Arkansas is known for being the Natural State. Hot Springs, Arkansas is chock-full of natural spring water steaming up from the earth. Used for medicinal purposes, the springs have been popular for centuries. Downtown Bathhouse Row is lined with eight historic bathhouses where affluent goers once stayed during the 19th and 20th century. Now a visitors center, the Fordyce bathhouse was the most popular and expensive. The spa included separate bathing quarters for men and women, locker rooms, roof garden, gymnasium and several public rooms for gathering with friends. High-society patrons were treated with the mind, body and spirit considered. The center allows visitors to walk through the variety of wellness rooms of the once operational bathhouse. In the men’s bath hall, elegance and luxury dominates with marble benches and a stained glass ceiling. The community believed that the mineral water was the elixir to better health. The spring water lost some of its popularity in the mid-20th century, which closed the bathhouses doors. The remaining bathhouses are now museums, restaurants or gift shops in the historic national park.
Hot Springs National Park offers its guests and residents free spring water from a few spigots in the downtown area. Whether it’s a tiny paper cup or a five gallon jug, the public still line up to indulge in the geothermally heated spring water. During a cold evening, the downtown is filled with steam rolling out from the spring water pools.
Hot Springs is piled with steamy history. The Gangster Museum of America takes its visitors to the early 1900’s where big time gamblers could soak up the miner water and satisfy their mischievous pleasures. Dueling gangsters fought for the control of the town during the 1880’s, which led to gunfights. Hot Springs became the top destination for gambling. Big time gamblers like Al Capone stayed in Hot Springs for awhile, owning a suite in the Arlington hotel. Although Capone was considered a crime boss his days in Hot Springs were peaceful. The locals also claimed he was a good tipper.
Walking trails surround the