Excelsior Springs, you fathead!
November 10, 2007 9:32 AM   Subscribe

When the town of Excelsior Springs, Mo. decided in the 1930's to create a shrine to its renowned mineral waters, they turned to the WPA, which built an Art Deco masterpiece, the Hall of Waters.
posted by Horace Rumpole (17 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This country needs another Great Depression.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh wow, that's beautiful. Why didn't I ever hear of that when I lived in Missouri? Excelsior Springs was just another exit sign on the highway to me. I'll have to find a way there sometime.
posted by zsazsa at 10:16 AM on November 10, 2007

Gorgeous. Added to my list of places to hit on my epic, may-never-be-but-goddamn-i-hope-so, road trip.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2007

Looks like something out of a Zelda game.
posted by delmoi at 10:31 AM on November 10, 2007

That is one amazing entrance.
posted by oddman at 11:05 AM on November 10, 2007

Wow, I grew up in suburban Kansas City, not 50 miles from that place, and this is news to me. Nobody even mentioned the mineral baths or the cool architecture -- Excelsior Springs was just some town out in the boonies. It's sad -- so much of the cool stuff from the area's Art Deco heyday is just ignored, and even if a committed few do manage to gin up some interest in (and money for) restoration and historic preservation, most folks just really can't be bothered to visit (cf. KC's 12th and Vine District).
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:10 AM on November 10, 2007

From the first link: I asked about the spa and one woman said, "Let me take you there," and she led me through a steamy hall, past the town records department. "Here’s our bubble tub," she said as she proudly pointed out one of those old cast iron tubs with bubbling waters made from some mechanism which resembled what a Foley artist would use in special effects for a movie set. There was a shelf next to the old tub where a variety of yellow rubber duckies sat. The lady said, "You can pick your own ducky to have in the water." Awesome, truly awesome.

Awesome indeed. Great post, Horace Rumpole!
posted by amyms at 11:28 AM on November 10, 2007

Looks like something out of a Zelda game.

I had the exact same thought, but I can't put my finger on the reason why.
posted by tepidmonkey at 11:47 AM on November 10, 2007

Wow, that's really beautiful. We have a couple of water temples here in the Bay Area. Water actually travels from the Sunol Water Temple to the Crystal Springs Water Temple. You can't get in it though- I'd love to visit the Hall of Water and have a soak.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:55 PM on November 10, 2007

Wow, that is one gorgeous building.

The Helvetica (?) is all wrong for it, though.
posted by dhartung at 2:29 PM on November 10, 2007

The Helvetica has to be a replacement, since it was only released in 1957. The original lettering must have been fantastically art-deco.
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:46 PM on November 10, 2007

Wonderful. This is why I love MF.
posted by Haruspex at 2:49 PM on November 10, 2007

Those light fixtures absolutely took my breath away. I need to see this in real life so I can see all the symbols. This is a great post, thanks!!
posted by sarahnade at 5:07 PM on November 10, 2007

Excelsior Springs has another claim to fame. It was also the birthplace, in 1928, of American minimalist sculptor, furniture designer, and self trained architect Donald Judd.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:29 PM on November 10, 2007

The Helvetica (?) is all wrong for it, though.

Yeah, the lettering outside is clearly a later replacement, but check out the font-tastic action happening at the water bar.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:22 PM on November 10, 2007

Just beautiful. I've got me a hankering for some magnesium water now, thanks Horace.
posted by Jilder at 7:13 PM on November 10, 2007

oneirodynia, awesome! I've wondered what that strange gate and pavilion around Sunol was. I'll have to go visit when it's open.
posted by zsazsa at 12:13 AM on November 11, 2007

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