When I was discussing on this blog a year or so ago the mineral water craze that sprang up in the Ozarks (and elsewhere) during the 1880s, I think Saratoga Springs, a town in McDonald County, Missouri, was among the examples I cited. Recently, while perusing the 1881 Joplin Daily Herald, I ran across a column written by a reporter who had taken a trip from Joplin to the fledgling community of Saratoga Springs in the late summer of 1881. The reporter said there were, at the time of his visit, two grocery stores and a drug store in the town as well as three or four dozen "summer houses" made of native lumber. Four or five springs flowed from a ravine below the town, but no medical qualities were claimed for even the largest of the group, which was dubbed the "Liz Weaver." In additon, the community had no organized town company or leaders working on behalf of building the place up. So, the reporter held out little hope that the town would flourish, and, of course, he turned out to be right. Today, Saratoga (the "Springs" part has been dropped from the name) is barely a wide place in the road on Highway 90 between Noel and Southwest City.
One place that did prosper, though, was Eureka Springs. It was tremendously popular, at least among Joplin citizens, from its very founding. It amazes me, in reading 1880s Joplin newspapers, how often I run into items reporting that a certain citizen was in Eureka Springs or had just returned from there. And I'm sure Eureka Springs was almost as popular with other residents of the Ozarks as it was with Joplinites.
Labels: Eureka Springs, Saratoga Springs