1936 - present
Excelsior Springs, Missouri, emerged as a tourist and health treatment destination after mineral waters were discovered at nearby Siloam Springs in 1880. The area’s extensive number of mineral water springs and wells and the construction of fine hotels such as the Elms and other tourist amenities contributed to the reputation of the area as a premier location to take the water cure.
The Hall of Waters was constructed for $1 million as part of the Federal Public Works Administration from 1936 and 1938. The building’s Art Deco design includes water related decorative elements that were influenced by Mayan art and cultural traditions. The building features mineral waters piped in from 10 local wells and springs, which visitors can sample from the world’s longest mineral water bar in the two-story solarium. Patrons originally also could take curative baths in the large men’s and women’s bath departments or the competition-sized saltwater pool and the polio pool on the lower level. For many years, five types of mineral water were bottled in the facility and shipped internationally. Mineral water cures fell out of favor with the advent of modern medical practices in the last decades of the twentieth century. On the National Register of Historic Places, the building now serves as a visitor’s center, museum, and municipal offices for the city of Excelsior Springs.
Date: 1936 - present
Subject: Mineral water industry
Contributing Institution: Springfield-Greene County Library District
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Photographer: Ellie Burke
Photograph Date : 2021