Discovering Eureka! | A Blog Series
Updated: May 27
A Blog Series
Development and Architecture
Although four major fires prior to the 1890s, in Eureka Springs, destroyed many of the early frame structures that had been hastily constructed, there are three extant houses in the Eureka Springs Historic District dating from the 1870s. Built in 1878, the house at 10 Magnolia is located on a steep hillside overlooking a deep ravine. This two-story frame house features little ornamentation in its simple design. The Eichor House at 14 Breeding was built in 1879 and is the district's oldest extant Second Empire style. The third building remaining from the 1870s is located at 124 Spring Street. Although the house was 'built in 1874 and is thought to be the oldest extant building in the district, it has been extensively altered and does not reflect its original historic appearance.
This 1874 house has seen several changes and additions until it's present condition as the home of one of Eureka's finest dining restaurant & lodging establishment "Rogue's Manor".
Located at 124 Spring St. this establishment features 4 main dining areas, a bar, 2 kitchens, 3 nightly rental units and a manager's quarters, 2 separate outdoor areas, windowed views of Hardy Springs, and beautiful structural details throughout.
The 1880s in Eureka Springs were marked by several disastrous fires that destroyed most of the city's wooden buildings. Seventy-two buildings constructed in the 1880s remain in the historic district. Largely as a result of the efforts of the Eureka Springs Improvement Company, formed in 1882 for the purpose of improving the living environment of Eureka Springs, the buildings constructed in this era were substantial. It was during this period that most of the city's infrastructure, including stone walks and walls, were put into place, providing more stability to the hillsides. Many of the buildings remaining from the 1880s are of stone construction and the frame buildings are almost all situated on sturdy stone foundations.
Representing the overall character of the Eureka Springs Historic District, the 190 houses and buildings constructed in the 1890s feature characteristics of high styles of the Victorian era, Second Empire, Italianate, Romanesque and Queen Anne. The influence of the Queen Anne and Second Empire styles is seen mostly on houses in the district, while the architecture of the historic commercial buildings heavily incorporates details of the Italianate and Romanesque styles into their designs.
Styles of Architecture in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The architecture of the Eureka Springs Historic District is diverse, featuring variations of over twenty styles that were popular from the 1870s through the 1960s. The predominant character of the city's built environment is Victorian, representing the peak of its growth from 1880 to 1910. Although many of the buildings are classified as Plain Traditional, most of these have Victorian detailing.
Pattern books of this period popularized the irregular form of domestic dwelling rather than the traditional 'box' form. Mass production made it possible for retailers to offer complex decorative components of house design, as well as key features such as roof treatments, doors, and windows to a much wider market rather than only wealthy households.
Expansion of the railroad into Eureka Springs ensured that these components could be transported to sites across America, at relatively Tow cost, which is how they arrived here. A few houses in the district are thought to have been pre-cut and shipped to Eureka Springs by railroad, then constructed by local carpenters.
There was a great deal of design influence from cities to the north of Arkansas in the buildings constructed in Eureka Springs. For example, Chicago resident and Vice President of the Illinois Trust and Saving Bank, W, H. Reid hired noted architect Theodore C. Link to design a summer home in Eureka Springs. Link was a German architect who was noted for his design of Union Station in St. Louis and the Mississippi State House. Constructed in 1899, the house at 38 Prospect, originally named "Avarana" is an uncharacteristically early version of the stately Colonial Revival style,
Second Empire was a dominant architectural style for American houses constructed between 1860 and 1880. Characterized by its distinctive mansard roof, the Second Empire style often features decorative patterns of color or texture in the roofing materials. Iron cresting above the upper cornice is common. Towers were often a feature of Second Empire houses. The boxy roofline was considered highly functional because it permitted a fill upper story of usable attic space.
The most elaborate of the Second Empire style houses in Eureka Springs is Penn Castle at 36 Eureka Street. This house features many of the decorative elements typical of the Second Empire style including color in use of materials such as slate and stone, elaborate cornice with brackets, and hooded dormer windows. Constructed of stone block, Penn Castle is distinguished by a distinctive two-story tower on the northeast comer with metal cresting atop its steep roof. Slate covers the mansard roof which features hooded arched dormer windows on the tower. The Sacred Heart Parish Rectory at 28 Fairmount features a tall, hipped roof with gable-roof dormers a prominent center bay, but is devoid of other Second Empire decorative element
Most of the Italianate style buildings still standing in the Eureka Springs Historic District are two-story masonry Commercial structures along Spring Street. These buildings are commercial interpretations of the style featuring the Italianate arched windows and paired cornice brackets. Here is an example of an Italianate style home, painted in the warm earth tones typical of the period, this Italianate is small and located in Michigan.
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 11th century, this later date being the most commonly held. In the 12th century it developed into the Gothic Style, marked by pointed arches. Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman Architecture.
The limestone Carroll County Courthouse, a Romanesque Revival structure, is part of the Eureka Springs Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Characterized by towers or turrets, irregular shaped steeply pitched roofs, dominant front-facing gable, textured shingles or other devices to avoid a smooth-wall appearance, the Queen Anne style house also features extensive one-story porches highlighting the asymmetry of the front of the house. Thirty-four houses in the district are considered excellent examples of "high style" Queen Anne architecture. Built in the prime of Eureka Springs, these Queen Anne style houses were generously decorated with the ornamental elements of the style. Most of the Queen Anne style houses in Eureka Springs are frame and utilize color as a decorative element.
One of the district's oldest two-story Queen Anne style house is located at 211 Spring. The house was built for former Arkansas Governor Powell Clayton in 1881 and features a tall corner tower, ornate spindle work, cut-away gable corners and other wood ornament.
The Judge Humphrey House at 253 Spring Street features a prominent three-story corner tower, decorative barge board and spindle work.
Typical of the Queen Anne style, the house has a steep-pitched hipped roof with steep gable bays. The one-story, hipped roof, wrap-around front porch is highlighted with a steep gable on the corner with an elliptical opening of wood with turned posts and spindles. The gable end of this porch feature is ornamented with waffle-patterned shingles. Cut-away bays with barge board highlight the front facing bay of the house.
Check back here for more information as we continue this journey Discovering Eureka. There is a lot more to review on development, architecture and the styles of the homes here in Eureka Springs, AR.
Hope you're enjoying this blog series entitled, Discovering Eureka.
Discovering Eureka is a series of chapters in a blog series where we seek to discover the unique things that make up Eureka Springs. There is so much to see, experience and explore here in Eureka Springs and in this series we will take time to give you the local perspective on what to do, where to go, what to see and how did this become something significant for our town. Take a moment to check out the different chapters in this blog series on www.iloveureka.com