Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was founded on July 4, 1879, not long after hundreds of people had poured into the area hoping for relief from their ills and diseases.
More than 60 springs flowed freely in the area, reputed to have healing waters. As stories of miracle cures spread, the quiet mountain wilderness suddenly opened to throngs of suffering humanity, and the encampment at Basin Spring became the center of a new community. It was officially named Eureka Springs after the Greek word for “I have found it!”
With foresight far beyond that of their era, the first ordinances of the city government were to set aside the springs and spring reservations as public land that would be protected and open to all forever.
As you visit Eureka Springs, you will still find these spring reservations maintained as pocket parks filled with lovely seasonal gardens nestled into dramatic limestone bluffs. More than 800,000 annual visitors join the 2,000 year-round residents in appreciating these lovely spots of solace.
The spring reservations are overseen by the small staff of the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission, which has more than 1,800 acres of land, making it one of the largest park systems in the U.S.
In addition to the stunning springs gardens, many other public and private gardens make the best of our unusual terrain, and the fact that the town’s landscape changes dramatically with four distinct, yet usually mild, seasons.
Of additional interest to Growing a Greener World is our active farmers’ market and the organic Foundation Farm, www.foundationfarm.com. Eureka Springs is also a nationally known artists’ community. Several local artists, such as Patricia Levine www.patricialevine.com, transform the yield from their gardens into beautiful photographs, paintings, candles and dried floral art. Steven Foster, internationally known author/photographer and medicinal plants expert, is also a long-time resident of Eureka Springs www.stevenfoster.com. And for another twist, there is Quigley Castle — known as the “Ozarks Strangest Dwelling” — an intriguing folk design built in the 1940s which literally brings the outside inside www.quigleyscastle.com
Eureka Springs’ involvement with America in Bloom includes winning our population category in 2006 and awards for Heritage, urban Forestry and community Involvement from 2004-2006. The community has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970 and re-listed as Nationally Significant in 2005. We are the oldest Tree City USA in Arkansas, and just celebrated our 28th year.