Welcome to my town. ~Excelsior Springs!

Excelsior Springs Travel Blog

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The Hall of Waters

Our town is mostly known for the mineral waters we have to offer, so therefore here's a brief history on the waters of Excelsior.

In the beginning ...

"Excelsior Springs owes its existence to a natural spring that for ages gushed forth from remote depths of the earth at the edge of a pretty river near the western border of what is now Fishing River Township, Clay County, Missouri.

Oaks Hotel signage


The white man was slow in appreciation of the rocky hills, deep caverns and rugged vastness here; the land was practically valueless -- not worth the clearing of stones and gnarled growth; it was so much better far away. Yet a few "squatters" built cabins, prepared small patches for cultivation, bore and brought up children. Here and there a substantial land and timber owner gave permanence to the domain, up to the unfolding of this story -- the days of 1880.

Discovered by accident, Travis Mellion, a black farmer, is credited with the discovery of Siloam Spring's medicinal value. According to historical records, the event happened in 1880 when the valley was still covered by a wheat field. Jas. L. Farris, an attorney from Richmond, with some friends, was camped near where Siloam Spring is located while hunting and fishing in the area.

Mellion lived upstream, near where the old Isley school building is located, with his family.
Crest on the Elms Hotel
One of his daughters suffered from a severe case of scrofula (a form of tuberculosis). Mellion visited the Farris camp where he told them of his daughter's affliction and how he had tried the advice of a number of physicians without relief.

Farris had noticed that residents in the valley steered clear of the water which oozed out of the bank near the river because of the yellow rusty track it left in its path. Half jokingly, he insinuated to Mellion that "it ought to be good for something" and suggested that it would do no harm to try it.

A jug of water was taken to Mellion's home, and his afflicted daughter, Opal, was given of it to drink. Some of the water was also heated and used for bathing. This was continued for several days and within the days there was marked improvement in Opal's condition. Inside of a few weeks, she was completely cured.

A log-cabin farmer, Frederick Kugler, living on the hillside not far from the spring, began to treat his rheumatic knees and a running sore on his leg caused by an old Civil War gunshot wound.
Royal Hotel Signage
Again, recovery occurred.

After the astonishing cure of Travis Mellion's daughter, Opal, and of the German farmer, Fred Kugler, word spread of the new cure. Persons afflicted with other ailments came; more results were obtained and the fame of the health-giving water spread far and wide, thus Excelsior Springs as "America's Haven of Health" was born." -Excerpt from the Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce site.

You can still sample the spring waters at the Hall of Waters along with taking mineral baths if you'd like. Yet another gem our town has to offer is the Elms Resort and Spa. The Hotel is supposed to be haunted if you believe in that kind of thing. Some other interesting historic information on the Elms is that Al Capone stayed there (and has a room named after him) also Jack Dempsey once trained in the lap pool there.

Sculpture outside the Elms that no one knows just exactly what it is.
The Elms isn't a new and shiny hotel and if you expect one when or if you visit then you're mistaken. The Elms was recently restored but still has a lot of character. I've personally stayed there and I loved it. The staff was friendly and helpful and the place is beautiful. You don't get a very good cell phone signal b/c of the thick lime walls but it's a great hotel. There's an Olympic sized pool outside with hot tubs and then a lap pool inside with a spring bubbling into it.

There's also a golf course in town if you like chasing a ball around acres of land for several hours on end ;) it's an 18 hole golf course, so feel free to golf whenever you're here.

There's a couple state parks near and both are very beautiful. Rocky Hollow has a good fishing area along with a shelter house and several picnic tables for family outings.

Small Barbershop in Town.
Watkins Mill is also a beautiful state park that has a 3 1/2 mile paved walking trail along with a lake that has a swimming area along with a boat launch. There's also a 100 acre wooded campsite with a variety of hookups to camp if you'd like.

Excelsior is a relatively small town that is finding it's historic roots. The downtown area is in the process of being built back up to what it once was. You'll find quite a few shopping opportunities as you visit along with some great eating options (I recommend the Wabash BBQ, which is the old train depot that has been restored to a smoke house BBQ place). Enjoy visiting our town!!

 

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The Hall of Waters
The Hall of Waters
Oaks Hotel signage
Oaks Hotel signage
Crest on the Elms Hotel
Crest on the Elms Hotel
Royal Hotel Signage
Royal Hotel Signage
Sculpture outside the Elms that no…
Sculpture outside the Elms that n…
Small Barbershop in Town.
Small Barbershop in Town.
Fishing River
Fishing River
Spring colors up close and persona…
Spring colors up close and person…
Rocky Hollow Park
Rocky Hollow Park
Watkins Mill State Park
Watkins Mill State Park
Another crest outside the Elms Hot…
Another crest outside the Elms Ho…
Nearby Cooley Lake road/conservati…
Nearby Cooley Lake road/conservat…
Spring colors in town
Spring colors in town
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Excelsior Springs
photo by: ladybuglover_01