RFP for Maurice and Libbey Bathhouses
Requests for Proposals for the Maurice and Libbey Bathhouses are being accepted from 7/7/14 to 1/30/15. Click on the "Management" link in the left column for more information.
Hot Springs National Park regrets to announce that the elevator in the Fordyce Visitor Center is closed for maintenance. The upper and lower levels are accessible only by stairways. The elevator will be placed back into service in about 4 to 6 weeks.
2015 Artist-in-Residence Program Cancelled
Due to the 100th anniversary celebration for the Fordyce Bathhouse, there will be no Artist-in-Residence program at Hot Springs National Park for 2015. Check back later next year for announcements and application information for the 2016 AIR program.
National Park Service image from HOSP archives
The first bathhouses were crude structures of canvas and lumber, little more than tents perched over individual springs or reservoirs carved out of the rock. Later businessmen built wooden structures, but they frequently burned, collapsed because of shoddy construction, or rotted due to continued exposure to water and steam. Hot Springs Creek, which ran right through the middle of all this activity, drained its own watershed and collected the runoff of the springs. Generally it was an eyesore-dangerous at times of high water, and mere collections of stagnant pools at dry times. In 1884 the federal government put the creek into a channel, roofed over it over, and laid a road down above it. Much of it runs under Central Avenue and Bathhouse Row today. This allowed room for sidewalks and landscaping in front of the bathhouses, creating the Bathhouse Row you see today.
Here you can link to other information about the changing face of Bathhouse Row.
Did You Know?
In May 1862, Arkansas Governor Henry Massie Rector moved the state government to his hotel and bathhouse located on Hot Springs Reservation, now Hot Springs National Park. That July, the government seat was moved further south to Old Washington for the remainder of the Civil War.