Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Tour of Hot Springs National Park

We made the easy drive from Tunica to Hot Springs, AR to visit the National Park there. The Hot Springs National Park differs dramatically from any other National Park we have visited. To start with, the park focuses on the springs and buildings rather that large, natural features. Indeed, the park itself is quite small. Still it is very interesting. 

The main feature of the park area is Bath House Row which consists of several buildings which used to be active bath houses using the hot springs of the area. The area was increasingly busy during the early 1900's with the peak visitation coming in the late 1940's. 

 Many thousands of visitors came to the springs for the supposed healing power of the hot springs. This advertising poster from the period gives the idea -- it sure seems clear from this that a bath in the hot springs will heal what ails you!

Back in the Hot Springs heyday, many famous folks paid a visit, from Al Capone to Babe Ruth. We wondered what sort of place today would attract people of such a wide background as the springs seem to have. 

Our walk along the bath house row started with this spring that featured real Hot Springs water! The spring and walk way to the bath houses is right on main street of Hot Springs, which provides an interesting contrast to the tranquil fountain.

The Park Service has restored one bath house called the Fordyce, seen here, to its original grandeur. We were able to tour this bath house and see how folks took a "bath" back in the day. That is a subject for part two of this post. 


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Thanks that goes on the list :)

squawmama said...

We love Hot Springs ~ hope you got a chance to enjoy the pampering at one of the working spas... it is great and not very expensive. The Buckstaff is the best place to go.
Have fun & Travel safe