Grotto Spring

If you follow Spring Street north from Crescent Spring, make the turn to the west at its northernmost bend, you’ll come to Grotto Spring.

This beautiful spring reservation is a must-stop for visitors in cars or on the tour tram. Inside its natural cave — enhanced by a stone arch — the temperature is cool and there is almost always at least one candle burning in the darkness.

Though we are behind on rainfall right now, you can still see a damp floor where spring waters sometimes drip through. After a long gully-washer, this sub-grade spring will sometimes flood out.

Approaching from the east.
Grotto Spring is beautifully landscaped, like all the spring reservations.
The arch and steps down to the spring
I have no idea who the keeper of the candle might be.
The arch from the inside.
Approaching from the west.
A vintage -looking lamppost illuminates the reservation at night, matching those at other springs.
A small bench and column on the west side. There is a concrete picnic table and benches on the east side, a feature common to many of the spring reservations.
The view across the street from the spring at dusk.

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A Stairstep Town

Don’t laugh, now! A lot of Eureka Springs’ streets are staircases! Just don’t try to drive up and down them. For that, we have Mountain, Owen and Pine Streets, among others!

Cora Pinckley Call’s long-sold souvenir book, “A Stairstep Town” is aptly titled. I drew from her work, among many others, for historical information when writing “The People of the Waters.” I still do sometimes.

The top of Tibbs Alley at Center Street.
It’s a bit of a steep climb!
Closeup of the city’s descriptive plaque
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Harding Spring

I skipped Harding Spring! It resides on Spring Street between Sweet Spring and Crescent Spring, of course. A number of healings by water were reported here, including a rather famous one for blindness.

Harding Spring features the railed “lover’s leap” atop its steamboat rock, and a brand-new wooden staircase will take you to the top of it, and one of many enjoyable trails within our little city.

(Sorry that the marker is hard to read with the paper wasp nest on it.)

Steamboat rock and its lover’s leap. The spring is at the lower left.
Approaching Harding Spring from the south
Harding Spring can be heard running almost all year.
The descriptive plaque is partially obscured by a wasp nest at present.

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Crescent Spring

Crescent Spring is the next stop on our tour of Eureka’s spring reservations, set aside for public benefit early in the city’s history. This is the one for which Crescent Hotel is named, and you can still climb the stone steps up the hill to see that stately castle in the Ozarks. The current gazebo replaced the original one many decades after it had fallen into disrepair, and for many years was white with sage green trim. The current purple-and-aqua color scheme was applied in 2013 during a renovation. It features a copper roof, which has acquired a natural patina.

Crescent Spring gazebo hides behind trees as you approach it.
But the reveal is entrancing.
Historical marker records a capsule of the spring’s history.
A stone marker complements the plaque.
One of the pillars’ foundations recalls the gazebo renovation ten years ago.

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Calif Spring

If you walk a couple of blocks southwest of Basin Spring, where our tour began yesterday, you’ll come to Calif Spring (various spellings throughout the years) on the grounds of the Eureka Springs Historical Museum. The spring is now sealed in a rock roundhouse, where in years past its waters were purified by ultraviolet light.

The museum gift shop kindly carries a few copies of my “People of the Waters” novels, if you’re in town and looking!

The spring reservation as seen from Main Street.
A drain channels runoff from the rock wall behind the museum past the spring.
Descriptive plaque
The Eureka Springs Historical Museum

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The remaining stereoviews

Collected from the ‘net a couple of years ago and since vanished, these last few stereoviews in my collection include a few more of the Crescent Hotel, the site of at least a couple of pivotal scenes in the “People of the Water” Cycle of novels.

Described in a handwritten caption as “Election Day,” this view may feature city founder-financier Powell Clayton on the light-colored mount, center.
Baptisms were a common event at the springs and other local bodies of water; this scene may have taken place at Little Lake Eureka.
The Crescent Hotel has almost always featured a well-kept landscape.
Well-manicured gardens, then as now, enhance the grounds of the Crescent.
This view of town features a visiting deer; still a common sight today.
The Crescent Dining Room is shown, with wait staff tending tables.
Now known as “Natural Bridge” (one of at least two in Arkansas), the Rock Bridge drew visitors and attention a century ago, as well.
Photographed from the natural stone dyke across the White River from Beaver Town, this view includes the railroad bridge at the Narrows.
The original Crescent Spring gazebo can be seen at left by the Presbyterian Manse. First Presbyterian Church is across the street at the far right, next to Powell Clayton’s home with the striped-shingle roof. This may have been a parade or funeral procession.

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Skylab launch: 50th anniversary

Skylab, the first United States space station, was launched to orbit 50 years ago today, at 5:30 pm EST, May 14, 1973. It was a unique configuration of the Saturn V launch vehicle. The event figures into the story of the first novel in my series, “The Water Cure.”

Photo of Skylab launch, NASA
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Horseback ride

This 1906 newspaper ad tells potential visitors that a pleasant horseback ride in the woods is available via the Frisco Railroad and its connecting line to Eureka Springs. Stan, one of the characters in my novel “The Water Cure,” works for that connecting line, the Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad. (St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat)

I’m not sure whether the novel’s beast-of-burden Neddie would have taken riders or not. Perhaps Jen.

1906 newspaper ad for Eureka Springs
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Still more antique stereoviews

Enjoy 10 more of these stereoviews of Eureka Springs taken at the turn of the 20th Century (most by photographer D. Callahan). Viewed through a fairly common device then, known as a stereoscope, these provided 3-D views. This would have been within a few years of the arrival of Stan and Jen, characters in “The Water Cure” and its sequels in the “People of the Water” Cycle.

A well-dressed group of men, women and children visit Grotto Spring.
This pose takes place at Little Eureka Spring.
Dairy Spring is located on the north end of Eureka Springs.
Crescent Spring is down the hill from the Crescent Hotel and featured a gazebo over it. A colorful replica occupies that space today.
Oil Spring derived its name from the reputedly oily quality of its water.
The town quickly achieved substantial growth, with an estimated population of 6,000 in 1910. Today’s city population was about 2,200 in 2020.
Perry House, a fine wooden-frame hotel next to Basin Park, was lost to a fire and the 1905 Basin Park Hotel — made of limestone — replaced it.
Stereoviews as well as panoramic photographs of the entire resort village were very popular subjects for postcards that visitors could send to friends.
Building dwellings and businesses cost a lot of trees, and lumber industries were numerous and competitive.
This view of Spring Street shows Fuller Cottage at the intersection with King Street — but only in the left frame!

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Little red depot

This is another stereoview of Eureka Springs, specifically of the original wooden depot that served from 1882-1912. At one point it had red trim and was fondly called “the little red depot.” This is the structure that Jen, Stan and George pass as they follow the tracks walking into town early in “The Water Cure.” Stan would eventually work in the engine shop there, the shed-like structure behind the depot.

Single frame, left, of the stereoview.
The Eureka Springs Railway depot, with Main Street (Mud Street) in front of it.
Text from the reverse side of the card.
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