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