1883, Nov3 - 4:50 a.m. --– 75 houses and businesses were destroyed within a five-acre area lying between Mountain and Eureka streets.
Note: Goodspeeds 1888 account stated that "in a building claimed by one Cushingberry, . . . The origin was undoubtedly incendiary. . . . a loss of $25,000.
As reported in 1930, the fire originated “where the E.M. Bare’s home now stands.”
1888 – Originating from the Hancock House near Sweet Spring, the undaunted flames proceeded down Spring Street toward Main Street, but did not include the Perry House (where now stands the Basin Park Hotel).
It was reported that, “The Ohio House, a hotel of about thirty rooms stood next to the Perry House with a bridge between. The Ohio House burned but the Perry House was safe.”
It was reported that the fire, “originated in a dentist shop just opposite the Blocksom-Newton undertaking parlors,” (then known as the Hancock House). “Mr. Billy Brown was rooming there and was first to discover the fire, and at once gave the alarm.”
“Mr. Brown says the fire occurred on one of the coldest nights he ever experienced in Arkansas and that people were almost frozen.”
“Pandemonium reigned and the pioneers looked on in helplessness as one by one of their places of business and all they possessed went up in smoke.”
It was reported that, “Mrs. Newt Fortner was among the early arrivals and her father, Mr. Joe Ivey, lost everything he had in the Spring street fire which ruined so many business men. Mrs. Fortner, though only a child then, remembers that terrible disaster that left them almost penniless. At that time no one here carried insurance.”
D.R. Woolery’s “The Grand Old Lady of the Ozarks” states that, “During the Winter of 1888, a second disastrous fire burned the business section . . . . Spring, Center, and lower Mountain streets were left almost completely barren. Only four frame houses were left standing in the area — 480 houses had been destroyed.”
Mountain Echo, November 7, 1890 – "Forty five houses at Eureka Springs were destroyed by fire last week."
In 1890 – The 60-room Perry House was considered a most up-to-date and fashionable hostelry.
It was reported that while Mr. Lamar, the hotel chef, was cooking, that the hotel had caught fire.
The flames jumped across Spring Street down the hill northward burning all including Conner’s Hotel (Grand Central Hotel location).
The conflagration also spread south of Main and Spring streets burning all buildings to include the Hughes House.
Also, of note, the original Flatiron building as built in 1880, was destroyed by fire in 1890.
In a later report, the fire burned everything until reaching the 1930's site known as Mattock's Garage.
Note: Graphic use of the 1800's Sanborn maps are only representative — having red to indicate the approximate areas of conflagration — and which are not necessarily accurate.
Note: A Fourth Fire shows the area in Red around the Flat Iron Building with Lavender indicating previous fires with barren or vacant land-lots as shown in this 1892 Sanborn map. More scrutiny is required to determine more exact parameters.
As determined by Sanborn Map publishers, the following information was indicated for the following years showing Fire Department and Water Utility activity for Eureka Springs.
May 1886 reported a population of 2,800. There were No Steam or Hand Engines, or Independent Hose Carts and Water Facilities were reported as Not Good.
Sept 1892 reported a population of 4,000. There were No Steam or Hand Engines, or Independent Hose Carts and Water Facilities were reported as Not Good.
April 1909 reported a population of 5,000. There were No Steam or Hand Engines. There were 3 Independent Hose Carts and Water Facilities were reported having a Stand Pipe and a reservoir.
The Fire Department consisted of 3 Volunteer Co’s with 16 members each having Hand Hose Carts at three locations. The city had 50 double hydrants throughout connected to water mains that were laid in 1894. Streets were gravel.
May 1914 reported a population of 4,000. There were No Steam or Hand Engines. There were 4 Independent Hose Carts and one Hook and Ladder. Water Facilities were driven by gravity and pressure, reported having a Stand Pipe and an artificial lake fed by springs.
The Fire Department consisted of five Volunteer Companies with 16 members each having four Hand Hose Houses with four 2-wheel carts with 2000' of 2½” hoses. There was one Truck with four ladders ranging 12' to 30’. The city had 50 double hydrants throughout connected to water mains that were laid in 1894. Streets were gravel.
October 1923 reported a population of 4,000. There were 4 Independent Hose Carts and one Hook and Ladder. Water Facilities were driven by gravity and pressure, reported having a Stand Pipe and an artificial lake fed by springs.
The Fire Department consisted of five Fire Stations with 52 Volunteer members.
Station #1 had a combination of hose, chemicals, ladders, and 400' of hose.
Station #2 had one Ford Car with 400' of new canvass hose, and 400' of old hose.
Station #3 had one Ford Car with 400' of new canvass hose.
Station #4 & #5 had hand drawn hose-carts, each with 400' of hoseJan 20, 1966
The Eureka Springs Fire Department set ablaze the Evans Home at 25 Howell Street in order to clear the lot.
The fireman used it as practice to conduct various extinguishing procedures.
The 2-story house afire photo showed what seemed to be an architecturally sound frame house with 3 bays centered by a large front gable..
The City Alarm System was by Alarm Bell and Telephone calls.
Water Facilities: The Water Works was owned by the City utilizing a Gravity System. Source of supply was from 4 springs feeding a Reservoir with a capacity of 3½ million gallons supplied from springs by gravity flow and located at pumping station one mile SW of Courthouse. One Gould triplex moter driven force pump, capacity 300 gals per min. An Aldrich Pump was also operated by an 85 HP-oil engine. A Stand Pipe, 12' by 105' capacity of 88,000 gallons located on hill. Throughout are 5 miles of water mains ranging 4' to 10' connecting 60 double hyudrants. Average daily consumption of 225,000 gallons. Pressure of 125 lbs to 130 lbs at Courthouse.
The Weekly Flashlight --- March 18, 1910
An interesting new map of Eureka Springs was shown us in Jenkins’ Real Estate office to day. Sanborn’s Fire insurance map.
This is the only map of its kind published in the United States, and is gotten out especially for the benefit of insurance agents. The map shows every residence in the city included in the Fire Limits, giving the location and exact distance from other buildings.
When we remember these matters largely govern the cost of insurance, the importance of having an official map containing such information for insurance cost estimating.
Eureka Springs has had nothing of this kind in a long while, the old map showing the Wadsworth-Floyd lots vacant. Many changes and improvements have been made since that time.