Pryor Center to Present 'Surprise Encounter with Crescent Hotel History in Eureka Springs'

George Sabo
University Relations

George Sabo

As part of the Pryor Center Presents lecture series, George Sabo, director of the Arkansas Archaeological Survey, will present "Surprise Encounter with Crescent Hotel History in Eureka Springs" at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

In February 2019, ground maintenance staff at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs uncovered a buried cache of specimen bottles, some containing suspected tissue and medical samples thought to be associated with a 1930s hospital operation in the hotel run by Norman Baker, who claimed to offer miracle cures for cancer.

Following an examination of the area by the State Police, the Arkansas medical examiner, and an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality HAZMAT team, Arkansas Archeological Survey-UAF research station staff Mike Evans and Jared Pebworth spent several days at the site in April excavating an early- to mid-20th century trench dug to provide a place for burying the specimen bottles.

The salvage operation was, for a brief time, a sensational news item covered by print and broadcast media. Sabo will summarize the curious and sometimes amusing juxtaposition of historical and scientific explanations shaded by tales of ghosts and hauntings offered by hotel staff and proprietors.

Sabo joined the Arkansas Archeological Survey and the University of Arkansas in 1979 after completing his dissertation on Baffinland Inuit adaptations to the ecological impacts of long-term climate changes. He became director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 2013. 

Sabo's research centers on human/environment relationships, expressive culture (art and ritual) among Southeastern Indians from pre-contact to modern times, American Indian interactions with European explorers and colonists in the Southeast, and the anthropology of history in modern Caddo, Osage and Quapaw communities in Oklahoma. Sabo's current projects include a study of 15th-18th century art, ritual and social interaction in the central Arkansas River Valley.

The Pryor Center is located at 1 E. Center St., Suite 120, and parking is available on the Fayetteville Downtown Square. The event is free and open to the public. Go to our website at to add our events calendar to yours.

About the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History: The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is an oral history program with the mission to document the history of Arkansas through the collection of spoken memories and visual records, preserve the collection in perpetuity, and connect Arkansans and the world to the collection through the Internet, TV broadcasts, educational programs, and other means. The Pryor Center records audio and video interviews about Arkansas history and culture, collects other organizations' recordings, organizes these recordings into an archive, and provides public access to the archive, primarily through the website at The Pryor Center is the state's only oral and visual history program with a statewide, seventy-five county mission to collect, preserve, and share audio and moving image recordings of Arkansas history.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


William A. Schwab, executive director
Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History


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