- EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. -- This town was jammed
this weekend with tourists and vacationers for the annual
- War Eagle
Craft Show and the kickoff of Eureka Spring's May Artsfest. But its
original attraction has sustained life,
- and attracted multitudes, since
the end of the Ice Age.
- Thirty-eight million gallons a day flow from its depths. Itís an
artesian fountain formed when Missouriís Ozarks
- collided with Arkansas' Ouchita Mountains 300 million years ago. Humans
and animals have sought it out as a
- life-giving source for eons.
- For 10,000 years, generations
of indigenous people sheltered themselves under a nearby rock bluff.
- Spanish, then French, explorers pass by, and moved on when
the white settlers came.
- By 1907, Eureka Springs was a
resort destination and the second largest city in Arkansas.
It was clear then that the
- spring was a marketable source of
miracle-working mineral water for tourists.
- In the early part of the 20th
century, Blue Spring's water was marketed to healthy minded Americans, bottled
- Ozarka brand. It was piped over
the mountain to Eureka Springs and shipped out by the trainload.
- Johnice Cross, a
great-granddaughter of the original owner, has a new sales plan.
Cross plans to market it with a
- Blue Spring label.
- Exactly where the water comes
from is still a liquid legend. A team of cave divers
took on the deep, dangerous and
- complicated challenge of exploring Blue Springís depths, and took some
incredible video, which has been made into
- a documentary that's available at the
Blue Spring Heritage Center. The dive team
spent 350 hours in the spring, looking
- for its source, squeezing way through a
series of narrow crevices, often at their peril.
- They discovered, during
downpours, the spring can be angry. The
gravel comes up and the water acts like a washing
- machine full of golf balls. At 218 feet down, the spring
ended the diversí expedition, with a tiny gap in the rocks,
- still hiding its
secrets in an abyss of mystery.
- AAA calls Blue Spring a travel
treasure. If you'd like to know
more about its history and when to visit, check out its Web site.