Hot Springs National Park
The Famous Bath Houses
Hot Springs is an American National park found in Arkansas just opposite from the city of Hot Springs. Originally it was the Hot Springs Reservation however in 1921; on the 4Th of March the park became a national Park. This is actually one of the smallest, the smallest in fact, national park through its area size in America today.
It is also one of the oldest Federal Reserve in America; and in 2010, in the month of April, the park received its very own US quarter. This was because of the America the beautiful quarter’s series and it marked a huge history of the park also.
From the west of the slopes of the Hot Spring Mountain, are where the hot springs flow from; these ranges are part of the Quachita Mountain range. However, inside the park, the springs have not actually been preserved. This might sound very strange because they haven’t been preserved in their natural surface but instead have been conserved.
This means that the production of hot water which is un-contaminated is used for the public instead. This is a very strange thing for a national park to do but this is how the park service takes care of it.
However, it is the same with the mountains inside the park also. They are conserved also so that the hydrological system which feeds the springs is preserved and undisturbed. Over the years, people have actually been using the hot spring water for baths; and to help treat things such as rheumatism and a lot of other health problem.
Most of the time, the water is used in therapeutic baths and it really does help for many people today. The American Spa was once what people called the park when it was a reservation area. This helped to bring in the rich and also those who wish to improve their health; and people came from all over the world to do see the hot springs.
The national park does include a part of the downtown Hot Springs; and this does help to ensure that this is going to be one of the most visited parks in America today. It is also one of the easiest national parks to visit also; and there are so many things to see and do here also with the endless camping areas to try out as well as the hiking trails to visit. There are even opportunities for those who wish to, to bath in the spring water; though to do this, there will be a small charge for this.
The Bathhouse Row is a lovely area to visit and this is a National Historic Landmark also. Here are where the many amazing and of course, where the grandest collection of the bathhouses are available. These are some of the very popular throughout the entire North American region; and there are many amazing examples of the Gilded Age architecture also which is fantastic to view. The Fordyce Bathhouse is actually a visitor centre and the only operating bathhouses are the Quapaw and the Buck staff also.
However, in recent years, the park has become more and more popular with people heading to the park more and more. There was a record 1.5 million visitors in the year of 2003 which is very impressive but numbers have gone up to the 2.5 million mark also. More and more people want to view the amazing park and its endless features and learn about the history of the hot springs and just enjoy a great day out also.
The history of the Hot Springs National Park
In 1541, it was a Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto who reached the park; he was the first European traveller to do so. He wanted to explore the Valley of Vapours as what the Native Americans called the area. However, there have been many Native American groups that lived in the area and have been for at least 8000 years. Many of the people loved to live here because of the healing properties that were found with the thermal springs.
During the 18th century, this is when groups such as Cherokee, Choctaw and Caddo settled here. These groups went to one another and made a pact to leave their weapons behind and use the healing waters in the valley without any bloodshed or violence. It was a peaceful time; and the Quapaw used to live in the area of the Arkansas River.
France tried to claim the land in 1673 which they did by Father Marquette however, during the Treaty of Paris in 1763; the land was turned over to the Spanish. However, France reclaimed the land in 1800 before three years later, when the Louisianan Purchase occurred.
It was in 1807 when the first settlers came to Hot Springs; it was Jean Emmanuel Prudhomme. He regained good health after living here for two years bathing in the eternal hot water and eating the local foods also. However, after a few years, he did return to Louisiana; and soon after, Isaac Cates and John Perciful arrived in the area.
It was in 1921 when the Hot Springs Reservation was officially named the Hot Springs National Park by the US Congress. This was almost 900 acres at the times with the North Mountain, West Mountain, Whittington Lake Park, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Hot Springs Mountain all becoming a part of the land. However, it did expand to 5000 acres later on.
At the base of the Hot Springs Mountain is where the springs are found grouped together. There is a huge flow of almost half a million gallons each day. The hot water goes to different bathhouses and this helps to put money into the American Treasury each year also. The Hot Springs National Park is opened all year around and there are many amazing trails and roads that stretch miles.