For more than 200 years, men, women and children of all ages have used the hot spring water in therapeutic baths to treat a variety of ailments ranging from rheumatism to arthritis. Originally, hot springs Arkansas evolved into a renowned health resort that it attracted not only the rich and famous, but also health seekers from around the world seeking a cure for their aches and pains. In modern times the park thrives as a recreation area but eight historic bathhouses remain within its confines - on display so that a steady stream of visitors can enjoy the rich history that is now hot springs Arkansas.
What is now known as "Hot Springs National Park" first became United States territory in the early 1800's as part of the historic "Louisiana Purchase". It wasn't long after the first permanent settlers reached hot springs arkansas in 1807 that they were quick to realize the area's potential as a health resort. Progress came quickly, and by the early 1830's a community had sprouted up - - all built to meet the needs of the earliest visitors to hot springs arkansas.
With 47 hot springs on site, the area of hot springs Arkansas earned the nickname "Bathhouse Row". Now fully protected by legislature and no longer catering to the health needs of the general and privileged public, hot springs Arkansas offers a variety of leisure time activities including walking, hiking, trekking, picnicking and just plain sightseeing.
Word traveled quickly, and an immediate stream of tourists and settlers began to take effect on the area with the construction of hot springs hotels and hot spring spa's. In order to protect this one-of-a-kind natural treasure, as well as preserve it for the use of the public, the Arkansas Legislature requested that the springs and surrounding mountains be set aside as a federal reservation. Specifically, President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to protect four tracts of lands including the hot springs. Despite the best of intentions, Congress failed to pass any legislation enforcing its own legislation! And as a result families and businesses continued settling in and around hot springs Arkansas - - establishing stores and hotels around and even over the springs.
At its worst, several private citizens were claiming the springs as their own and by the mid-1800's the United States government was forced to reenact it's jurisdiction over the area. A "Hot Springs Commission" was created to re-confirm the boundaries of hot springs Arkansas Finally, in the late 1800's the hot springs area and the surrounding mountains were officially protected and set aside as the Hot Springs Reservation.
After hot springs Arkansas was established as government property, the area quickly underwent a face-lift, evolving into a spacious and elegant spa city. And although existing bathhouses remained, they were regulated by the superintendent of the Reservation. There would be no more hot springs hotels or hot springs spa in addition to what was already in operation.
What remains now is a product of attention to detail and the need to protect of America's natural resources. How ironic that the same loving care wasn't extended to the lands created as Indian Reservations, which were being established at roughly the same time as the hot springs arkansas.