Discover Downtown

It Started With The Water, But The Progress Keeps Flowing

Excelsior Springs, the city with the magic waters, came to be as a modern dwelling in the year 1880. At the time, it was basically a wheat field. From the Fishing River, a spring water with a red coloring flowed, becoming Siloam Spring and the first of the mineral waters found in Excelsior Springs. It is the only natural supply of ferro-manganese mineral water in the United States and one of only five known worldwide. It’s also the spring that paved the way for Excelsior Springs to become what it is today.

The story goes like this…

A local farm, Travis Mellion, was searching for help for his daughter who was suffering from tuberculosis. Mellion gave his daughter water from the spring to drink and bathe in. Within days, a drastic improvement in her condition was observed; in just weeks, she was cured. People took notice. Another story of the healing properties of the water comes from Civil War Veteran, Frederick Kuglar, who decided to test the water on an unhealed gunshot wound. He, too, found relief and a full recovery from the waters.

From there, the owners of the property platted the valley and formed a town. Within a year’s time, 200 houses had settled into the hilly terrace for newcomers to call home. Visitors who had heard of the magic waters came in droves, camping in tents and covered wagons, to get their hands on the waters.

After the discovery of the first water, more than 40 more mineral water well and springs were identified, including Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Bicarbonate and Saline Sulphur. One of Excelsior’s claims to fame is that we have more groupings of mineral water than anywhere else in the world. You read that correctly – in the entire world!

Before long, visitors from larger metropolitan areas caught interest in the springs. Suddenly, due to high demand, boarding houses and hotels were erected and stage lines were put into place. Excelsior continued to thrive with further construction and expansion, event avoiding the worst of the Great Depression thanks to out status as a health resort oasis.

In the late 1950s, the good times took a hit as some of the health benefits were questioned and popularity of resort spa towns declined.

Today, the spring still flow, although access to them has diminished. City and community civic groups are currently working to restore mineral water pavilions at as many sites as possible.

Our rich history helped make us what we are, but we are event more than our water. We have created a community with deep roots in history and a huge passion toward the future. We have two feet moving forward while keeping an eye on our past.

Our tourism industry is booming and new businesses are opening up every year, including new breweries, restaurants and retail space with more to come in the future.

We pride ourselves on being a unique, charming town, rich in history, culture and forward momentum. We welcome you to our town and hope you enjoy your time here!

If you’d like to learn more about our history, you can read about it at or event better, learn about it in person at the Excelsior Springs Museum & Archives and the Hall of Waters Visitor Center.