Early Eureka Springs History- Part II

April 17th, 2013 by Sam Feldman

Whenever guests come to stay with us here at the Bridgeford House Bed & Breakfast, they’re always interested in the history of our quaint Victorian town. It truly does have a fascinating history, so from time to time, we’ll do a blog with some historic photos (we have TONS that are available in town at various places) and some of the interesting aspects of our history. There is nowhere quite as interesting as this little mountain town tucked away in the beautiful green Ozark Mountains!

A very interesting site that we get a lot of our information from is eurekapringshistory.com. This site is researched and put together by a Katrina-transplant, Dan Ellis. Some excerpts from one of those pages:

Eureka Springs 1879-1881

 In the Beginning

“One of the first men reported to have been at the healing springs was Dr. Alvah Jackson who brought his son there to cure his eye disease. The internal and external use of the spring water was effective in the cure.

Dr. Jackson then recommended that his friend Judge Saunders pursue a water treatment. The Judge went to the spring in May of 1879 and while there taking the “cure.” he recalled a Cherokee Indian who he had encountered in 1835 during the “Trail of Tears,” had told him about a healing spring located in North Arkansas on a tributary of the White River. Several years later, the Judge, while conversing with a Spaniard, was told the story of a Great World Healing Spring.

Judge Saunders remained there under a tent for nearly two months during which time he was cured of his disease, lost 40 pounds, and his yellow-whitish hair turned black with new growth.

On a later occasion, the Judge suggested to Dr. Jackson, that with the increased notoriety of the waters and new folks arriving each day, that the area should be called Jackson Springs. The Doctor rebutted, “No, it should be called Saunders Springs.”

With that, young Buck Saunders jumped up and exclaimed, “Eureka! — I found it!” — claiming that was what Ponce de Leon called the Fountain of Youth in the book he was reading. Thereafter, the site, memorialing the land of healing springs, became known as Eureka Springs.”

Today this spring is called Basin Spring, in downtown Eureka Springs:

At 1750 feet above mean sea level, Eureka Springs is situated  in the White River mountains at the headwaters of Leatherwood Creek, a tributary to the White River.

At 1750 feet above mean sea level, Eureka Springs is situated in the White River mountains at the headwaters of Leatherwood Creek, a tributary to the White River.

Obviously it looks much different today! For some more details on these two early Eurekans, read further.

Warmest regards,

Jeff and Nadara (Sam) Feldman – and Sophie, too!

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