A Brief History of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

Downtown Mammoth Spring ca. 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.

Mammoth Spring is a city in Fulton County, Arkansas, on the Arkansas-Missouri state line. The Mammoth Spring for which the city is named is a large spring that arises in the Ozark Plateau within the state of Arkansas. It is the largest spring in Arkansas and the seventh-largest natural spring in the world. Early nineteenth century settlers in the Mammoth Spring area formed a village known as “Head of the River.”  The town prospered due to an early grist mill powered by the spring’s water of nearly ten million gallons per hour flow.  In 1886, the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad built lines into the area and constructed one of its first train depots in the town now called Mammoth Spring. In 1901, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad acquired the line. With the coming of the railroad and the addition of the dam by the Mammoth Spring Milling Company (wheat mill) in the 1880’s, the town flourished (Merchants, 2012). Mammoth Spring residents also harnessed the strong current of the Spring River to bring electricity and industrialization to the Ozark foothills. Mammoth Spring profited from the health crazes of the late nineteenth century, which recommended bathing in hot natural springs as a cure for a host of physical ailments. While the spring and the Spring River, which stays a constant fifty-eight degrees year-round, could not be marketed as a health resort, visitors came for the cooler climate. Although the train depot is now a museum, Mammoth Spring continues to attract new citizens and tourists (Simers, 2018).


Ozark Merchants. (2012). Mammoth Spring State Park. Retrieved from ozarkmerchants.com.

Simers, Sarah E. (2018, Jul. 24). Mammoth Spring (Fulton County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

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