Allan and I were much "smarter" this time when we visited Eureka Springs. Our first visit [after parking our car] was a visit to the main trolley stop in the center of the village. Here, we gathered information, bought tickets for an open-air tram narrated tour of the Historic District, got our complimentary 2005 Transit Map, and a complimentary transit pass to take us to the tram.
Starting this year, there are 3 means of transportation: the vintage-looking trolleys, the open-air trams [for narrated tours], and the gold "Village Shuttle" fleet for the narrow, twisting streets..
It is imperative to know that Drivers pick up and drop off from the right side of the road only.
Every transit vehicle has a color-coded pennant flying from the front bumper and near the front door to designate the route being served.
Passes are sold at the Downtown Depot, the Transit Office, at least 60 businesses in town, and with exact change only, from the drivers.
Drivers have the "right to refuse transport to a passenger under the influence of alcohol, illegal or dangerous substances or whose behavior or language appears abusive or offensive."
Smoking, eating, & drinking is prohibited on vehicles; no talking to driver as he drives; cannot play an audio devise unless using headset.
There are five different color-coded routes:
Red Route goes through the Historic District
Green Route also serves the Historic Downtown and goes all the way to the Visitor Center.
Blue Route serves the East Side Clockwise from the Downtown Depot
Yellow Route serves the east side counter-clockwise from the Downtown Depot
Purple Route serves the West Side
Limited service usually begins in February and starts again after Thanksgiving through January. Full service starts in March and goes through November.
Adult all-day pass: $4.00
Two-day pass: 6.00
One-ride pass: 2.00
Open-air Tram Historic District Tours:
I'm sure that Allan and I are similar to others who enter Eureka Springs vial Highway 62 and see a Glorious Queen Anne and ask, "What is that beautiful piece of architecture?" Well, we discovered that it is The Queen Anne Mansion and Rose Garden which, fortunately, can be toured.
This tour is wonderful, especially for history and/or architecture buffs such as myself. When you enter this home, you enter a splendid Victorian era . Ironically, this home was not built here in Eureka Springs. Instead, it was built in Cathage, Missouri! Engineer Russell Clay and his crew did what most people thought to be impossible. They disassembled, moved, and rebuilt the mansion from Carthage to Eureka Springs! On the tour, we learned that it took 37 trips in a low boy truck and 3 loads in a covered van to get the house here! Afterward, each piece was numbered, charted, and then reassembled.
Now, this is a 3-story mansion that covers 12,000 square feet. It is built of Carthage Marble, wood, and Warrensburg sandstone. The interior is a sight to behold. Its woodwork includes 7 fireplace mantles and 5 pocket doors that were hand carved by Italian and German woodcarvers. [Oak and Cherry]
Since I love gardens so much, I was also impressed with the rose garden. By the way, there were still roses in October.
We were told, and I could visualize, that many people decide to hold their weddings and/or wedding receptions here. What a perfect location.
The Trolley stops here as it is a designated TROLLEY STOP
aIn 1978, a retired school teacher named Jim Reed asked architect E. Fay Jones to design a place of worship for people who came to Eureka Springs. Jones created a masterpiece, a 48-foot tall wooden and glass chapel with 425 windows. It's beauty takes your breath away.
Two years later, in 1980, the chapel was opened to the public, and since then, over 5 million people have visited this sanctuary in the woods. I'm pleased to know that it has won many architectual awards, and the American Institute of Architects placed the Thorncrown Chapel 4th on its list of the top buildings of the 20th Century!
In 1989, the Thorncrown Worship Center was opened. It was also designed by E. Fay Jones, and it stands as "a sister building to Thorncrown Chapel." It has a 50 foot window and seats over 300 people. That's why so many people use it for weddings.
It is really impressive at night when you see reflections of the crosses in the chapel lights surrounding the building.
It was hard for me to conceive that there are over 6,00 square feet of glass! How appropriate that it sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone. Although it appears so majestic, it is really a very simple design. Because it is located in a spot where you have a marvelous view of the lovely Ozark hills, you somehow [or at least I did] feel closer to God.
Thorncrown Chapel is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is FREE, but donations are accepted. There's plenty of parking. It's located on Highway 62 West, 3 miles outside of Eureka Springs.
I hope that if you decide to visit Thorncrown Chapel, you will be as inspired by its architecture, simplicity, and beauty as I was. I think you will also relish the added bonus of the natural beauty of the Ozark vista.
PLEASE CLICK PHOTO
One of the reasons that Eureka Springs became popular again is because it is home to The Great Passion Play. About 35 years ago, the play became a reality, and since that time, more than 7 million visitors have seen it. The literature says that "it was voted one of the top 100 events in North America"
It is good to know that the seats are comfortable because they have backrests; you are able to see no matter where you are because of the multi-level venue.
It's a cast of hundreds, including live animals.
The Great Passion Play Performance [includes Sacred Arts Center & Bible Museum] Cost:
12 and up: $23.25
New Holy Land Tour [includes Sacred Arts Center & Bible Museum]
12 and up: $15.00
Museum of Earth History
12 and up: $8.50
EXTRA VALUE PACKAGE [Best Price]
It includes Great Passion Play Seating, New Hold Land Tour, Museum of Earth History, Sacred Arts Center, Bible Museum, and DINNER
Passion Play Performance at 8:30 or 7:30, depending on date
Please Click Picture to see Statue more clearly and be sure to look at second photo of statue up close
We first saw Christ of the Ozarks when we took the tram tour and were standing on the balcony of The Crescent Hotel and Spa. That makes one want to see it up close.
Our guide told us that it is one of the most visited attractions in the Ozarks. It's located on the grounds of The Great Passion Play complex, and it overlooks the village of Eureka Springs.
It really is massive [it stands 7-stories high!]. It was completed and dedicated in 1966. It was sculpted by the late Emmet Sullivan who was one of the artisans who sculpted Mount Rushmore.
We were told that there are no poured segments; every inch of the sculpture was built by hand. The foundation is welded into the rock of the mountain and required 340 tons of concrete interlaced with steel.
During construction, they had to completely surround it with scaffolding, and the workers built an elevator up the side of the framework so they could reach the higher segments.
The statue is made of 24 layers of white mortar on a steel frame; it weighs over two million pounds!
The statue's hands [from wrist to fingertip] measures approximately 7 feet, and the arm spread spans 65 feet
You'll be glad to hear that the Christ of the Ozarks is open to the public 24 hours each day of the year, and it is FREE.
Note that autos are limited to a parking area several yards from the grounds so you have to use a gently sloping paved walkway to get close to it.
As you can see from the 2nd photo, it is difficult to capture the entire statue up close unless you have a very complicated and expensive camera.
Unfortunately this trip, I did not get to see much of the small downtown area since I was sick with the stomach flu. So, I decided that I would at least take a quick run downtown and snap a shot or two. There are many different shops and stores that you can buy all kinds of stuff, from fudge, to Arkansas jewelry, to clothes, art galleries, restaurants, etc. It's a neat place to walk around for a couple of hours and just window shop if you like.
It is located about 6 miles west of the downtown off Hwy 62. This site has been a draw for over hundreds of years, and focus came with settlers in about mid 1800's. Before that Indians lived here, and revered the spring that flowed. Since 1993 the garden is for display after many years of people expanding the spring area. It now has 33 acres to view of 93 total, some of flowers, and the rests wooded. The trip can take about 3/4 hour to see and walk through. They have let some thing deteriorate since 1993, and it shows. On the other hand they need money to keep going.
The spring flows 38 million gallons of water a day-a lot-and it flows into White River. They have a small dam and bridge going over the water. A crooked walkway is interesting on the one side. Under the limestone cave ledges is where Osage Indians lived over 10,000 years, and kept out of weather elements. Many artifacts were found here. In 1903 Frank Massiman bought 3800 acres for $1 per acre, and eventually in 1946 they were shipping "curative" waters out of the springs to cities. Open 9-5 mid March to mid November and price is $7.25
If you have kids, they will love this cave adventure. It lasts only about 1 hour, but they can get the idea of what cave exploring can be. You are given earphones and listen to a guided tour of the cave, it's history, etc (note, some of the commentary is a little cheesy, but it's made for kids, so what do you expect!) Afterwards, there is a small shop that sells all kinds of trinkets and wares, as well as a free button doll museum that you can look at. Cost is $4.25 for adults, children $3.25 and under 3 free
You are deep in the Bible Belt of the USA when you visit Arkansas! I do not know the time frame, but the town puts on a Passion Play about the life of Christ. This giant statue of Christ is reminiscent of the one in Rio (albeit, not nearly as large!) that overlooks the small town of Eureka Springs. They also have other attractions, such as a New Holy Land Tour, Sacred Arts Center, Bible Museum, a restaurant and much more. The statue itself is free and quite impressive with the fantastic colors of the surrounding countryside.
Here is the official description from the website below of this magnificent building:
You walk down a wooded trail, move around a curve and there stands a majestic glass chapel- so beautiful- so close to God. Welcome to Thorncrown Chapel.
Thorncrown was the dream of retired school teacher, Jim Reed. In 1978 Jim enlisted the help of renowned architect E. Fay Jones to design a place of worship for the visitors to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The result was a forty-eight foot tall wooden structure with 425 windows.
Since the chapel opened in 1980, over four million people have visited this woodland sanctuary. It has won numerous architectural awards such as the American Institute of Architecture's Design of the Year Award for 1981 and the American Institute of Architecture's Design of the Decade Award for the 1980's. Recently, members of the American Institute of Architects placed Thorncrown Chapel fourth on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century.
Adjacent to the Queen Anne Mansion is the so-called Queen Anne Wings, a similar Victorian-era structure devoted to live, exotic birds in extraordinary confines. The entire mansion is full of birds, a luxurious aviary designed to share with the public every stage of a bird's life.
The present Flat Iron Building is the third to occupy this prominent address in downtown Eureka Springs. The first two were consumed by fire during the Victorian age. Apparently the bad luck attending earlier constructions dissuaded a third try until the 1980s. Probably the most photographed building in town and by far the most memorable, this handsome but short hotel is easily recognized as a neat copy of its namesake in Manhattan.
This temple was opened in 1980 and over 5 million have come to visit and/or seek peace. It is not denominational, but is religious based in spirit. There are 425 windows and 6,000 square feet of glass. All the timber frames are cross supported against each other so stronger methods were not needed. Jim Reed and his wife made this happen all on their own in order to give peace to others. There is also a worship center on the grounds, just about as impressive, hanging off the cliff. E. Fay Jones designed this and he also did a similar one at Garvin Gardens in Hot Springs. Services are 9 and 11 on Sundays, and the chapel holds around 300. Tours are open 9-5 daily and donations should be standard to help in the support.
This is on Main Street about 1 mile out of town. It has many old cars and engines there. Rides are 10-4 daily and cost is $12 for the 4 1/2 miles, or dinner trip is $36-38 and leaves at 5PM. This is the line that brought people to the springs since 1883. The trains are vintage from 1890's and the locomotive pulling the cars is from 1940. Runs are every 1 1/2 hours.
This has a lot of history and still is in use today. Build rock solid because it is all rock limestone. The inside has not changed since construction in 1912 with a $12,000 donation. This is one of 2,000+ he helped build in the US with his money. Senator Rosewater who came form Hungary a few years earlier lobbied for the building of this library. He succeeded