Excelsior Springs' rich history began in the late 1800's with the discovery of "healing" mineral water that flowed from the ground or could be tapped with deep wells.
The first written documentation of the water reported that in 1880, a local farmer named Travis Mellion turned to the water for his daughter who was afflicted with scrofula, a result of an infection in the lymph nodes, known as lymphadenitis. It can be caused by tuberculosis or non-tuberculosis mycobacteria. Mellion bathed his daughter in the water and she was healed. Word of the healing spread and eventually, A.W. Wyman, owner of the spring, had samples of the water analyzed in St. Louis. The water was declared to have curative results.
Over time, more and more wells were discovered and in the end, more than forty-six wells and springs were located within a half-mile radius of the original well, Siloam Spring. Thus began the marketing years of Excelsior Springs. Word spread around the world and for the next eighty-plus years, Excelsior Springs would have thousand come to the city to partake of the healing waters in an assortment of ways from bathing to drinking. The town became recognized by its fancy pagodas denoting the location of the wells. Hotels sprung up, as did businesses, healing clinics, churches, boarding houses, restaurants, hotels and more.
The Hall of Waters was built in 1936-1937 as a bottling facility and distribution point for the healing, medicinal mineral waters of Excelsior Springs. This beautiful, one-of-a-kind, Art Deco building held the world's longest water bar, an indoor swimming pool, a Polio pool, thewater department, a spa for men and a separate spa for women.
At the time of construction, there was both a men's and women's bath department each handled as many as 300 people at any one time. There is a competition-size swimming pool that was filled with salt water and a polio-pool located on lower levels, along with the bottling works. Pipes were designed especially for each type of mineral water and a system to bring them all to the site was developed.
At its height, the Hall of Waters was the most completely outfitted health resort in the state and possibly the region. Waters of the ten main springs were piped into the longest mineral water bar in the world, which is still open to the public today. Known as the Hall of Springs, the solarium was the first section of the Hall to be opened in 1937. Five varieties of mineral water were bottled here and shipped all over the world.
Today, the Hall of Waters houses city offices and the Hall of Waters Visitor Center and Cultural Museum. A self-guided walking tour is available.