The other day, while walking through Basin Spring Park, I observed some visitors discussing the whereabouts of our beloved Humpty Dumpty with some local Eureka Springs High School teenagers and it broke my heart to hear one of the kiddos say to them "Covid-19 killed Humpty Dumpty!"
In a way, it is true. Since his disappearance in Summer 2021, when Covid-19 protocols and precautions were still active, Eureka Springs' very own Humpty Dumpty is no more and lots of visitors have asked and continue to ask, "so, what happened?"
Well, alleged to have suffered a termite infestation, our beloved Humpty, who sat perched upon a wall on Spring Street (next to Basin Park) has gone to the Dumpty.
Sad but true. About 18 months ago, in a sudden flash, our beloved, iconic, town-greeter no longer presides over his Spring Street wall.
Everyone knows the tale, it’s one of those classics that we've all grown up with generation after generation. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, had a great fall, and none of the king’s men (or their horses) could put him back together again.
Here in Eureka Springs, Spring Street twists, curves, and meanders along a high bluff. At every turn it offers something worth taking in. For years, our half-ton Humpty Dumpty sculpture sat atop a limestone wall making people stop, smile, and laugh and serving as a reminder of the street's eccentricity. Spring Street's quirky aura continues today, but Humpty Dumpty has left this particular wall for good.
Termites made him sick, the story goes, but from the look of those solid chunks of scrambled Humpty, it was certainly a sight to see his choppy exit, in pieces, along with the hearts of passersby. My innate joy-spotting demeanor could not help but see past the scrambled parts strewn across the wall as I took in the irony of the metal Mariachi's serenading him off to his final resting place on the sunnier side.
RIP Humpty Dumpty.
A little history about this . . . many believe that the original Humpty Dumpty wasn’t an egg at all. He was most likely a cannon during the English Civil War!
According to a number of military historians from many years before Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel, Through the Looking-Glass, Humpty Dumpty was the name of a cannon used by the Royalists during the English Civil War.
The war raged from 1642 to 1649, and in June of 1648, Humpty Dumpty was stationed on the walls of Colchester. It was one of several cannons erected to try and keep Parliament’s army from taking the city during this conflict. The next month, however, the Parliamentary forces heavily damaged the walls that were beneath Humpty Dumpty with their own artillery. This was when Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and broke into pieces.
The Royalists, or Cavaliers, were very much the king’s men, fighting in support of King Charles I — who would go on to lose the war paving the way for Oliver Cromwell’s brief stint.
War cannons bring destruction and death, but this sentient egg-person brought joy, laughter and whimsy to our eccentric corner of the world and for that he continues to be very missed every day.
With so much love from so many locals and visitors, there's a constant buzz about town that there WILL be another Humpty Dumpty perched on a wall (a different wall) one day. I am hopeful that tall tale is true but, to my knowledge, no one around town knows much about the efforts stirring around that possibility.
Our sincere thanks to Artist Robert R. Norman, who's work is wonderfully displayed at STUDIO 34 along with that of studio owner Lorrie Dale and all the artists at that studio.
Robert not only has Giclée prints of his Humpty homage which is printed with pigment inks on cotton paper, he has t-shirts and other memorabilia for purchase. I bought (and absolutely adore) my t-shirt of our former, local eggspert meditating on the wall before his final fall.
We DO love you Humpty Dumpty and we look forward to welcoming you back to another wonderful wall whenever your joyful soul wanders back into our world!
The Eureka Springs High School students that were interacting with town visitors clearly illustrate that this isn't something we can get "over easy."
STUDIO 34 is located at 34 N. Main St. Eureka Springs, AR 72632
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