The reason for the influx of sick people was because of an idea at the time called the water cure. This was the belief that spring water had a purity that would aid the body in its recovery from illnesses. This came out of clever marketing, and served the dual purpose of both preserving natural springs from being bulldozed, and also making spring water companies plenty of money and influence. In the case of Eureka Springs, it brought people from far and wide who were seeking help.
One other thing that brought people and goods to Eureka Springs was the railroad. Without it, the town would not be nearly as large as it is today. The Frisco railroad built a line in 1890 that went from modern Monet, Missouri, through Eureka Springs, and finally ended in Paris, Texas. This made it far easier for goods and people to get into Eureka Springs. Before, those looking to enter Eureka Springs had two options. One included taking a railroad to Pierce City, some fifty miles away, and having guides lead passengers through rocky hills and treacherous terrain. The other included riding up the Arkansas river by steamboat, disembarking at Ozark, a town eighty-five miles away, and taking an uncomfortable carriage ride to Eureka that took 19 hours. Later in the town's history, in 1890, a streetcar system was built to reduce the number of horses on the roads, but it was decommissioned in 1923 when the streets began to fill with automobiles.
One building of particular note, high on Spring Street, is the Jewel Box store. Although it currently boasts jewelry handmade by the denizens of Eureka, its original purpose was the Eureka Springs bank. This bank is where the only bank robbery in Eureka Springs history took place, all the way back in 1922. Five men from the well known Henry Starr gang (none of whom was named Henry Starr) attempted to steal $95,000 in savings bonds and $25,000 in cash in broad daylight, but a silent alarm system put in by Eureka's residents alerted the town to their presence. Leaving the bank, the robbers stepped directly into a firefight with residents of Eureka. Two of the robbers were killed on the spot, and a third died later of his wounds. The other two were kept in jail, and not a single citizen of Eureka was injured.
This anecdote, while not related to the history of Eureka Springs as a whole, shows the ingenuity and hard work that residents of the town had to put in to maintain its beauty and safety, something that rings true in the town even today.