Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Glory B Falls

From the Kings River Overlook we went off to find a few waterfalls, which meant driving through some curvy dirt roads. Luckily I wasn't driving since I would have immediately gotten lost.



We made it to the 16 foot-tall Glory B Falls, which is right by the road and doesn't require any sort of hike to reach. It's a neat little waterfall, and it even had some blooming dogwood trees right by the falls.


And one more shot of Glory B, with the falls reflected in the creek:


Monday, May 29, 2023

Kings River Overlook

Early the next morning, Zack and I left before sunrise and drove to an overlook on the Kings River. The river, which starts out near Boston, flows north for about 90 miles before emptying into Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The overlook, in the McIlroy Madison County WMA, sits along a bluff that towers about 100 feet over the river. We got there early enough that there was still some fog drifting along the river.




Thursday, May 25, 2023

Eureka Springs

My sincere apologies to anyone who still reads this, since I've gotten really behind on posting the last few weeks. I've been distracted by the new Legend of Zelda game, but I forced myself to put down the Nintendo controllers and sit here in front of the computer instead (even though I'm in the middle of the Lightning Temple with Riju!). So here we go instead, continuing on our journey through the Ozarks...

I made my way towards Eureka Springs, only making one more stop at the old Beulah Union Church (built 1921):


And then I finally made it to Eureka Springs, which is one of the most charming and quirky places in the Ozark Mountains. There are over 60 springs here, which people once thought had healing properties. I drove in and found a parking space behind the Carroll County Courthouse, which was built in 1908:


Within a few years of its founding in 1879, Eureka Spring grew into a bustling city and tourist destination. By 1881, the population grew to 4,000 people and made Eureka the fourth largest city in Arkansas.



For a city of its size, Eureka Springs contains an incredibly large number of historic and well-preserved Victorian buildings. In 1970, the entire town of Eureka Springs was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And it been named one of America's Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Sitting in one of the flattest (and therefore most prominent) places in Eureka Springs is the Basin Spring Park, which was set aside as a park in 1890. The fountain here gets water from Basin Spring.


And the view of Basin Park from the nearby Basin Park Hotel, a massive and historic hotel that was built in 1905. Because it was built on a steep hillside, the Basin Park Hotel was listed in Ripley's Believe It Or Not as having a ground floor entrance on each floor of the seven story building.



Eureka Springs is nestled amongst a series of steep hillsides and ravines. The local architecture reflects the topography. Many buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor, and none of the streets in the historic center meet a right angles. In the 1880s, an article described the city as "Everywhere that a human abode could be constructed, houses of every description, tents and shelters, sprang up all over the mountain tops, hanging by corners on steep hillsides, perched upon jutting borders, spanning the gulches, or nestling under crags and in grottoes. It is a most peculiar looking place, presenting an apparent disregard to anything like order and regularity or arrangement, with its two-story streets, its winding thoroughfares and circular pathway.”


Eureka Spring's modern history is just as quirky as its Victorian early days. In the 1960s, a man named Gerald K. Smith moved to Eureka Springs with dreams of building a religious theme park there. Smith was a strange guy (he has been described as both a white supremacist and an antisemite). His plans for a theme park and a life-size replica of Jerusalem never came to fruition, but he did construct a seven-story statue of Jesus called the Christ of the Ozarks. Also he started the Great Passion Play, which has since become the most-attended outdoor play in the country. At the same, Eureka Springs was also becoming a popular destination for hippies, counter-culture followers, artists and LGBTQ+ people. In 2014, Eureka Springs opened its courthouse on a Saturday so that it could be the first city in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Many of the steep staircases that connect the city's streets have been painted with murals, like this one of a rainbow tree and waterfall.


And another rainbow one (the rainbow connection?):


The founders of Eureka Springs were smart enough to make sure the actual springs were preserved, and many of them are part of small parks situated across the city. One of the most interesting is the Grotto Spring, which flows out from under an overhanging rock ledge. In the 1890s, the spring was enclosed behind some ornamental rocks to help protect it during construction of a nearby road. A stone above the entrance is marked with esto perpetua, which declared "the prevailing belief that these healing waters would flow forth forever"




Just down the road is the old Palace Hotel, which was built in 1901. The interestingly-shaped neon sign out front was added in the 1940s, and is said to be the oldest neon sign west of the Mississippi River.


The most famous hotel in Eureka Springs is the Crescent Hotel, which opened in 1886 as a resort for the rich and famous. It's now thought to be one the most haunted hotels in the country. On this visit, the spookiest thing was the huge number of high school kids who looked like they were there for prom.


Across the street from the Crescent (or down the hill) is the St. Elizabeth's Church, a catholic church that was built in 1909. The church's architecture was inspired by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.


On the edge of Eureka Springs, right by the old train station, is this massive abandoned building. This was built in 1893 and was the Citizens’ Electric Company Light and Power Plant, Ice House and Cold Storage Building.


The building had coal boilers that provided electricity for both Eureka Springs and its electric street car lines. And in part of the building you can supposedly still find the ice making equipment that dates back to the early 1900s.



Parked next to the building were these old rail cars:


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

An Old Barn In The Ozarks

From King River Falls, I continued heading north towards Eureka Springs. But I was easily distracted and pulled the car over anytime there was something old or interesting along the way. Like the old Witter-Smith Chapel, which was originally a one-room schoolhouse that also served as a church/community center.


And then further up the road I stopped at this neat old barn...



I couldn't tell if the barn was still in use, but the house next to it did look abandoned.



There was a chicken house in the nearby field, and even from a short distance you could hear the cacophony of all the birds inside.

I hurried back to the car to grab the infrared camera, which really made the grass around the barn pop against some distant storm clouds.










After that I got in the car and finally made my way into Eureka Springs. Pictures from that quirky and photogenic little town coming soon!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Boston and King River Falls

I drove further up into the Ozarks, taking the car down some delightfully curvy mountain roads. Along the way I stopped at this old building, that was sitting behind a thick wall of vines and vegetation.


From there I headed to the small community of Boston, which sits in Madison County. The town is much smaller than its counterpart in Massachusetts (with only a population difference of about 654,770 people). The Arkansas Boston contains a small collection of older buildings. This is the old Boston General Store and post office:


I wasn't able to find much information about the old store, since most of the search results were just stores in Boston, Mass. But I did find an old photograph of the general store, taken in 1958, on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.



Across the road was this old house...




And if you turn onto the dirt road in Boston, you quickly pass by this old building. It was built in 1909 and was probably used as both a school and a church.


That dirt road also leads to the trailhead for the hike to Kings River Falls. The hike is short and easy, and along the way passes by a neat old stone wall that was probably built over a century ago.



There wasn't a lot of water in the creek, so the falls weren't running as much as they have been on some previous visits here over the years. But the falls, which are 10 feet tall, are still a scenic little spot along the creek.


Along the way back to the trailhead, I stopped at this metal footbridge for a few quick pictures...