The years of grandeur for Eureka Springs were 1885-1910. The town grew from the rough and tumble boomtown of 1879 into an elegant spa with proper buildings, many of them constructed from locally quarried limestone. An infrastructure was put in place with a railroad, central public water supply and sewer system, streets, sidewalks, public transportation, streetlights, police and fire departments and other modern city improvements.
In 1904, Eureka Springs was home to about 5,000 residents, over twice the current population.
The business mix included 14 physicians, six dentists, 18 grocery stores, two bakeries, two candy manufacturing companies, six dry goods stores, two milliners, two tailors, five photo studios and nine jewelry stores. Additionally, there were numerous livery stables, laundries, bookstore, shoe store, two successful banks and several undertakers.
Excerpt from Eureka Springs Then and Now website.
East Side of Upper Spring
Sweet Spring Building: As was not uncommon, this building has served a wide variety of uses
over the years. It was the Sweet Spring Bath House, then an annex for Sweet Spring Hotel. In
1904 the lower floors housed: express office, tailor, ladies barber and undertaker. In the 1950s it
was Webb's Cafe, a popular restaurant sharing the building with the Smith Drug Store which
offered: "drugs, sundries, soda fountain, souvenirs, room to park and plenty of shade."
See Eureka/ 2007Misc
36-38 Spring: in early days this was Bishop's Bazaar, one of many shops catering to visitors
with a confectionery department; china, glassware and silver souvenirs plus a soda water
machine, forerunner of the soda fountain.
40 Spring: Citizen's Bank Building: This whimsical building housed a succession of banks:
Citizen's Bank until 1907; First National Bank until 1931; Bank of Eureka Springs, 1946 - 1967.
This is the site of the Great Bank Robbery of 1923, which is re-enacted every September.
48 Spring: Cunningham Building. Another structure with a fine upper story was built in 1900
to replace a wooden building lost in the 1888 fire by Mrs. J. C. Cunningham, a popular milliner
and dressmaker. She was a Welsh immigrant who established her business in Eureka Springs in
1880; her hat and dress shops occupied the entire premises.
54-56 Spring: Eureka Drug Store, part of the early Rexall chain, begun here by A.L. Hess.
60 Spring: Wadsworth-Floyd building, built in 1889, was the site of Pendergrass Drug Store for
over half a century. This part of Spring Street is locally known as Pendergrass Corner, with the
popular "Group W Bench" located across the street. (Note: public restrooms located down the
North Side 73 Spring: A small limestone building which housed the Eureka Springs Souvenir
and Novelty Company.
75 Spring: Clark & Klock Block: Built in 1889 as a real estate and insurance business after the
fire of 1888. The limestone and brick building was enlarged in 1900. The Masonic Lodge Hall
relocated upstairs from 67 Spring and emblem is displayed on the facade. This was the original
location of the Bank of Eureka Springs from 1912 to 1946. Then it was adapted to a number of
other business uses. In 1949 #75 was the Karroll Kreiter Beauty Salon, where you could get a
shampoo, set and manicure for $1.75, then became the sleek Mayflower Donut Shop in the
95 Spring: Commodore Theatre still basically appears as it did when it was built in 1918 as a
"moving picture theatre." Locals and visitors enjoyed movies and matinees here until it was
renovated into retail space in the 1970s.
97-99 Spring: Wadsworth Building. A popular furniture store at the turn-of-the-century selling
also carpets, trunks, wallpaper, paints, oils. The flat yard near the bottom was used for shingle
storage. In 1897 IOOF Lodge was on an upper floor. In the 1940s it was home to Eureka Springs
Technical Institute offering courses on watch and jewelry repair, and engraving. In the 1980s it
housed newspaper and printing offices before a major renovation into retail and housing.
101 Spring: U.S. Post Office was built 1918 on land that previously held a couple of small
houses. The front of the building appears as it did then. Note the "ghost" signs on the adjacent
84-86 Spring: Z.P. Freeman Block: Built by 1892, the stores here, like on other blocks, offered
a variety of services. For example in 1914, the first shop on the block was vacant, the second was
a restaurant, then a tailor, plumbing store and grocery. Note the fine cornices and upper story
windows. The brick and limestone building at 80 Spring was built in 1980.
100 Spring: First Baptist Penn Memorial Church: Built 1916 named in honor of Major
William Penn, the first full-time evangelist or minister in Eureka Springs. Up the adjacent
Mountain Street is Penn Castle, an interesting limestone gothic home with Tiffany stained glass
windows. The church also offers fine stained glass windows and a fabulous interior stained glass
104 Spring: Originally the site of the Kentucky House, the Sharp's Continental Oil Filling
Station was located here in 1928 when automobiles became popular. It was enlarged and
converted to law offices in 1964.
110 Spring: Elmwood House was constructed in 1883, one of the first rooming houses built of
brick and thus survived the 1888 fire.
2 Pine: originally Cottage Home in 1892 with Magnolia Hotel next door (grocery on lower
level with furnished rooms above.) In 1904 it was listed as a theatre with no roof and an "air
dome." By 1923 it was rebuilt as the International Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Lodge Hall.
The IOOF was an early influential fraternal organization in Eureka Springs. A pioneer burial
ground established in 1880 was deeded to the IOOF Lodge 83 in 1889. They maintained the
cemetery until 1965 when it was deeded to the City of Eureka Springs in perpetuity. This
peaceful, historic cemetery is located on Highway 62 East at the edge of the city limits.