• water flowing over rocks into basin

    Hot Springs

    National Park Arkansas

Fordyce Bathhouse

Light gray glaze colored cherub sitting on a shell shape surrounding a fish head that was a fountain. Surrounding tile is a blue green color

Shell fountain in lobby.

The first floor introduces you to the beauty of the bathhouse. From the lobby's marble and stained glass transoms, to the marble partitions of the bath halls, to the stained glass ceiling in the Men's Bath Hall, you can see why the Fordyce Bathhouse was considered to be the best. This ceramic fountain is at one end of the Fordyce lobby. Spring water flowed from the spout at one time.

The Fordyce Bathhouse operated from 1915-1962, when it closed due to declining business. It remained vacant until reopening as the park visitor center in 1989. Now you can watch an orientation movie and tour.

 
The men's massage room with a narrow bed covered with a white sheet,

Electrotherapy was once part of the massage department offerings.

The Dressing Rooms and Men's Massage Rooms originally dominated the second floor. Now you can see modern exhibits in one of the former dressing rooms. You can watch a 9-minute movie that shows the traditional bath routine.

 
color photo of the Fordyce gym with a maple floor, wood wainscoting, windows on two sides, spring board in the left foreground, parallel bars in the right foreground, rings, leather-covered medicine ball and other equipment if the background

Fordyce Bathhouse Gymnasium

The third floor showcases the Music Room. Its patterned tile floor, stained glass ceiling and Knabe grand piano exude opulence. State Rooms speak of the luxury of relaxation, while the Gymnasium gives a glimpse of the forerunner of modern health clubs.

 
Old black and white photo of two men bowling; each is holding ball ready to roll it down the lane; one man sits in the background

Businessmen enjoying the two lanes at the Fordyce bowling alley.

Historic Fordyce Bathhouse brochure

The Fordyce was the only bathhouse to have a bowling alley. The Fordyce Spring was on display in the basement, too, while other areas were strictly for maintenance of the bathhouse. Today you can still see the Fordyce Spring, the original Otis elevator mechanism and use modern rest rooms.

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.