• water flowing over rocks into basin

    Hot Springs

    National Park Arkansas

Samuel W. Fordyce

SamFordyce_small

Samuel Fordyce seated in automobile in front of the new Fordyce Bathhouse, circa 1915-1919

Image from Hot Springs National Park archives

Businessman and railroad magnate Samuel Wesley Fordyce (1840-1919) was a key figure in the early development and promotion of Hot Springs as an international spa and resort. He first visited town in 1873 seeking a cure for lingering health problems caused by wounds received while serving in the Civil War. Fordyce was so impressed with the healing thermal waters that he moved his family here to live in 1876.

Fordyce saw the potential of Hot Springs as a world-class health resort and proceeded to do all he could to develop the place and promote the curative powers of its thermal water. He invested heavily in the infrastructure of Hot Springs, partnering in the construction of several large hotels, the city opera house, all municipal utility systems, the street railway system, the local country club, and several bathhouses. He opened the opulent Fordyce Bathhouse in 1915, which today serves as the Visitor Center for Hot Springs National Park.

Did You Know?

Gulpha Creek in fall, below campground amphitheater, with bridge over Gorge Road in right background

The name Gulpha Creek is a corruption of the French name for the stream. Explorer William Dunbar reports the name "Fourche á Calfat" in the journal of his visit in 1804. Calfat eventually became Gulpha.