Eureka Springs was founded in the 19th Century by health seekers who came to take to "take the cure" at this premiere, Victorian Era resort. Modern medicine advanced, water cures fell out of favor, two world wars and a depression intervened, and by the 1960's, Eureka Springs was a quiet place with an unfortunately large number of abandoned Victorian mansions and weed-choked mineral springs.
Long time locals are nostalgic about the days when you could "buy a 3 story house for $500 bucks," and in the 60's, two very diverse groups met to restore Eureka to her former splendor. Each group had a very different interpretation of what it meant to recover Eureka's legendary "sacred ground."
The artists, writers and nature advocates who congregated in Eureka's Historic District came to restore the Victorian structures, reclaim the springs, to open bookstores, galleries, vegetarian restaurants and nightspots featuring prodigious local talent. On what is now known as "The Highway," Christian visionaries Gerald L.K. and Elna Smith were busy creating a tourist attraction of epic proportions: the Great Passion Play with its seven story "Christ of the Ozarks" statue and the nightly dramatizations of Jesus' last week on Earth which first opened in 1968.
These original settlers, their followers and their descendents live on, and because of their influence, Eureka Springs today is an urban community in a bell jar -- a small town with 2000 official residents, a stunningly diverse population, a high concentration of brilliant, creative people, a place of passionately held and hotly contested political views.
So how do you define Eureka Springs? Is it the seven story Jesus, or the down 'n dirty blues played at His feet? Is it the sound of hymns ringing from the Full Gospel church, or is Eureka defined by men's drumming retreats and ceremonies designed to access the power of Eureka's Earth Vortex? Do we observe the Eureka! Quilters Society, or the Klingon Defense Force and the MCC Church, who advertise their community participation on "Adopt a Highway" signs?
The correct answer is that all of these things define Eureka, and it is why we say with complete honesty,
"There is something for everyone in Eureka Springs."