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."