More of Eureka Springs, Arkansas


A rocky outcrop contains Harding Spring near the intersection of Spring and Howell.  The nearby Eastview Cottage was built prior to 1881.

The Rosalie

This house in Eastlake and Steamboat Gothic styles was probably built in 1889 (despite the 1883 placard) by JW Hill, then the wealthiest man in Eureka Springs.  He owned a livery and stables and built the city’s first telephone system.  The “prettiest and fanciest home on the Boulevard” reportedly cost $17,000 when a typical home in the city could be built for less than $1000.  Originally called the Hill House, it later became known as the Rosalie.

After his children sold the home in 1914, it passed through numerous owners over the years.  When I was a kid, my family knew a lady whose parents had once lived there.

Crescent Hotel

When the Crescent Hotel opened in 1886, it was arguably considered America’s most luxurious.  A team of stonemasons was recruited from Ireland to work the dense magnesium limestone (dolomite) and special wagons were constructed to haul the blocks from the quarry.  According to a newspaper report at the time, the hotel was “lighted with Edison lamps, furnished with electric bells, heated with steam and open grates, has a hydraulic elevator, and is truly a showpiece of today’s conveniences”.

By the early 1900’s though, faith in the healing powers of Eureka’s hot springs was fading, and the hotel began to decline.  From 1908 to 1924 it operated as a hotel only in the summers, and as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women the rest of the year.  It was a junior college from 1930 to 1934.

In 1937, Norman G. Baker bought the old hotel to set up a hospital, promoting “miracle cures” for cancer and other ailments.  A former vaudeville magician, inventor of the Air Calliaphone, and radio host, Baker had no medical training. He was arrested for mail fraud in 1939 and found to have made as much as $500,000 a year selling his elixers.  He spent four years in Leavenworth Prison, then lived comfortably in Florida until his death.

In 1946 the empty building was purchased by four businessmen from Chicago and operated as a hotel again, though not as grand as before.  In 1967 a fire destroyed much of the fourth floor.  After passing through various hands, new owners in 1997 began a 5-million-dollar restoration.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church

Below the Crescent Hotel and above the Carnegie Library sits the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church.  A chapel was built in 1906 and the church in 1909 by Richard Kerens, one of the original owners of the Crescent.

The church grounds are accessed under the small freestanding belltower.  Along the walk down to the church are Italian marble statues of the Stations of the Cross which were added in the late 1950’s.

The former chapel, on the right, became the entry vestibule for the church.