“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Eureka Springs in Carroll County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)

Calif Spring

South Main

Calif Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2015
1. Calif Spring Marker

Calif Spring was originally called Table Rock Spring, named for the rock formation above the spring area. This area was set aside as a spring reservation in 1886 by City Ordinance. S. L. Calif established a residence and general store next to the spring, which he excavated and cleaned. He was given a 99 year lease on the land where his house was located. It was then referred to as "Calif Spring."

The odd round stone building in this park covers Calif Springs itself. It was built following a study done in 1921 by a national engineering firm which resulted in the development of a major water treatment program for the springs. The water was subjected to the ultra-violet rays of a mercury lamp enclosed in a quartz tube and operated by direct electric current. This treatment was used on five springs on Main and Spring Streets. Construction cost for Calif Spring was estimated at $260. Cost for electricity to operate all the systems was estimated at $600 per year - high for the 1920s. To pay for the project an ordinance was passed to create a Spring Improvement District and impose a tax assessment on each property in this District.

Spring Reservations
Eureka Springs was founded upon the belief that there was healing for human ills to be found in the waters which flowed from the springs in the bluffs. From the

Calif Spring and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2015
2. Calif Spring and Marker
earliest days, city government realized the need to protect and preserve these precious spring waters for the benefit of all. Thus, large tracts of open land on the hillsides around and above the springs were established by law as Spring Reservations. Most of these spring reservations are still in place.

How These Springs Work
Eureka Springs has a karst geology which produces two distinct groundwater systems. The first unit is composed of the Boone Foundation which is a highly fractured limestone. It is extremely porous and up to 250' thick. Beneath this is a two-unit layer of St. Joe Limestone. The top unit is finely crystalline limestone which forms bluffs and when fractured, forms caves. It is 30-45' thick. The second unit is less resistant and forms slopes rather than bluffs. It is 12-24' thick.

Beneath these is a thin layer of Chattanooga Shale less than 1-10' thick. The shale creates an impermeable divider between the groundwater systems. Water flowing through the upper system cannot pass through the Chattanooga Shale, so it surfaces through the St. Joe limestone. The areas' valleys parallel the contour lines of the Chattanooga Shale, spreading the underground flow into many small springs.

Beneath the Chattanooga Shale are three more layers of rock. Sylamore Sandstone, 2-25' thick, Powell Formation, 20' thick and Cotter Formation, 150' thick. Water

Diagram on Calif Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2015
3. Diagram on Calif Spring Marker
from these lower layers only appear where the Chattanooga Shale has been removed by erosion such as in Dairy Hollow and Leatherwood Creek.

More recent groundwater tracing has led to the discovery that the springs of Eureka Springs get their water from local sources - the areas where most residents live - not thousands of miles away.

[Photo and diagram drawing captions on left read]
- Of the five springs, only Calif Spring still retains its stone treatment building.

- Springs Systems of Eureka Springs

Why You Can't Drink From The Springs Now
The important aspect of these water systems is that the springs are recharged by rainfall. They have a rapid response to heavy rainfall indicating that the groundwater systems are composed of channels. There is little soil contact which limits natural filtration. Thus, settlement around the spring recharge areas is the reason the spring water is no longer drinkable. The ever shifting karst terrain causes the water and sewer pipes to fracture. Their contents then leak into the groundwater system channels and come out in the springs. Even though the water in the spring still looks clean and pure, it is contaminated.
Location. 36° 23.969′ N, 93° 44.454′ W. Marker is in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in Carroll County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (Arkansas Route 23) and Armstrong, on the right when traveling south on Main Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 95 South Main Street, Eureka Springs AR 72632, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Eureka Springs Historical Museum (a few steps from this marker); 85 South Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Bank of Eureka Springs (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bank of Eureka Springs Community Room (about 500 feet away); The Western District Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Civic Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Civil War Healing (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chandler Mall Buildings (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Eureka Springs.
Also see . . .
1. The Historic Springs of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. (Submitted on November 18, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. Eureka Springs (Carroll County) at The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. (Submitted on November 18, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
3. Eureka Springs History. (Submitted on November 18, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. Natural Features

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 129 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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