As you might expect, our town takes its name from springs that flow from the Ozark mountainsides surrounding it. Long before tourists began coming here, the springs played a vital part in the development of the community, since many people during the 19th century believed that the mineral waters held curative properties.
The presence of so many springs and their high quality prompted developers to build a resort community, where visitors came to “take the waters.” They drank the pure mountain water and soaked in spas, several of which still stand.
Of the original sixty-plus springs, more than one dozen have been restored and are worth a visit. Probably the most famous of these is Basin Spring. Located at the heart of downtown, Basin Spring is surrounded by a beautiful little park that is a center of life and activity in the community. Free music is available in its bandstand throughout the summer.
Another favorite is Crescent Spring – on Spring Street – which is easy to spot because it is covered by a restored Victorian gazebo. The spring got its name from the hillside above, with a rocky outcropping described as “crescent-shaped.” Adjacent to it, a stone staircase leads up the mountainside to a trail connecting it with the historic Crescent Hotel.
Also worth a visit is the nearby Carnegie Library, so-called because it was built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. A total of 1,689 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929. The one in our town was dedicated in 1913 and is one of only two remaining Carnegie libraries left in Arkansas.