In 1881 there were thirteen buildings which where called hotels. Most of these were of frame construction and the majority were little more than boarding houses.
In 1884, the Eureka Improvement Company (EIC), in partnership with the Frisco Railroad, began to build the famous Crescent Hotel. Considered as America’s most luxurious resort hotel of the time, the majestic inn opened among a midst of fan fair on May 20, 1886. Notables from across the country attended its grand opening, which included a gala ball, complete with a full orchestra, and banquet dinner for 400 celebrants.
Offering large airy rooms with exquisite furnishings, a dining room that once seated more than 500 people, and outside amenities that included a swimming pool, tennis courts and croquet, among a beautiful landscape of flower gardens, winding boardwalks and gazebos, the opulence of the hotel was unmatched at the time.
Immediately, the well-to-do of the nation began to flock to the luxurious resort hotel as liveried footmen met them at the Frisco depot before transporting them to the inn. Once there, the guest could not only enjoy the healing waters of the spa, but also a stable of 100 sleek-coated horses, tea dances in the afternoon, and elaborate parties every evening with a full in-house orchestra.
The Crescent Hotel changed hands numerous times throughout its existence, serving in various capacities and having suffered a tragic fire in the 1960’s. Regardless, the “Grand Lady of The Ozarks,” as the hotel is affectionately called, has been fully restored to her original magnificence and continues to cater to travelers today.