Eureka Springs, Arkansas is a city with so many amazing experiences to offer. From great art galleries, museums, world class dining and a unique shopping experience like no other, you will always find activities that excite in Eureka Springs. But did you know that Eureka Springs is a city with historical significance? Eureka Springs’s history makes this city one not to miss.
The City of Eureka Springs was founded on July 4, 1879. Sharing a birthday with our nation, Eureka Springs was named a “City of the First Class” when the population reached 10,000 in 1881. At the time, Eureka Springs was the fourth largest city in Arkansas.
People flocked to Eureka Springs after the discovery and belief that the city contained miraculous and healing waters. For hundreds of years prior, Eureka Springs held legends known by Native American tribes of a Great Healing Spring located in the Arkansas Mountains. The tribes welcomed suffering visitors to the healing waters which ultimately gained national attention.
Dr. Alvah Jackson is considered to be the first white settler to “discover” the healing springs after he used the springs to treat an eye ailment that his son had suffered. He established Dr. Jackson’s Cave Hospital to use the magical waters to care for soldiers during the Civil War. Word of the powers of the spring traveled fast once Dr. Jackson cured a friend of a crippling disease in 1879.
Soon after, the railroad and other amenities to the city were developed creating easy access and conveniences for newcomers. In just two years, thousands of residences and commercial structures were built in conjunction with streets, sewer lines and an electric trolley. The flight to Eureka Springs grew commerce in the area as well as education, government, health care, landscape, recreation and culture further aligning Eureka Springs as a desirable destination.
Many of the original structures in town still stand today. Preserved in time, Eureka Springs is part of the National Register of Historic Places. Travel back in time and learn more about Eureka Springs’s rich history by visiting the Eureka Springs Historical Museum or enjoy a tour through downtown and encounter history firsthand.