The Palace Hotel & Bath House, "Swellest Place in Town," according to this 1907 advertisement.
Interior of the Palace Bath House circa 1905.
Harding Spring, directly across
from the Palace on Spring Street.
Basin Spring Bath House
Q: Were there many bathhouses in Eureka Springs?
A: Yes, but only 2 stood the test of time. Although both stand today, just one still offers the luxury of a bath house. The Basin Park Hotel, which offered baths until 1977, in what is now the mezzanine, should also be mentioned.
Q: So what two stood the test of time?
A: The Palace Hotel & Bath House at 135 Spring Street, and the Basin Spring Bath House ("90% of the cures") at Main and Spring. The Palace is the only one in operation today.
Q: What kinds of services were offered in bath houses?
A: Massages, showers, cold or hot baths, hot air and electric baths, galvanic tub and battery, medicated, vapor cabinets, violet rays, vibration and radiant baths (an improvement on Turkish and Russian baths.)
Swedish massage and whirlpool baths were offered in the 1950's. Of course, the water was from one or more of the local springs and attendants were "skilled", "attentive", and
Q: When was the Palace built?
A: It was built in 1900 and opened in 1901 with 15 or 16 rooms. Advertisements
for the Palace Cafe and Palace Laundry are first found in 1907, but they may have
been there all along; a 1904 advertisement shows a barbershop.
The bath house was equipped with electric lights and steam heat in every room and it boasted an electric elevator as well. Limestone from Beaver (town) was used and the total
dimensions were given as 11,872 square feet.
Q: Did the Palace also use water from Eureka's springs?
A: Yes, water for the baths came directly from Sweet Spring according to one
source, and Harding Spring according to another'. The current owners; Steve and
Francie Miller, say that the pipes to Harding Spring are still visible.
Q: When was Basin Spring Bath House built?
A: It was built in 1889 to replace a frame structure that had burned. A brick
building 4 stories high was constructed with the first and second stories entered
on Main Street and the third and fourth entered across a walk bridge to Spring
Street over Main Street. It used Basin Spring water brought over Main Street in
pipes that were tucked underneath the bridge. Main Street (Mud Street) was raised
one level, and the second, third, and fourth stories became what we now know as
the first, second and third.
On September 28,1986, the building caught fire and was
entirely gutted - even the bridge was damaged. It was totally rebuilt within the walls
to house two businesses on each floor and it reopened in 1987. Every effort was
made to be technically and historically correct on the exterior of the building. The
original quarry matched lintels and window sills and a surviving section of the
railing was cast into a mold to replace damaged sections. Bricks were only
painted because they were damaged or discolored in the fire.