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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Hot Springs National Park - Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park is an American national park in central Garland County, Arkansas, adjacent to the city of Hot Springs, the county seat. Hot Springs Reservation was initially created by an act of the United States Congresson April 20, 1832, to be preserved for future recreation. Established before the concept of a national park existed, it was the first time that land had been set aside by the federal government to preserve its use as an area for recreation. The hot spring water has been popularly believed for centuries to possess medicinal properties, and was a subject of legend among several Native American tribes. Following federal protection in 1832, the city developed into a successful spa town.


Incorporated January 10, 1851, the city was known in the early 20th century as the home to Major League Baseball spring training, illegal gambling, speakeasies during the Prohibition era, and gangsters such as Al Capone, horse racing at Oaklawn Park, the Army and Navy Hospital, and 42nd President Bill Clinton. The area was established as a national park on March 4, 1921. Until the redesignation of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial as Gateway Arch National Park in 2018, Hot Springs was the smallest national park by area in the United States. Since Hot Springs National Park is the oldest park maintained by the National Park Service, it was the first to receive its own US quarter in April 2010 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters coin series.


By act of Congress in 1921, the site's name was officially changed from the Hot Springs Reservation to Hot Springs National Park. The government acquired more land, expanding it to more than 900 acres, including Hot Springs Mountain, North Mountain, West Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Whittington Lake Park. It later was expanded to 5,000 acres.


The springs are grouped about the base of the Hot Springs Mountain, with a flow of well over a half million gallons a day. The hot water is supplied to the various bathhouses, known as Bathhouse Row, the home to the Park's historic bathhouses with resulting income from concession fees going to the U.S. Treasury. The park has miles of roads and trails over the mountains. The park is open throughout the year.

Coversations/Things we learned:


This national park records the history of the hot springs and bath houses which were made famous by historical figures in the 20th century. The park is also part of a Native American reservation. As of the date of this post, the National Parks Service manage the Fordyce, Quapaw, Ozark, and Buckstaff Bath Houses. The Fordyce Bath House serves as the visitor center and a museum, reflecting how the bath houses looked and operated in the 20th Century. The Ozark and Buckstaff Bath Houses still operate and visitors can pay to soak in hot spring waters in individual tubs. The Lamar Bath House serves as the gift center and visitors can drink cooled spring water there.


Contact Information:

Park location and contact:


101 Reserve Street

Hot Springs, AR 71901


Phone: (501) 620-6715


Web page





Visitor Center

Fordyce Bath House

 

Gallery of photos




Quapaw Bath House

 




Ozark Bath House

 




Buckstaff Bath House

 


Gallery of photos




Lamar Bath House and Gift Shop

 

Gallery of photos




Trails and Park Area

 

Gallery of photos



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