THE ROCK HOUSE CAVE AND SALOON
Osage Indians made their homes under rocky overhangs for centuries before early European explorers came seeking the legendary healing springs or American pioneers finally reached the vicinity where they identified and named the Basin Spring. Hunts from nearby settlements, tracking deer and bear, encamped there also in earl years of the 19th century. Alvah Jackson, a pioneer physician, of ten visited the Healing Spring and used its waters to treat disease. The Civil War brought armies of both North and South into the vicinity and many skirmishes occurred. The Battle of Pea Ridge was fought just 20 miles away. Soldiers, either wounded in battle, or wore out from the stress of the war, were brought to the Indian Healing Spring. Dr. Jackson treated their wounds in a makeshift “Hospital” under the fluff which came to be called the Rock House. Tradition tells that the soldiers who came were both Confederates and Union and all received help from Dr. Jackson, assisted by the healing spring waters. Health seekers arriving at Basin Spring in the 1880's found rough sawn board enclosure under the bluff being used for a variety of purposes, including for a time, the Rock House Saloon. The present small limestone structure dates from about 1900.
The Rock House Cave may be viewed from the stairway across from the downtown City Auditorium next to the Funnel Cake shop as the picture below will show.
27 Spring Street --- Shows stairway access to view the Rock House and read the Landmark Marker. Stairway access can be from Benton Street above or from 27 S Main Street below.
The famous Rock House -- used as a dwelling for scores of hunters and early settlers was also used as an infirmary during the Civil War. Although it is City property, access to it is by way of private property. Partial viewing can be made from various points along the wooden stairway. The Rock House Cave Landmark Marker can be found on one of the stairway landings.
This photo was captured from Mike Kletcha's outdoor patio.