The History of The RoundHouse

While the RoundHouse represents its connection to the Ozarka Water Company to most people, it has a varied past, just as the community in which it resides.

The RoundHouse stands on land first claimed by timber entrepreneur William Evans. By 1884, this land was subdivided into building lots as the new city of Eureka Springs boomed. William and Mahala Evans and their partners, David and Precious Bays, sold the land in 1886 to the Interstate Gas Company, which in six months sold to the Eureka Springs Gas Light Company, one of General Powell Clayton's enterprises. Located across the street from the railroad station, they built a limestone and rock pilaster base to hold a round metal tank containing coal gas (methane) for lighting the streets and homes of the city.

1904 construction of the original
limestone walls that stand today.

This large circular structure first appears on the street maps about 1892, identified as a "Gas Holder". In 1904, an eighteen inch thick walled limestone structure forty four feet in diameter was built to replace the metal tank. It was then used as a warehouse for bottled spring water sold under the trade name "Ozarka".

William Duncan succeeded General Clayton as owner of all the holdings of Eureka Springs Improvement Company, including this property, and then Richard R. Thompson, successor to Duncan, operated the Ozarka Water Company for more than half a century, bottling water from Bays' and Ozarka Springs as well as shipping it in glass-lined railroad tank cars until the Eureka Springs Railroad ceased operations around 1965. The Railroad later came back as a dinner train for tourists.

Filling the glass-lined
railroad cars.

The RoundHouse, today.

After Ozarka ceased operations here the building was used for various purposes through the years, including apartments, an art gallery, a restaurant and a nightclub. It was vacant for a number of years and fell into disrepair. Finally, it was totally renovated with an additional story added in 2002.

Renovation of The RoundHouse »

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