National Parks Arkansas
Hot Springs National
Congress established Hot
Springs Reservation on April 20, 1832 to protect hot springs
flowing from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain.
This makes it the oldest park currently in the National Park
System--40 years older than Yellowstone National Park.
People have used the hot spring water in therapeutic baths
for more than two hundred years to treat rheumatism and
other ailments. The reservation eventually developed into a
well-known resort nicknamed "The American Spa" because it
attracted not only the wealthy but also indigent health
seekers from around the world.
Today the park protects eight
historic bathhouses with the former luxurious Fordyce
Bathhouse housing the park visitor center. The entire
"Bathhouse Row" area is a National Historic Landmark
District that contains the grandest collection of bathhouses
of its kind in North America. By protecting the 47 hot
springs and their watershed, the National Park Service
continues to provide visitors with historic leisure
activities such as hiking, picnicking, and scenic drives.
Hot Springs Reservation became Hot Springs National Park by
a Congressional name change on March 4, 1921.