weekend in May with the Artrageous Parade, a lively, outrageous, and colorful procession of all things artsy. Some additional events during the festival include A Gallery Stroll, which takes place during the May arts festival and continues throughout the season, on the second Saturday of each month, and which allows viewers to tour the numerous art galleries in town and meet the many of the featured artists. There is a PT Cruiser's show on the second Saturday. Books in Bloom, White Street Studio Walk, and ART Car are Art Festival highlight events during the month of May.

Every weekend during the season, Basin Park hosts Music in the Park, an opportunity for live music and festivities. On Sunday evenings, in Basin Park, a feature film is shown, preceded by live musical entertainment.

Beginning in October 2013, Eureka Springs will inaugurate a projected annual Halloween Festival.. The town is already famous for its haunted houses and public buildings, its ghost tours; a Halloween extravaganza in the cemetery, "Voices from the Past" (in which live actors portray the dead of Eureka), and for a variety of ghostly phenomena.

The film Pass the Ammo was filmed in the city, with the Auditorium featured in several scenes. There are burn marks still visible on the Auditorium from the film's special effects. The movie Chrystal was filmed in Eureka Springs. Parts of the movie Elizabethtown was filmed in Eureka Springs. The 1982 mini series "The Blue and the Gray" was also filmed around the area. The SciFi Channel's reality series Ghost Hunters investigated the Crescent Hotel during episode 13 of the second season.

Notable people

Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, circa 1886
The Crescent Hotel is a historic hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886 as a resort for the rich and famous, but quickly became unmanageable and fell into disrepair. In 1908, it was reopened as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. This institution closed down in 1924, and then opened again in 1930 as a junior college. After the college closed in 1934, the Crescent was leased as a summer hotel.
In 1937, it got a new owner, Norman G. Baker, who turned the place into a hospital and health resort. Baker, a millionaire inventor and radio personality, styled himself as a doctor, despite having had no medical training. He claimed to have discovered a number of "cures" for various ailments, including cancer, and launched frequent attacks on organized medicine, which he accused of being corrupt and profit-driven. 

Having been run out of Iowa for practicing medicine without a license, Baker moved his cancer patients to Arkansas and advertised his new health resort at the Crescent. His "cure" consisted primarily of drinking the area's natural spring water. In 1940, federal charges were filed against Baker for mail fraud and he spent four years in prison. The Crescent Hotel was left ownerless until 1946. In the spring of 1946 the Crescent Hotel was purchased by John R Constantine, Herbert E Shutter, Herbert Byfield, and Dwight Nichols. On Wednesday March 15 1967 the Crescent hotel was nearly burned to the ground. The only living owner at this time was Dwight Nichols. The current owners are unknown at this moment.


The Crescent Hotel has been called "America's Most Haunted Hotel", and is said to be haunted by at least eight spirits. These include: a young woman who attended college there in the 1920's or 30's, who died by jumping from the roof; a nurse who worked in the building when it was a hospital; a man in a hat and tails, believed to be the ghost of Dr. John Freemont Ellis, a frequent visitor to the resort during its glory days in the late 1800's; Michael, an Irish stonemason, who lost his footing while building the hotel and slipped off the roof to his death; Theadora, a cancer victim who came to Norman Baker's resort for treatment; and a ghostly bearded gentleman wearing Victorian clothing and a top hat.

In 2005, the hotel was visited by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, presenters of the television show Ghost Hunters. They recorded a full bodied apparition on their thermal imaging camera; the form seemed to be that of a man wearing a hat and nodding his head. Hawes and Wilson said that in twenty years of paranormal research, they had very rarely captured a full bodied apparition on camera.


 External links

City of Eureka Springs
Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce
History and Photos of Eureka Springs
Wind Chime Puts Arkansas Town in Guiness Records from National Public Radio
Official website    Cresent Hotel