The City of El Dorado Springs was founded because of a spring thought to have medicinal value. The Osage Indians had known of the healing powers of the spring, bringing their sick and wounded for treatment.

The City of El Dorado Springs was founded because of a spring thought to have medicinal value. The Osage Indians had known of the healing powers of the spring, bringing their sick and wounded for treatment. Mr. Joshua Hightower, a Vernon County farmer, was taking his wife, Carmelia, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas due to his wife’s poor health. The Hightowers and their driver stopped at this spring for the night. They intended to stay only a night or two on their long journey. As they drank from the spring, Mrs. Hightower began to feel better.

They stayed at the spring for a total of twelve days. Mrs. Hightower’s health was so improved, they returned home to their farm. News of the healing waters was spread by word of mouth and newspaper accounts. Soon people were flocking to the spring and camping there to benefit from the water’s restorative healing powers. The land was owned by a pair of farmer brothers, and after noticing all of the excitement about the spring on their land, they decided to develop a town around it, setting aside the spring and some acreage to build houses and businesses. El Dorado Springs was incorporated in 1881. The Hightowers built the first house adjacent to the spring. Soon, spas and bathhouses flourished. People came from all over to use the water. An industry of shipping water all over the world for health purposes from the famous spring developed, in large glass bottles called demijohns.

The water is still available today. Be warned, it does not taste very pleasant. High in a variety of minerals, the spout located in the bottom of the park offers a continuous slow flow of the copper tasting spring water, which is lukewarm in temperature.

One of the oldtimers at an antique store on the town square tells that the city used to supply cups at the spout for visitors. What Nots Antiques sits down a side street of downtown, behind the nicely preserved 1915 Opera House Theater. The Opera House has been converted into a one screen first run modern day movie theater.

While in town, head over to Scooter's Cafe for all-American dining. Many have claimed that they have the best breakfast in the Ozarks. They are best known for their homemade meals, and their all-you-can-eat catfish Fridays. Breakfast is served all day, and meals are plentiful and affordable, with typical diner style fair.

If you decide to stay overnight, Cedar Lodge is a good choice for some privacy, and room to spread out. The rustic rental sleeps 8 people, and is fully furnished, with heating and air conditioning, and all modern amenities. Nearby the Cedar Lodge are plenty of outdoor adventures.

Whether you’re into hunting, fishing, birding, hiking, camping, water sports or nature watching you’ll discover it at the 4,040 acre Wah’ Kon-Tah (Great Spirit) Prairie which is the largest protected prairie complex in the Osage Plains. The prairie is home to native grasslands, wildflowers and many rare plants and animals. This includes efforts to restore Prairie Chickens to their native drumming, dancing and mating grounds. There are hills and hollers and wetlands and woods to explore around El Dorado Springs. With over 8,600 acres at Schell Osage Conservation Area and the 13,929 acre August A. Busch/Four Rivers Wetlands, there’s no shortage of nature.