Monday, February 9, 2009

Eureka Springs

Last Thursday I traveled up to the Ozarks not to take pictures really but to help my Aunt clear away some tree limbs that fell in her yard after the big ice storm. The ice never hit Little Rock, but as we drove farther north it was easy to see the large amount of damage caused by the storm. In some places it looked as if every single tree had been wounded by the ice. Fallen limbs littered the ground, and many trees had just toppled over completely.

On Friday, with our work finished, we decided to drive the short distance over to Eureka Springs to have a look around. Eureka Springs is one of the more unique cities in the state. Now with a population of around 2,350, Eureka Springs was once a bustling resort city built around the healing powers of the springs found there. The downtown area of the city is lined with fine old Victorian buildings, and the entire city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These buildings have been preserved and it is a great place to visit and take pictures.
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Most of the historic downtown is built along the steep hillsides, and the winding roads through town are curvy and meet at odd angles. In fact there isn't a single intersection there that actually meets at a right angle, and none of the crosswalks are perpendicular. This shot is taken from under the Basin Park Hotel, which was built in 1905.
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I wish I knew more about the city and its history. But there are several signs along the way with little bits of information about the old buildings. This one made me laugh like a 12 year old kid:

And a few more views of the historic downtown:


Eureka Springs is an amazingly diverse little town. It is a refuge for artists, who have established several galleries there. It is also the only city in the state that recognizes domestic partnerships. On the other side of the coin, it also the home of the Great Passion Play, a large outdoor play that follows the last days of Jesus. The seven story Christ of the Ozarks sits on a hill and overlooks the town. It's amazing how diverse this little mountain town is.

It was warm that day (in the 60s), but there was still some ice left in some of the shaded areas. This sidewalk still had about an inch of ice left. It must have been awful to try to get around Eureka Springs during the worst of the ice storm.

I've been up here a few times before. My Aunt doesn't live that far from here, so we would go into Eureka occasionally for dinner while I would visit. I spent a few days here when my college roommate (who is from Eureka Springs) got married. I haven't really explored the town yet. A lot of the roads were still coated in ice so we didn't drive around as much as I would have liked. I'll have to head back up there again soon.

This is the county courthouse, which was built in 1908.
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On the way home, we stopped by the Buffalo National River at Tyler Bend. There was some tree damage at the higher elevations, but there wasn't any damage along the river. The Buffalo was running high, and it made me want to make a camping trip soon. I can't wait to head back up there again.

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