The Black Dog
Missing Dog Mystery
Contributed by Ken Bates
What happened to the black dog that appears in so many of the old photos of Basin Park has long been a mystery to those interested in the history of Eureka Springs.
It first appears around 1883 on a landing just below the building now known as the "Queen Deer" home above Basin Spring. It remained at that spot until about 1893.
(See Yellow Highlighting below)
It re-appears (with a broken tail) around 1900, on the rear (water holding tank) pedestal in Basin Park until it disappears completely about 1910. (Not easily seen, the tail was short)
During it's brief 7 year absence from the Basin Spring area, only one photo exists showing several young women at an unknown location that includes the dog in the foreground. (The dog's tail is intact.)
Legend has it that the dog was to honor the Osage Indian, "Black Dog," whose father was credited with scouring out the spring basin some 100 years earlier.
It appears that the dog was purchased from the Janes, Kirtland Ornamental Iron Works, New York, whose catalogue of 1870 includes a dog closely resembling our "Black Dog". It is also about the same size (4 ft) as can be seen from the woodcut picture.
While the dog shown in the catalogue is reversed, it should be remembered that woodcut pictures are reversed from the actual carving. As can be seen, the reversed picture appears identical to our "Black Dog." (Credit: Rick Armelinni for the Janes, Kirtland Catalogue Dog Picture.)
While we may never know what happened to Black Dog his absence makes for a great mystery.
* * *
Below is a clipping from the Times-Echo of 1954, written by Ozark historian Otto Rayburn, which adds more to the mystery.
Questions that arise
Is the Dog breed a Labrador Retriever?
Before being seen in front of the Southern Hotel in the early 1880s, was it originally placed at a prior location?
The Southern Hotel was situated in a most commanding place at the Basin Springs as built in 1880, by L.M. Rainey of Springfield, Mo. W.E. Beatty leased the property in November, 1885, and purchased it in 1886. In the fall of 1888, he remodeled the building, and refurnished it with water and gas and all the modern improvements. Damaged in the Great Fire of 1890, the Southern was repaired and enlarged to one hundred rooms,
When was the Black Dog removed from the Southern Hotel and placed on the Park Basin holding tank pedestal?
The Black Dog was also situated at what appears to be a residential location with "Local Belles" overlooking a shrubbed wall (as seen in one of the photos above).
--- At what location was this?
Note: the dog's tail is shown intact and the young ladies are well dressed with seemingly
1910 - 1920 society coiffures.
The following Flyer was disseminated by Rick Armellini with the Basin Park Improvement Committee in hopes of finding some clues --- but to no avail.
One can only wonder if the spirit of the Black Dog appeared in another fashion as below.
Come Alive in Eureka for Mardi Gras
Photo by O'Hair-Vicnair