A Brief History of Preservation in Eureka Springs
On March 17, 1966, the people of Eureka Springs voted on and passed Ordinance 871, which created a planning commission. That Commission which was chaired by Dr. Robert Etherington, entered into an urban planning contract with the University of Arkansas on October 27, 1967. On September 16, 1968, this Commission voted to create a Historic District. On October 31, members of the Arkansas Review Committee from the State History Commission visited Eureka Springs. The City was placed in the National Historic Register on December 18, 1970.
The Eureka Springs Preservation Society was founded in 1978 and incorporated as a not for profit organization July 30, 1979 with the goal of preserving the natural and architectural beauty of Eureka Springs. Much of Eureka Springs has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On February 21, 1979 the Eureka Springs Preservation Society was awarded a grant in the amount of $7,870 to conduct a comprehensive survey of all structures within the Eureka Springs Historic District. At that time there were over 1000 buildings in this district as defined by the city limits with only 1700 permanent residents, making Eureka Springs one of the largest Historical Districts, while being one of the smallest populated districts. All structures in the city limits were surveyed and photographed.
At the turn of the century, grand old homes and tiny cottages lined the streets and paths of Eureka Springs. Limestone walls allowed the hills to hold houses whose storeys went up or down the slopes as geography demanded. Flowing springs and pocket parks were found throughout the town, offering resting places and “healing waters” to visitors.
Today these grand and tiny homes still line our streets and paths, defying gravity with the same stone walls. Parks around the cool springs still provide respite to our visitors.
The preservation of our natural and architectural legacies is an integral part of life in Eureka Springs. Now, when a building in the Historic District undergoes the painstaking process of restoration or renovation, it is done with an aim toward historical accuracy and harmony.
As you visit Eureka Springs time after time, you notice each year a few more delightful old buildings emerge from layers of paint or siding to reveal the details and proportions of an elegant past. Most of this work is done by individual owners with local labor and materials. Renovation is a time-consuming, expensive process. The vintage buildings which make Eureka Springs such a unique place are all labors of love, of which their owners are justly proud.