Hall of Waters Historic District

Local Register District listed March 2007
National Register District Commercial East listed May 27, 1999
National Register District Commercial West listed May 29, 1999

The Hall of Waters Historic District incorporates two National Register districts that had been listed in 1999 and also includes the Fishing River Linear Park. The focal point is the Hall of Waters itself, which was constructed as a WPA project in 1935. A variety of hotels, apartments and boarding houses dating from the resort era are included as well, along with many commercial buildings, and a few churches and other civic structures. Numerous mineral water sites and structures also lie within the district.

The Hall of Waters District contains the portion of the Original Town plat of Excelsior Springs. It retains much the same compactness today that it did in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The period of significance for the district, c. 1894-1948, represents the span of years between the earliest extant resource in the district and the arbitrary fifty-year-cut-off date required by the National Register at the time of listing.

By 1894, the greatest concentration of construction in Excelsior Springs occurred in the area of Broadway, South Street and Thompson Avenue, clearly setting the general boundaries and overall activity for the city’s commercial area, which has survived to the present. The first decade of the 1900s ushered into Excelsior Springs a large number of commercial ventures which undoubtedly accounted for one of the most significant building booms in the city’s history. Unquestionably spawned by the increasing popularity of the mineral water springs, the mercantile trade expanded rapidly, infusing a wide variety of businesses throughout the city’s commercial core. Representing the very foundation on which the town developed, the Hall of Waters was constructed from 1935-37. This Art Deco inspired focal point of the commercial district was the central dispersal site of the various kinds of mineral water to be found in Excelsior Springs. The Hall of Waters was individually listed on the National Register in 1983.

Though many properties within the commercial and residential portions of the district have undergone alterations, a majority retain much of their original character and integrity. Excelsior Springs has a unique history of commercialization generated from the discovery of its healing mineral waters. Preservation of historic structures within the Hall of Waters Historic District will protect the vital history and unique sense of place of Excelsior Springs. Preservation of the downtown historic context promotes community pride, increases property values, helps stabilize the district, promotes economic growth, and creates a tourism destination.