Tourist Courts & Motels
Following the era of Boarding Houses and the numerous older hotels, several of the smaller ones that still exist, converted to residential or retail use. The five major hotels underwent costly renovations in becoming converted to modern accommodations. The economy waned and tourists no longer sought medicinal spas, so Eureka Springs underwent several cycles of change in continuing to compete as a tourist attraction.
With the onslaught of automobiles, new roads were built, streets were widened and paved, and in place of Boarding Houses, Bed and Breakfast accommodations and Tourist Courts became attractive.
The Sanborn Maps for Eureka Springs ended in 1923, with some minor modifications that were made a year or more later. One of these is shown below indicating three Tourist Courts that were congregated in an area enveloping one part of Kings Highway West. There was no mapping of the entire Hwy.62 corridore at that time.
Montrose Av. no longer exists, but one street north of it is current day Eugenia Street. An unidentified Tourist Court existed in that area. Two other Tourist Courts lay below Midway or Kings Highway --- or what we call Hwy. 62 West or VanBuren West today.
Several of the streets shown in this 1924 version of the Sanborn Map have since undergone elimination or route alteration.
At bottom left is the Joy Tourist Camp, or Camp Joy, as built by Ray and Chole Freeman -- and in later years converted to a Motel by their sons, Charles and Bob Freeman. There were 41 cabins in 1989, when the Joy Motel was sold to Charles Freeman's son.
At right bottom of the Sanborn Map, shows the Tourist Court that was built by Sam Leath, called Camp Leath.
At left, shows two photos of Camp Joy. From the Highway and the bottom one from within the compound.
Bob Freeman lived at Lake Leatherwood and while living there, he built five cabins of concrete block which were rented out as a means of income.
After living there for 15 years, he sold out the lease and with his older brother Charles, took over the Joy Motel with their mother, and built more cabins. While still at Leatherwood, he would help build cabins at the Joy during the off-season months. The motel tourist trade changed during the past decade with couples replacing the family trade that was traditional. Photo at right shows the original swimming pool at Camp Joy.
The below ad at left is a 1935 advertisement showing the entrance to Camp Leath. Alongside at right shows a 1947 advertisement with a change in ownership and name for the Tourist Court.
Other 1947 advertisements show expansion to the Hwy 62 area and neighboring facilities in easy reach of Eureka Springs.