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Northwest Eureka Springs
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Historic Houses of Eureka Springs, Part 1


My son has a favorite phrase he uses when faced with repetition. It doesn’t matter if he’s seeing the same cartoon for the second time, two fire trucks in a row during a car ride or the same song repeating on the radio, his response is endearingly cranky.

“Not again!” he’ll exclaim, with his arms crossed across his chest.

That’s the phrase I assume people mutter when I write or talk about Eureka Springs. It’s true, my obsession with Eureka Springs dates back to age four when I pressed my nose against the glass of a Spring Street trolley and shouted “wow” over and over as we drove down Spring Street. If kid-me had been given a choice between Disneyworld and Eureka Springs, I would have chosen my favorite mountain town without blinking.

There is a seemingly endless supply of “wow” topics when it comes to the town that water built, not the least of which is its historic houses. I’ve clocked many miles on cracked sidewalks admiring the Victorian homes, memorizing gingerbread patterns, and imagining the paint colors I would choose if ever lucky enough to live in one. I tip my hat to the residents of these streets because they no doubt deal with thousands of looky-loos like me.

Today we will conduct a virtual sidewalk “looky-loo” of our own at some of Eureka’s grand houses while we explore a few of their histories and backstories.

Elmwood House, 10 Spring St

Elmwood House is one of the oldest structures in Eureka Springs. This three-story building was constructed in 1883, only four years after the city of Eureka Springs was founded. It also survived the great fire of 1888. Originally built as a private residence for Ellar Elwood, it’s also been known as Elwood Apartments and now Elmwood Historic Inn. You can discover more about this Inn here.

Rosalie House, 282 Spring Street

One of the city’s most remarkable homes, The Rosalie, was originally known as Hill House. This stunning home features a combination of Eastlake and Steamboat Gothic styles and is adorned with intricate gingerbread details reminiscent of cake icing. Its builder, JW Hill, started out as a farm hand and carriage driver before settling in Eureka Springs, where he became a successful entrepreneur. He owned a successful livery business and also attained the local telephone franchise, making Eureka one of the first cities in the US to have a phone company. The home was later renamed The Rosalie by subsequent owners, in honor of The Rosalie Mansion in Natchez, Mississippi. Its historical beauty has been recognized by Southern Living and Architectural Digest.

To find out more, click here.

Eastview Cottage, 142 Spring Street

Eastview Cottage, one of the Cliff Cottages, still stands proudly above Spring Street after nearly 150 years, making it one of the oldest structures in Eureka Springs. Built around 1881, this home appears to defy gravity with its perch on the cliff. The Whitcomb family, who also owned neighboring Whitcomb Cottage, eventually acquired Eastview. But it was Katherine Wheelock, an artist and teacher at Crescent College, who left her mark on the cottage, calling it home for almost 40 years.

Penn’s Castle, 36 Eureka Street

Major William Evander Penn, a famous Southern Baptist preacher, built this magnificent home as his retirement residence in Eureka Springs. Long before Billy Graham, Penn traveled the world, spreading the gospel to thousands. He started with a modest cottage and gradually expanded it to create this European-inspired castle with beautiful stained-glass windows. The home’s unique features and historical significance have garnered national attention, and it was even featured on HTGV.

McLaughlin House, 251 Spring Street

The McLaughlin family owned a grocery and meat market located in what is now an extension of the Carnegie Library, known as the McLaughlin Block. Their family home on Spring Street, now painted a cheerful light yellow, exudes a warmth and care that have lasted throughout the years. As I took this photograph, I could hear the bells chiming from St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church just up the hill. It’s no wonder anyone would love living in this lovely abode. Adding to the family’s impressive history, Margaret McLaughlin served as Chief Nurse Officer and Assistant Surgeon General in the late 1960s.

The Manse, 212 Spring Street

This warm yellow house known as “The Manse” sits across from the Presbyterian church and boasts a yard full of grape hyacinth flowers every spring. The Folk Victorian-style home is a beautiful example of Eureka Springs architecture. One can’t help but imagine the minister who once lived there, planning the same grape hyacinths that now propagate the yard. The porch ceiling painted haint blue adds to the charm of the home. While it may not be the largest home on Spring Street, “The Manse” is a beloved and quaint landmark.

Eureka Springs’s historic homes have a charm and magic like no other town I’ve ever visited.

There’s a unique charm and magic to the historic houses of Eureka Springs that I haven’t experienced in any other town. While some of these homes have well-documented histories, others have faded into the blur of time. But to me, as I wander the streets of Eureka, they are all precious. Keep an eye out for Part 2, coming soon!

Check out other historic homes in Arkansas!

Historic Homes of Arkansas: Old Conway
Historic Homes of Jonesboro
Historic Homes of Searcy


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Arkansas Women Bloggers member Elizabeth Harrell is a native Arkansan, author, and freelance writer. Her book, My (not so) Storybook Life, was published in 2011. Her blog projects have been featured in At Home Arkansas, Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, and Better Homes and Gardens. Visit her at https://elizabeth-harrell.com .

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