Before there was a National Park System, Hot Springs was the first area protected by the federal government and set aside for the use of the people.
“Back in the day…” Babe Ruth and hundreds of other baseball greats came here for spring training. The warm weather was good – But – not the reason for choosing this town. There was gambling, lots of bars and the hard partying lifestyle favored by sports stars (then and now) SO the hot mineral baths were part of the therapy – to “wash out the poison” they enjoyed every night.
These were not the only famous visitors – Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and even earlier, the James gang. This was the site of FBI arrests of celebrity criminals caught for gambling in Hot Springs. OK also “hometown of Bill Clinton”
Along the main street fountains steam in the cool air. Some of the old bathhouses are being renovated. There’s a stream running down the hillside into pools.- steam rising from the water all the way down.
On Sunday we tried old style – hot mineral baths in tubs followed by hot packs and icy showers at the Springs Hotel on “Bathhouse Row”. Monday – the upgraded treatment at the serene Quapaw – rosemary spa and hot stone massage. This could become a regular stop on our trips to Texas.