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City of El Dorado Springs Town History

  Historic Spring Water

The City of El Dorado Springs was founded because of a spring thought to have medicinal value.  The Osage Indians had known of the healing powers of the spring.  They had for some time brought their sick and wounded to the spring.

Mr. Joshua Hightower, a Vernon County farmer, was taking his wife, Carmelia, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas due to his wife’s poor health.  The Hightowers and their driver stopped at this spring for the night.  They intended to stay only a night or two on their long journey.  As they drank from the spring, Mrs. Hightower began to feel better.  They stayed at the spring for a total of twelve days.  Mrs. Hightower’s health was so improved, they returned home to their farm.

After they returned home, word of the healing power of the spring quickly spread.  News of the healing waters was spread by word of mouth and newspaper accounts.  Soon people were flocking to the spring and camping there to benefit from the water’s restorative healing powers.

The land was owned by brothers N. H. and W. P. Cruce.  All the attention surrounding the spring did not escape their attention.  The Cruce’s had been using the land as pasture for cattle grazing.  They lived several miles to the northeast of the spring.  The Cruce Brothers heard of the excitement surrounding the recovery of Mrs. Hightower.  When they arrived, they found hundreds of people camped around and using the spring.

The Cruce Brothers realized that this spring would be an excellent focal point for the formation of a town.      The brothers set the spring aside with several acres of land around it as a park in the heart of the downtown.  The rest of the downtown was surveyed into streets and lots.  The lots were priced from $10 to $600 each.    The incorporation date for the town was July 20, 1881.

The first home in El Dorado Springs was built by the Hightowers on August 10, 1881.   It did not take long before El Dorado Springs was a thriving community.  The 1900 census shows a population of 2,137. The community grew quickly because of the spring water.  People came from many miles to drink the water and improve their health. Spas and bathhouses flourished.  Water was also shipped all over the world in large demijohns. Other springs were found and marketed in town.  The advances made in the field of medicine helped contribute to the decline of the mineral water industry.

Below you will see an analysis of the spring water. It is not dated, but the analysis was probably done around 1900. The analysis was done at Missouri State University which is now known as University of Missouri. The water analysis was done in order to prove the healing powers of the spring water. Different wells in town had slightly different concentrations of these different compounds. Each well owner would advertise their water was best suited for curing a number of different ailments. This analysis was for the spring water in the park.


Water Quality Report - Old

135 W. Spring Street, El Dorado Springs, MO 64744 Phone: 417-876-2521 Fax: 417-876-4320
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