Posts Tagged ‘history’

Grotto Spring – Beauty in Eureka Springs, AR

May 8th, 2013 by Sam Feldman

It is said that we have over 100+ natural cold springs in our little town of 2000. Most of them are in people’s back yards, a few inside their houses or stores downtown. We are lucky enough to live on Spring St., which has some of the most well-known historical springs in the city and have extensive gardens around them, paid for by the City of Eureka Springs and the work of mostly one employee, who must have 10 green thumbs. Our favorite is just down the street from us (of course!) and is called Grotto Spring.

Around 1900

Around 1900

“The words “Esto Perpetua” emblazoned upon a stone above the entrance to Grotto Spring declare the prevailing belief that these healing waters would flow forth forever. Early Townspeople discovered the spring under an overhanging rock ledge a short distance from the well known as Dairy Spring. Extensive street construction on “The Boulevard” as Spring Street was then called, began in 1890. This necessitated construction of an enclosure of limestone and ornamental stonework hand worked by very skilled stonemasons. Grotto Spring was located only a few steps from the Electric streetcar line. Some of the first Ordinances enacted by city government were to protect the springs for public use in perpetuity. The wooded area on the hillside above and around the spring is delineated by ordinance that appears to be Oak or Sheffield Spring described in Ordinance No 81 dated February 14, 1886. The Sheffield family resided nearby in 1880 and may have operated the original dairy for which the hollow below this site was named.”

Grotto Spring today

Grotto Spring today

Today, Grotto Spring can be entered down a flight of stone steps, into a cool (literally!) atmosphere. The modern gardener, Don E,  started lighting candles in the cave a few years ago, so it’s a very peaceful and spiritual experience, where many people leave notes for their loved ones or their hopes and dreams scribbled on a piece of paper. There’s even a bench you can sit on. Outside, he does a wonderful job with color, texture and shapes, even a couple of topiary animals.

Caterpiller topiary

Caterpillar topiary

Bird topiary

Bird topiary

Grotto Spring in Bloom

Grotto Spring in Bloom


Stop by this beautiful oasis the next time you’re visiting Eureka Springs (and hopefully staying with us!) and you’ll find one of your favorite things to do when you visit our lovely little corner of the world.



Warmest regards,

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


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!



Candlelight Tour of Homes

October 28th, 2012 by Sam Feldman

Mark your calendars, December 1, 2012, is the 30th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes, hosted by the Eureka Springs Preservation Society. Tour times are 3-8 p.m. and worth every penny of the $20 ticket price ($15 if you buy in advance). Ten wonderful homes will be featured this year, all lavishly dressed in holiday finery and featuring all the wonderful historic architecture that Eureka Springs is known for. You will find the town dolled up in the wonderful Christmas spirit, with Victorian-dressed docents, Christmas carolers and a good amount of goodies and drink at each stop.

Check out pics from tours past:

Come see us here at the Bridgeford House Bed & Breakfast while you’re here – we have rooms available and are usually very close to the tour, often within walking distance -  and sometimes on our street!

Warmest regards,

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

Voices From the Silent City

September 30th, 2012 by Sam Feldman

We have several really cool things that happen in October. Well, actually more than just several – we do have Corvette Weekend, War Eagle Weekend, Eagle Watch Weekend, the fall folliage and cooler weather, Folk Festival, Howl-O-Ween at Turpentine Creek (and a new event coming this year, the Zombie Crawl!) – but one event that’s only been around for a couple of seasons is Voices From the Silent City. This is a costumed, guided Historical tour that takes place in our beautiful (yep, I said that) city cemetery on October 12 & 13 and then again on October 26 & 27th. Eureka Springs has a rich history that goes back to the 1870′s and many of these folks that are long gone are buried in our local cemetery. Our Eureka Springs Historical Museum has been creating this event for the past four years, “resurrecting” the dead and their stories.

Eureka Springs, AR

This year’s cemetery tour will focus on Civil War veterans. Included will be Dr. Alvah Jackson who is credited with founding Eureka Springs; a woman who worked as a gun runner for the Confederate army stationed in Berryville; a dentist and his wife; a bugle boy; the man who built some of the largest early stone walls in town; a railroad man; the famous evangelist William Evander Penn and the Salvation Singers.

A special presentation during the cemetery tour will be an exhibition and demonstration in a Civil War surgical tent by Doug Kidd of Tontitown.

Tours will be 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27. Tours take about an hour and fifteen minutes. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children. Parking at the old Victoria Inn on Highway 62 east. Shuttles will take visitors from the parking area to the cemetery and back. There is no parking at the cemetery.

Tickets will be available at the museum at 95 S. Main, Cornerstone banks, the Chamber of Commerce in Pine Mountain Village on Highway 62 east, and at the parking area each night.

For more information, call the Museum at 479/253-9417 or email

Check with us for vacancies for those weekends, but if we don’t have anything, it’s worth the trip anyway. We might see you there, because we go every year!

Warmest regards,

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

42nd Annual Eureka Springs Antique Automobile Festival

September 2nd, 2012 by Sam Feldman

Although Bridgeford House B&B will be hosting one of our murder mystery weekends on September 7 & 8th, many of our guests and visitors to Eureka Springs will be enjoying our annual antique auto festival, which features some of the coolest cars ever!

They come right by Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast during the parade!Hundreds of vintage classics compete for prizes up at the Pine Mountain shopping center all weekend. You will see them all through town the entire time (watch them from your favorite restaurant deck or balcony) and on Saturday, they will all parade through town, one right after the other. And they all come right by the Bridgeford House! It’s one of our favorite parades to watch right from our front porch.


The other event that is always on the Antique Automobile weekend is the reenactment of the 1922 Bank Robbery, the first time an automobile was used as a getaway car in a bank robbery. It takes place right in the middle of downtown mid-day Saturday (after the parade, which starts at 11 a.m.) and includes a fitting end to the bad guys, an accurate mock shootout. It’s great fun (except for the bad guys, of course) and shows what fun small towns can have with their history. Check out this video of shootouts from years past to get a feel for the afternoon’s festivities.

So, as you can see, the first weekend in September is filled with historical action:  murder mysteries, antique cars and wild shootouts. Come join us!

Warmest regards,

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



Gaskins Cabin Steak House – Log Cabin Style!

September 12th, 2011 by Sam Feldman

One of the best restaurants in Eureka Springs is the Gaskins Cabin Steak House – about 3 miles north of Eureka on Hwy 23. This authentic log cabin was built in 1864 by a well-known bear hunter and one of the area’s earliest settlers, John Gaskins. He lived there with his wife and 11 children! (We can imagine “time out” for those kids – threaten ‘em with a bear!)

Gaskins Cabin was a gathering place. The Gaskins family always welcomed train-travelers. After they unloaded from the Gaskins Switch train depot, visitors would relax in the Gaskins’ home while waiting for family and friends to pick them up and take them to their final destinations. Here, the guest would eat, drink, and share stories of their lives, becoming extended family to the Gaskins. We love this philosophy – just like ours!

Now, 140 years later, Gaskins Cabin is the oldest standing property in Carroll County, and it is still a gathering place.


Examples of some of their menu items are Classic Escargot, Atlantic Salmon, Shrimp Scampi and Deep Fried Shrimp. Their steak choices include Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, and Boneless Rib Eye. You will be asked what color you want the center to be and it will be exactly that when you receive it! They also have a great wine list and phenomenal desserts – we bet you can bring dessert back to your room if you’re too full of steak; we have utensils for you in your room for just such an occasion.

Okay, we admit that this is one of the very few places you really can’t walk to from Bridgeford House Bed & Breakfast, but it’s well worth the short drive. And no charge for parking there, either!

Warmest regards,

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

Belle of the Ozarks Beaver Lake Cruises

July 18th, 2011 by Sam Feldman

For 22 seasons, the Belle of the Ozarks has been treating visitors to awesome views and the interesting history of  beautiful Beaver Lake from the deck of their large boat. View the sparkling clear water of Beaver Lake (well known to scuba divers in the area) and enjoy miles of panoramic shoreline. You can enjoy an informative narrative, spiced with humor, covering a dozen points of interest.

See Beaver Dam, Whitehouse Bluffs, a submerged homestead, the Ozark Bluff Dweller’s burial ground and a two hundred acre game preserve island. You can often see deer swimming in the lake and bald eagles return every year when fall foliage color peaks.

There are restrooms and concessions on board. Tickets are $20 for adults and $8 for children under 12 – and worth every penny! Cruise times are 11, 1 and 3 every day except Thursday, May through October.

This is a lovely addition to a visit to Eureka Springs and only a 1/2 hour drive from us. Come check it out in the fall, when the trees around the high bluffs of the lake are at the most gorgeous!

Warmest regards,

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

Bridgeford House Bed & Breakfast Now Award-Winning!

January 28th, 2011 by Sam Feldman

We are always excited to receive any kind of recognition and recently we learned that our wonderful guests voted us “Best Architecture” out of 8,500 inns in the US and Canada, for our wonderful Queen Anne/Eastlake Victorian home. Built in 1884, we have 4 wonderful stories with lots of decks and porches and scenic views. It would take you all day to examine all the wonderful gingerbread on the outside and our incredibly lovely moldings and baseboards, antique lighting and original windows (some with stained glass and some with original glass, still wavy) on the inside.

We are proud of our building’s heritage and encourage anybody to come by and take a tour, if possible. We like to provide 21st century amenities in an 19th century atmosphere.

Warmest regards,

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

Voices From Eureka’s Silent City

September 18th, 2010 by Sam Feldman

Last year on Halloween weekend we did something we had never done before – tour a really, really old cemetery at night. It was one the coolest (literally) things that we have ever done! This “living” history walking tour through the Eureka Springs Cemetery features actors in period costumes playing the roles of early citizens reminiscing about their colorful lives. Eureka Springs has such a rich background, we learn new things all the time, even after living here for over eight years! The cemetery holds so many interesting historical figures, we look forward to many years of wonderful stories to be told.

This year, eleven “citizens” of Eureka’s Silent City have been asked to share their stories. The cast includes Cyrus Wilson who was shot in the 1922 robbery of a Eureka Springs bank and Earnest Jordan, the man who shot him; Miss Kitty Goodwin who ran a dance hall in 1880s, Charles W. Conner, the stonemason who built the Carnegie Public Library; plus a miner, a newspaper woman, a vaudeville and Hollywood actress, a bathhouse proprietor, a Civil War widow who ran a rooming house, and the town’s first telephone operator.

Volunteers in period clothing host and lead the tours. It’s an approximately one hour walking tour that includes 5 minute stops with each “citizen.” Tours are scheduled to start around 5:30 p.m. and will leave every twenty minutes, the last one ending at 8:30 p.m. After dusk, participants will be led  by guides with lanterns and the path will be softly illuminated with garden lights. Torches will mark the way, all creating an atmosphere befitting the tales.

The tour is a fund-raising project of the members of the Eureka Springs Historical Museum. Proceeds are used to finance daily operations, special exhibits and on-going restoration projects.

Dates for this fabulous event are October 15 & 16th, October 29th & 30th and there will also be other dates in May of 2011, the 6th & the 13th! Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Parking is free! There is also a shuttle service and refreshments included in the price of the ticket.

We are looking forward to going again this year; we hope to see you there!

Warmest regards,

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