Archive for the ‘History of Eureka Springs’ Category

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 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!

Early Eureka Springs History-Part 1

January 30th, 2013 by Sam Feldman

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is rich in colorful history. From time to time, we will devote a blog to some of the more interesting aspects, a lot of which you can learn about first hand on a visit to Eureka. As you walk this beautiful town, you will come across historical plaques and photo placards that allow you to look at a site in person, to see how it has changed. Here is a photo of Mud St. (now known as Main St.), which is quite different from what you see today:

Mud St. below Basin avenue 1880

Verbiage that explains this photo:  “Mud Street” is shown taking a rather deep grade downward. The building at right just past the City Drug Store shows its “pilings” that hold it in place. All the buildings on the right side are suspended across the Leatherwood (Creek) Branch which “Mud Street” runs parallel to. The buildings at left butt up to limestone walls that holds up Spring Street fronting the Basin Spring.

More than a dozen laborers and onlookers are in this Main Street scene.” This photo was reportedly taken between 1882 and 1884.

Today, folks find it hard to believe that there is a creek that runs the length of Main Street, under all those buildings (on the right), including the Courthouse and the Auditorium. You can go into the basement of the Auditorium and open trap doors that look down into the creek. “Mud St.” was built up a level in the late 1800′s, due to the flooding of that creek, which caused that street to be very, well… muddy! So there is a whole level of buildings down below street level, most of which are closed off to the public today (but we hope will be opened up in the future, as part of the Underground Tour). For a nice view of one of these buildings underground (and a fabulous lunch!), go eat at the Mud St. Cafe.

Remember, it’s a lovely walk from Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast to the historical downtown, with many sights to see along the way, so come join us soon!

Warmest regards,

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