• water flowing over rocks into basin

    Hot Springs

    National Park Arkansas

Return of the Quapaw Bathhouse

Photo of Quapaw Bathhouse from south end, showing front of building. Building is white stucco, Spanish revival style architecture and has a large mosaic dome in center of building

Quapaw Bathhouse

Joe Herron

A Brief History of the Quapaw Bathhouse

The Quapaw sits on the site of two previous bathhouses, the Horseshoe and Magnesia. This bathhouse was erected in 1922 and named after an American Indian tribe that once held land in the area. The Quapaw was built in a Spanish Colonial Revival style with a large tile covered dome that is one of the most recognizable features of historic Bathhouse Row.

The bathing industry in Hot Springs declined after World War II largely due to modern medicine. The Quapaw closed its doors in 1968. It would reopen a year later as Health Services, Inc., but close again in 1984.

 
view of inside Quapaw dome, showing ribbing reinforcements and a metal structure supporting the center

Inside the Quapaw dome

Gail Sears

Rehabilitation

In 2004, the National Park Service began a new phase of rehabilitation of the six unoccupied bathhouses on Bathhouse Row. For the Quapaw this included a new roof, skylights, and HVAC system. The cupola was removed from the top of the dome for repairs while a new compression ring was installed. This compression ring was attached to a steel and concrete ladder system which provides support for the dome. In the basement, large catch basins were built to collect and divert the spring water that would often seep onto the basement floor. While many of the structural problems had been fixed, more work would be needed to make this building ready to lease.

Quapaw Baths, LLC

The National Park Service entered into lease negotiations with Quapaw Baths LLC, a company founded by Hot Springs architects Anthony Taylor and Bob Kempkes and local businessman Don Harper. In April 2007, in concurrence with Hot Springs National Park’s 175th Anniversary, the lease agreement was signed, and work began in August to ready the building to its new use. These partners opened a modern spa in the summer of 2008. The new Quapaw offers pools and hot tubs. Read more about it on the Quapaw Baths's website.

“The reopening of the Quapaw Bathhouse marks the renaissance for Bathhouse Row and will enhance our visitor’s experience at the national park!”
Josie Fernandez, Superintendent Hot Springs National Park

 
pool area in Quapaw shot from one end. On right is tiled lounging area with wooden cots and on left are several connected pools. overhead on right is a curved stained glass window.
Quapaw Baths pool area.
NPS photo by Gail Sears

Did You Know?

Black and white photo of the Government Free Bathhouse with a ranger walking on the sidewalk in front.

The Public Health Service operated a venereal disease clinic in the Government Free Bathhouse (1922-1948) in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. It was one of the first facilities in the United States to use penicillin. In 1948, the clinic transferred to the nearby Camp Garraday Transient Camp.