Visit Excelsior Springs, MO, home of the world's greatest grouping of mineral waters

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Excelsior Springs spa heritage header

Hall of Waters west facade photo

Excelsior Springs, Missouri was founded in 1880 upon the site of a mineral water spring after settlers discovered its medicinal qualities. Eventually 20 springs bubbling out four distinct varieties of water gave Excelsior Springs the rightful claim of having the world's greatest group of mineral waters. The particularly unusual feature of the distinguished group lies in the fact that it includes two of the six world's known iron-manganese springs.

Eventually the waters were bottled and shipped worldwide. International attention was directed to the spa resort at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 when medals were awarded Regent spring water and Soterian ginger ale. State and national organizations were quick to recognize Excelsior Springs as an ideal convention city. Hotels were built to house the thousands of visitors, including the most famous, the National Register Elms Hotel, built 1912. President Harry Truman spent the 1948 election night at the Elms.

In 1935 the city of Excelsior Springs began a $1 million Federal Public Works Administration project, the Hall of Waters, to house Siloam Spring and bottle it and nine other mineral waters. The waters bottled here included calcium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate (soda water), sulfo-saline, and iron manganese. The building is one of two Art Deco buildings in the city. It is listed on the Local Landmarks Register, the Clay County Historical Register and the National Register of Historic Places. It is the center piece of the Local Register Hall of Waters Historic District, designated in March 2007. Public offices are housed here today, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It houses the world's longest water bar. The water bar solarium features a self-guided walking tour of the history of Excelsior Springs and is available for community events.

Volunteers clean Lithia #1 Spring photo
Volunteers at the Lithia #1 Spring look down into the well where they gathered to work cleaning the pump house.
Volunteers build Lithium Spring pavilion photo
Neighborhood volunteers built a new pavilion upon the site of the Crystal Lithium Spring in a historic neighborhood.

The waters today

Downtown revitalization is an ongoing partnership of public and private endeavors. A new walking tour of the mineral waters is now available at the Visitor Center in the Hall of Waters. Mineral water pavilions are being repaired or replaced.

Hall of Waters historic self-guided tour
World's longest water bar in Hall of Waters photo
Elms Resort Hotel & Spa photo
From left, the water bar area at the Hall of Waters features kiosks with information on the history of Excelsior Springs, the water bar is venue to many local celebrations including Gatsby Days in April, the historic Elms Resort Hotel & Spa is open to guests and accommodates weddings, conventions, and local events.

Additional resources:

Excelsior Springs Historic Preservation Commission
Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce
Excelsior Springs Historical Museum & Archives
The Elms Resort Hotel & Spa
The Elms Boulevard Neighborhood
Excelsior Springs Cultural Guild
Hall of Waters Study

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