The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa has a rich and fascinating history. Read about some of the earliest accounts from these stories taken from the Eureka Springs Times Echo, one of Eureka Springs' early newspapers which is still in existence today and some fascinating information on Dr. Norman Baker, one time owner of the Crescent Hotel who ran a "Cancer Hospital" in his "Castle in the Air".
Eureka Springs Times Echo - May 20, 1886
It was two years ago that Powell Clayton and his associates chose the site of the new Crescent Hotel.. twenty seven acres at the north end of West mountain, a majestic location overlooking the valley. The commissioning of Isaac Taylor as architect was announced and construction commenced.
Seldom has such a formidable construction undertaking been accomplished with such efficiency. Special wagons were constructed to transport the huge pieces of magnesium limestone from the quarry site on the White River near Beaver. Due to the density of this special stone, and the precision necessary in cutting and fitting, a group of specialist from Ireland was brought here to assist and advise in construction.
Mr. O'Shawnessey, the spokesman and leader of the imported group, was interviewed by this reporter before his return to Ireland. We recall that "Throughout the many years of his stoneworking, he has never encountered a stone with such density and quality as the White River Limestone". He predicts it will become a popular building stone in the future and further stated that because of its unique characteristics, the eighteen inch thick walls of the Crescent, fitted without the use of mortar, would withstand the destructive forces of time and retain its original beauty for many years to come.
The magnificent structure was then furnished in the most exquisite manner. It is lighted with Edison lamps, furnished with electric bells, heated with steam and open grates, has a hydraulic elevator, and is truly a showplace of today's conveniences.
Eureka Springs Times Echo - May 20, 1886
With the opening of the grandiose Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs entered a new and exciting era. Notables from afar are arriving in our fair city and soon many others will follow.
The Crescent, built by the Eureka Springs Improvement Company and The Frisco Railroad is America's most luxurious resort hotel. Featuring large airy rooms, comfortably furnished, the Crescent Hotel offers the visiting vacationer opulence unmatched in convenience and service.
Tonight's gala ball will find in attendance many of the leaders in business and society. As guest of honor, the Honorable James G. Blaine, the Republican presidential nominee, will attend with his charming wife Laura. The very popular Harry Barton and his orchestra will play for tonight's festivities.
In the Grand Ballroom of the new Crescent, the opening banquet for the 400 celebrants will be followed by a dedication ceremony where the honorable Mr. Blaine will be the guest speaker. His introduction by Mr. Powell Clayton will follow an invocation by Reverend McElwee.
"For the first 15 years after its grand opening, The Crescent Hotel was operated by The Eureka Springs Improvement Company as an exclusive year-round resort hotel catering to the carriage set. During those Victorian Years, the years of grandeur, the gracious southern hospitality of the Crescent Hotel became well known."
"A stable with a hundred sleek-coated horses was provided for the guests' riding pleasure on early morning canters over the trails. Often as many as 75 riders could be seen making their way along some remote mountain trail - the ladies in their long skirts, hats and veils, mounted fashionably on sidesaddles while the gentlemen were gallantly astride mounts with English saddles."
"Visitors could enjoy tea dances during the afternoon and dance parties each evening with music provided with an in-house orchestra maintained by the hotel. Other forms of recreating available to the guest included picnics, hiking, streetcar rides, and the ever-popular Tallyho rides to Sanitarium Lake or some other attraction locale. The Tally Ho was a large open coach drawn by teams of four, six or eight horses.
Send me an E-Mail