• John-Michael Scurio

Discovering Eureka!

A Blog Series



Eureka Springs is a historic city in Northwest Arkansas that sits nestled in the Ozark Mountains in Carroll County, USA. Eureka is a Greek word that means "I have found it!"

The population is approx. 2500 and The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Eureka Springs as one of America's Distinctive Destinations and highlights Eureka as a premiere wedding destination.


Spiritual enlightenment is a great reason for a road trip this summer (as if any reason were needed). According to the Huffington post, Eureka Springs, AR is one of the holiest places in America. Read about other holiest places here.

Twelve historic church buildings are located in the Eureka Springs Historic District. A wide variety of different stylistic influence is seen in these buildings.


The Methodist Episcopal Church at 17 Elk is a simple frame building with centered steeple. Constructed in 1880, this church is the oldest in the historic district. The first home of the Christian Science Church in Eureka Springs was in the small one-story log building with flared hipped roof, built in 1898. Located at 5 Washington, the building is no longer used as a church.


In 1914 the congregation moved to a new location at 68 W. Mountain. This building is noted by is round-arched roofs and corner tower with crenellated roof.


Other stylistic details seen on the historic churches in Eureka Springs include comer towers, such as found on the limestone First Presbyterian Church at 209 Spring, constructed in 1886. Steep cross gables feature a single tall stained glass window with Gothic arched top. 'She Gothic arch is repeated in the entry openings on the comer tower and its narrow second story windows.


The First United Methodist Church at 160 Spring, constructed in 1900, is similar to the Presbyterian Church in its construction of local limestone. Built a year later, the stone church at 80 W. Mountain features a steep hipped roof with steep gable wall dormers. Windows and doors on this church building are Gothic arched.


The district's lone example of Byzantine architecture is St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church at 30 Crescent. Situated just below the Crescent Hotel, the domed portion of the building was built by Richard Kerens in memory of his mother in 1906 and was originally called Kerens Memorial Chapel. The church was designed by architect George Helmuth to be similar in appearance to St. Sophia's Church in Istanbul, Turkey.


A 1907 article in the Arkansas Traveler reported that the cost of site preparations on the steep hillside was placed at $30,000-$40,000.'" two-story gable roof addition to the building was made in 1909, also designed by George Helmuth. A separate forty-foot bell tower was also added to the site, through which entrance to the church grounds was accessed.


The First Baptist Perm Memorial Church at the comer of Spring and Mountain Streets was built in 1912. The Classical Revival style building features a cross gable roof with large dome. The elegant building was constructed with money left to the congregation by William Evander Penn, an attorney turned evangelist and songawriter who moved to Eureka Springs in the 1880s.

Nestled in a woodland setting, Thorncrown Chapel rises forty-eight feet into the Ozark sky.


This magnificent wooden structure contains 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. It sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone, making it blend perfectly with its setting. The chapel's simple design and majestic beauty combine to make it what critics have called "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times."


Since the chapel opened in 1980, over six million people have visited this woodland sanctuary. Designed by renowned architect E. Fay Jones, Thorncrown has won numerous architectural awards such as the American Institute of Architects’ Design of the Year Award for 1981 and AIA’s prestigious 25 Year Award. Recently, members of the American Institute of Architects placed Thorncrown Chapel fourth on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century.


Thorncrown Chapel is located on Highway 62 West just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted. We have ample parking for buses and RVs. So, while in the Ozarks, stop by what many have called one of the most beautiful and inspiring chapels in the world.













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