History & Culture
National Park Service image from HOSP archives
Hot Springs National Park has a long and colorful history, beginning long before its designation as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832. American Indians came here for thousands of years to quarry novaculite for their tools and weapons. The Dunbar-Hunter Expedition came here in 1804, sent by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the southern reaches of the Louisiana Purchase. Soon a bustling town grew up around the hot springs to provide services for health seekers. The resultant bathing industry led to Hot Springs becoming known as the "American Spa."
A Brief History of Hot Springs National Park (Word document)
Hot Springs National Park Through the Years: A Chronology of Events (You need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this.)
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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.