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Once Upon a Time. . .A Sioux Princess suffered from an eye affliction which had taken away her sight. The young girl bathed her eyes in the waters of Basin Spring, and within a short time her eyesight was fully restored. Her people were overjoyed, and they told the story far and wide until it reached the ears of the first white men exploring the region.

It is said that Eureka Springs was founded on sacred ground. So venerated were the waters of Eureka, warring tribes could not fight at the springs. For hundreds of years, the area now known as Basin Spring provided a peaceful gathering place for visiting tribes.

The first white settler to "discover" the healing springs is reputed to be Dr. Alvah Jackson, who used the healing waters to cure his son of an eye ailment in 1856.The waters were used at "Dr. Jackson's Cave Hospital" to care for combatants during the Civil War and, following the war, Dr. Jackson set up a brisk business selling "Dr. Jackson's Eye Water."

Eureka's miraculous cures remained a local marvel until 1879 when the doctor's friend and hunting companion Judge J.B. Saunders was cured of a crippling disease by a visit to Basin Spring. The Judge subsequently put his considerable influence behind promoting the Springs to friends and family throughout the state.

Mistic Spring

Photos from the late 1800's depict small crowds gathered at the springs partaking of the "liquid cure" from jugs, tin cups and ladles. A bottling operation was quickly set up to capitalize on this new cure and the Ozarka Water label, now bottled by the Perrier Group, can trace its company history to early Eureka Springs entrepreneurs.

The Ozarka Water Girl

Later, Victorian citizens decked in their finery boarded railcars destined for Eureka Springs. Local trolleys headed for the early bath houses and soon the town became a magnet for the spa treatment that continues to this day.

Many miraculous cures were reported in newspaper testimonials of the era. Eureka's Springs were credited with amazing feats -- from curing dreaded disease, to magnetizing all metal that passed through the stream of "Magnetic Spring."

The Palace Bath House - 1905

Eureka's Springs were never tested by modern methods, but many historians agree on their legitimate healing power. Perhaps it was the water. Perhaps it was the welcoming climate and the fresh mountain air. Perhaps the hopeful beliefs of the afflicted inspired cures by faith alone.

Modern-day mystics say Eureka Springs is an Earth "Vortex," a rare and powerful planetary center where body, mind and spirit are aligned. Even the most practical folks often say they were drawn to Eureka Springs by an unspoken, inner knowledge. Some come for a visit, some stay for a lifetime; all say that they knew Eureka Springs was where they ought to be.

We have no rational explanation for the mysterious powers in these Ozark hills. We can only offer the evidence of centuries. The power that drew our ancient ancestors lives on. Eureka Springs has long been a place of awe and wonder, a place where legends are born.

Come and experience the Eureka Mystique for yourself. Be healed, be renewed, become a part of the legend. This is where you ought to be.