Main Streets 2017 – Arkansas
Wandering down Main Street in Eureka Springs is a treat for the senses, as appealing sights wait around every curve and corner in this unique downtown.
Immaculately preserved historic Victorian buildings abound, many of them built around the seemingly countless springs that gave the city its name. The hilly, curving topography adds to the sense of being somewhere special. There are even some buildings that, as they follow the lay of the land, have street-level entrances on more than one floor.
All this contributed to Eureka Springs – the entire city – being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years, Eureka Springs has landed many other laurels as well.
The city is very much a resort destination in the Ozark Mountains, and it proudly displays its history. The Eureka Springs Historical Museum, in the distinctive 1889 Calif Building on South Main Street, offers a great introduction to all that made Eureka Springs what it is. Sometimes known as The City That Water Built, Eureka Springs discovered its “healing waters” in the late 19th century and has been a magical destination ever since.
Just a block off North Main Street, the 1905-vintage Basin Park Hotel — “at the spring where it all began,” says the hotel’s website — offers fine lodging, dining and spa services. The Crescent Hotel and Spa, also nearby, is distinctive not just because it dates to 1886 and not just because the stunning, historic building is surrounded by 15 spectacular acres high on a hill. It also calls itself “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,” and offers tours to prove it.
There’s plenty of the spiritual in Eureka Springs. This city is home to Christ of the Ozarks, a 65-foot high statue of Jesus overlooking the city, and The Great Passion Play is staged locally every year from May through October, describing itself as “America’s No. 1 Attended Outdoor Drama.” A little farther afield is Thorncrown Chapel, a beautiful wood-and-glass church in the woods that has also become a tourist destination.
Visitors flock to Eureka Springs for the Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point, a summer music camp that has evolved into a home for professional opera. And for those whose interests range more widely, this is the site of the National Photography Contest, the Antique Automobile Festival, and the Scooting the Ozarks Rally for scooters and motorcycles.
Primary photo taken by Chris Litherland
Street View photo taken by Christopher Ziemnowicz
Christ of the Ozarks photo taken by James Hill