Other Extant Hotels
1882 photo showing various hotels of an earlier era, the Grand Central at bottom was a wooden rectangular building.
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.
Tough times for Eureka Springs came after the turn of the century. People’s attitudes were changing, putting more faith into science and new medical discoveries and less into healing waters. Though the automobile brought a resurgence of tourism in the 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s dealt a heavy blow. Many buildings were abandoned or torn down. ES was little more than a seedy semi-ghost town until the 1960s, when hippies discovered it at about the same time as Christian fundamentalist Gerald L. K. Smith. The Great Passion Play opened in 1968 in the hills above ES. Hippies revitalized the downtown section and springs, bringing art, music, and alternative ideas.
In the 1970’s, while 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!!! -- Eureka Springs itself is a Theme Park!