Mineral Water Restoration

Cultural Renaissance through Mineral Water Restoration in Excelsior Springs

The 1991 Excelsior Springs’ Historic Resources Survey Plan identified mineral water resources as potential property types. It highlighted a historic context, “Missouri’s National Health Resort: 1880 – 1963,” from the discovery of the waters’ health benefits to the 1963 legislation banning cure advertisements. These rare resources are significant to the city’s early development.

In 2012, a survey report on forty properties was completed to record the locations of historic mineral wells, springs, and pavilions. This aids in preservation planning and future development.

The project included recommendations for National Register and local landmark designation, which may protect Excelsior Springs’ remaining mineral water resources. The survey also supports planning for historic resources, educational programs, and heritage tourism projects.

The ” Cultural Renaissance through Mineral Water Restoration ” program is a comprehensive initiative aimed at revitalizing the historic downtown area of Excelsior Springs through the restoration of its mineral water heritage. The program is designed to create a cultural attraction that will reflect and celebrate the town’s rich history and tradition associated with mineral water.

The project’s primary focus is on testing of Lithia Well #1 and Soda Well #1 to determine a path to restoration. This will be done in conjunction with the Lithia Landing project, a community initiative aimed at creating a vibrant gathering place for live music and cultural experiences centered around the mineral water heritage.

A key component of the program is the revival of the Hall of Waters, a historic building that will be transformed into a multi-purpose museum and arts center. The Hall of Waters will serve as the heart of the Historic District, offering visitors an immersive cultural experience that includes access to the history of the Mineral Water tourism industry.

The program will also include the placement of distinctive markers around the district, highlighting the Pagodas and Pavilions as landmarks of historic and cultural importance. A self-guided walking tour will be developed in partnership with the Excelsior Springs Museum and the Downtown Excelsior Partnership, providing visitors with detailed information about each well and its historical significance.

The overarching goal of the program is to restore the source of health tourism in Excelsior Springs, thereby providing a foundation for the arts to flourish in the community as they once did. Through this restoration, the program aims to provide opportunities for local artists to showcase their skills in architecture, historic restoration, landscape design, and city planning, while also contributing to the long-term stability of the tourism industry in the town.

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