THE DAILY GRAPHIC, Tuesday, May 9, 1882
Accommodations, heretofore scanty and poor, are now abundant, and board can be had at prices ranging from $2.50 to $21 per week. The water is free to all, whether one has faith in the waters or not. Eureka Springs offers a great many attractions to the tourist. No other such medley of buildings, such piling up of residences tier on tier till the mountain top is reached; such a conglomeration of nationalities, such poverty, such fantastic forms of disease and medley worse confounded of ails can be found in the nation’s compass.
The entire city, with the exception of one building, is built of pine. With less than half a dozen exceptions the structures are mere shanties, hardly worthy of the name houses, although perhaps a few hotels and larger boarding houses should be excepted.
In 1882, laboring under terrific disadvantages, the streets are being improved; buildings, among them a $60,000 hotel, are going up on all sides, and the season must see an influx of 20,000 people.
L.J. Kalklosch – Healing Fountain – 1879-81
Mr. T. Jackson, a son of Dr. Jackson, erected a small bath-house below the Spring, erected a storehouse, and brought the third stock of goods to the Springs.
The town could now boast of three stores, one regular boarding house, a post-office, a bath-house, and a quack doctor of great pretensions.
A demand for hotels increased very rapidly, and soon appeared the City Hotel, the Eureka House, the Planters’ House, the Gilmore House, and several other smaller boarding-houses in various parts of the town.
People coming into the city on their first approach dared not stop to think. In spite of all that had been said, and the cures that had been effected, if a person stopped, looked over the scene, saw the hundreds of little houses going up, and the (so called) streets (paths) lined with people carrying pails and kegs of every description, going to the springs for water – the old, the young, the lame, the blind, the fat, the lean, the dyspeptic, and the dropsical – in short, people of all ages and diseases, all seemingly expecting to be made youthful and whole — the feeling, and frequently the expression: “What nonsense!” would force its way, wholly involuntary on his part.
At that time, (May 1880), there were, in all probability, 2,000 houses, and as before stated, 10,000 or 12,000 souls at the health resort. Only three streets, Main, or Mud, Spring and Mountain, were then known as thoroughfares, and dug out so that teams could travel safely when all went in the same direction: but when teams met, it invariably created inconvenience, as they frequently were compelled to “back” at times several rods to allow a passage, as the track was too narrow for more than one team at a time.
The hills were dotted with houses. These were principally small, and cheaply constructed. Of rough plank. Many of them were set on posts varying in length from two to ten feet on the lower side.
Excavations were frequently dug in the hill-sides, making level foundations for the buildings. In such cases, three-story houses were often built, and each story could be entered from the ground on the upper side.
Main Street was about two miles in length, leading from the northern to the southern extremities of the city. The part first surveyed was now almost a solid row of houses.
John W. Kearny in his 1907 "The Ozarks", states, “It is also its springs which have caused this settlement to be placed on what looks like a most unnatural site for a town. Nowhere is there a flat surface on which to build. Houses are everywhere perched on the sides of mountains, where it would seem impossible to keep a mad torrent of water, caused by the fury of a mountain storm, from washing them away. Yet the structures stand, staunch and true. A building which is one story in height on one side may be three or four stories high on the opposite. All the streets and footpaths are steep and circuitous. To reach a house 200 yards away, one is frequently compelled to walk or drive over a mile, so roundabout has it been found necessary to lay out the byways of travel.”
Weekly Flashlight --1925
The city is built on a mountain side, therefore is a place of crooked and narrow streets. There are grottoes and rockeries, and there are winding ways from which you look down upon the home roofs; and you find unexpected paths which lead to unexpected steps, those in their turn leading to unlooked for streets you have left.
So Eureka Springs seems to stand like a gate to what is beyond.
But the quaintness of the town may hold a certain drawback if what a blacksmith’s boy told was true. For he said that because of the nature of the streets and the hilliness of the country round about the place, no circus had ever been there, nor was likely to get there.
CREDITS and Info
The pages to follow, display information on hotels and significant boarding houses that were gleaned from Sanborn maps which are in series-sets for each year as shown in column at left, beginning with 1886 and ending with 1923.
A separate category is also shown at left, for years "1879 - 1885" making note of hotels that were encountered through various readings of articles and books, but before the existence of Sanborn Maps.
Compliments to John Cross and acknowledgement to the Cornerstone Bank for their storing and categorizing many of the photos which appear throughout this entire website.
Compliments also to Kenneth Bates for photographing those Sanborn Maps which are stored at the Museum and also thanks to Butch Berry for making his slide collection of Sanborn Maps available.
If there are enough photographs and when sufficient information becomes available, those hotels that no longer exist will be written up with their own page.