The Eureka Springs Tram Tour is the best way to experience this beautiful city. Whether you are planning to take this tour on your first time to the area or you've been a hundred times, you will learn something new and see some beautiful places. The tour takes you past hundreds of Victorian homes with breathtaking architectural design, through the historic downtown, and past some of the most beautiful natural landscapes that you can find in Arkansas!
In total, the tour lasts approximately 90 minutes so you can easily fit this into any schedule. While on the tram, a knowledgeable guide will be telling you the history of the city and pointing out specific sights along the way. All of the guides are either natives of Eureka Springs or have lived in the area for most of their lives. Therefore, these people know their stuff! They'll tell you about legends, ghost stories, and share some of their own experiences growing up in the area. You will also be able to get out and explore at two places during the tour. The tram stops at both the Crescent Hotel and Grotto Spring.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa
This hotel has some of the richest history that you will encounter in this region of the United States. The Crescent Hotel opened its doors on May 20, 1886 and was America's most luxurious resort at the time. It was huge, had comfortable rooms with brand new amenities, and amazing unbeatable service. It's hard to imagine, but it cost $249,000 to build at that time. This success was short-lived and fell quickly and was shut down. In 1908, it was opened again as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women but was shut down in 1924. Shortly after, it was opened again as a junior college in 1930, closed after four years, and then opened again as a hotel for summer use.
The real, dark history begins after 1937. This is the year that Norman Baker buys the hotel and turns it into a hospital and health resort. Baker was a millionaire and thought that he had the cure to many ailments even though he had zero medical training. His "career" began in Iowa where he scammed his way into wealth, "curing" people along the way. He branded himself as a doctor who figured out the cure for cancer and this attracted many people to this Arkansas hospital. He told people one of the secrets was the area's natural spring water (which is how the city got its start in the first place - both places were founded on the water) and they believed that he would help them. Of course, he didn't. Many people died in this hotel due to the lack of real treatment and some of those people still wander the halls to this day. After Baker's arrest, the building was shut down once again and saw a few new owners. The hotel saw a hint of luck when the current owner(s) bought the hotel for 1.3 million. It saw a six-year renovation and in 2016, it was was put on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it is a hotel and spa that welcomes people from around the country!
This spring is one of over 60 springs that are located within the town's city limits. It is believed that the waters of these springs could heal people of any ailment. This specific spring has been well-known since the late 1800s and has been popular ever since. There are stairs that go down into the cave-like tunnel which the spring is in. It's a beautiful and unique area, unlike anything you'll see anywhere else!