Eureka Springs History
Sanitarium Lake a/k/a Lake Lucerne


Q:    How can I get to Lake Lucerne?
A:    Go out HWY 23 South and take the first left. You will be on Greenwood Hollow Road, and you take the first right turn you come to. From that point, just follow the winding road to the entrance, which is marked by signs and two tall white pillars.

Q:    Is this a natural lake?
A:    According to an 1892 publication, it originally was. Held in place by a natural ledge of sandstone rock, it eventually wore a cataract through the rock and it emptied. It is spring-fed and, after being repaired, the lake was as deep as 20' in some places.

Q:    Was it always called Lake Lucerne?

A:    No, Crystal Lake seems to have been the original name. Dr. Davis, who owned the property, had a daughter named Crystal. The doctor planned to build a sanitarium of sizeable proportions there and he named it Sanitarium Lake. Despite the fact that the sanitarium was not built there, it was called Sanitarium Lake for many years and was a prized location for picnics, boating and horseback riding.

Q:    When did it change names again?
A:    There are several references-including old post cards-referring to it as Spring Lake up until the mid-twenties. At that time, Cr. Davis sold it to Richard Thompson, who also owned Ozarka Water company and had been president of Crescent College and Conservatory. Later Mr. Thompson established it as Lake Lucerne Resort. He built cabins, pavilions for dancing and for dining, a hotel, a bath house, and a golf course. The golf course had nine holes of excellent turf with unusual hazards. The greens fees were moderate and it was often referred to as golf "links".

Q:    Who owns Lake Lucerne now?
A:    In 1980 Mariellen Chandler and her late husband, the artist Leo Chandler, bought Lake Lucerne. Mariellen, a former Miss Tulsa with commercials and television movies to her credit, was on the executive staff of the CBS affiliate, KOTV in Tulsa. While there, she produced and hosted "The Morning Show". The Chandlers had come here to film a documentary on Eureka Springs and had fallen in love with it.

Q:    What was Lake Lucerne like when they bought it?
A:    There were only a few cabins then. The Chandlers had filmed another documentary in Haifa, Israel as guests of the Israeli foreign office. They were taken with the artists' village there. The artists live and work in the village, but market their work elsewhere, and this was their dream for Lake Lucerne.

Q:    Did they make it an artists' village?
A:    No, it evolved into a 40 acre resort with 12 cottages. The original cabins were remodeled and new villas were sprinkled throughout the property. There is a floating gazebo that is used for weddings, and a beach, ducks and geese have also been added.

Kindly provided by Susan Schaefer. All Rights Reserved. Information presented here is used with the permission of the author.