Bath House Gulch
I have been fascinated with the wooden bridges that once abounded throughout Eureka Springs during its earliest days. There are a few that still exist and I wonder how long they will last before tumbling or being forever lost to decay as was the one pictured below which was simply known as the Foot Bridge -- that connected Mountain Street with Spring Street (Rice Street was the name of that portion between Sweet Spring and Harding Spring perhaps until 1888 when the street was raised and graded).
Scene showing Foot Bridge with Pasenger Traffic as it stretched from Mountain Street to Spring (Rice) Street. There was a sheltered Arcade near the landing perhaps selling beverages and souvenirs. There was a stairway leading up to the street that fronted on the dwelling with the same roof style as being the current right most side of the Rogue's Manor.
The wooden structure appears rather new and was probably the major access to reach Sweet and Harding springs.
In this photo can be seen many people fronting the Sweet Spring area side of the roadway and others on the stairs leading down into the Gulch.
In this photo, the Spring side of the Foot Bridge is shown stretching across the Gulch to Mountain Street with people viewing the narrow stream below containing the overflow from Sweet Spring. The Arcade counter contains what appears as product samples. On the Mountain Street side can be seen many of the original wooden structures that were later to succumb to several fires in downtown Eureka Springs.
The above 1886 Sanborn Map shows the Foot Bridge at left reaching across the Gulch from Mountain to Rice Street, showing the Arcade strcture and the steps leading up to the road bed in front of the dwelling which is part of the Rogue's Manor. Also are shown the Nutall Bath House at Bottom on Mountain Street the Sweet Spring Bath House down in the Hollow alongside the Sweet Spring ditch, as well as the Gault Bath House at right which would have been across current day Center Street. Also shown is the American Bath House Hotel up at Rice (Spring) Street. Clearly seen is a wooden stairway reaching between the American and Sweet Spring bath houses.
Again, the 1886 Sanborn Map showing the Gulch, Foot Bridge, and four bath houses superimposed with a current map of the area.
Above writings describing the Foot Bridge were extracted from two books written by Nellie Mills.
Note: the cleared land was free of trees and undergrowth shrubs and thickets.
The Foot Bridge, Sweet Spring Bath House and Nutall Bath House are not seen from this vantage point.
Gault's Bath House is seen with heavy traffic in photo at right.
The 1892 Sanborn Map above discloses the continued existence of the Foot Bridge which shows an enlargement to the Aracade shop area at its Spring Street landing. The structure right of the Rogue's Manor core is shown as the Spruill Hotel across from the American Bath House. Below, the Sweet Spring Bath House was converted to a Laundry and the Nutall Bath House continues to operate. To the far bottom left, the brick Wadsworth Building was erected as it exists today, and the yellow dwelling just above it is the current site of the Post Office.
This circa 1885 photo shows the top roof and facade of the Nutall Bath House and the American Bath House can be seen directly across. The Crescent Hotel, which opened in 1886, can be seen at the summit of West Mountain.
The 1885 photo of the American Bath House Hotel is shown above as it faced Spring Street.
The 1905 photo at right shows it as the Sweet Spring Bath House, having under gone a modest addition of the second gallery overhang supported by columns.
The 1897 Sanborn Map above shows the Foot Bridge no longer existing but the Arcade shops were maintained and continued to do business. The Nutall Bath House also coninued operations on Mountain Street.
As shown above in this1904 Sanborn Map, the Arcade stores were taken down and replaced by the Sweet Springs Hotel Annex, a four-story, stone building which today is located as 123 and 125 Spring Street as shown below.
123 and 125 Spring Street is a mixed use retail, office, and lodging facility.
Across the street is the Rogue's Manor showing the nuclear site building structure on the right.
The Palace Bath House was built in 1901 and is shown for the first time on a Sanborn Map in 1904. The Sweet Spring Bath House shown at its left was the original American Bath House.
The photo at Left was taken in 1901 and seen in the distant right is the former American Bath House.
The photo at Right was taken in the 1930s after renovations including its infamous Neon Sign
Due to an extraordinary Ice Storm in 2009, many trees were destroyed in the Ozarks. In clearing the downed trees in the "Bath House" Gulch, all of the underbrush was cleared along with much rubbish. The above photo shows a cleared and cleaned Hollow. What an ideal opportunity to replace the Wooden Foot Bridge both for beauty and historic value. The yellowed bar is the approximate location of the original Foot Bridge.
And as it would have appeared from Mountain Street.
Photos above shot by Dan Ellis in March 2009.
The above two photos of the Foot Bridge are courtesy of Ken Bates
The foot bridge is shown clearly in both 1882 photos
The Foot Bridge is shown entering the rear of the newly constructed building at 123-125 Spring Street.
The Foot Bridge was left to decay in disrepair and was eventually torn down