102. More Than Meets The Eye: The Archeology Of Bathhouse Row,Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
William J. Hunt, Jr.
For many, the oldest “park” managed by the federal government is not Yellowstone National Park (set aside in 1872) but Hot Springs National Park (HOSP) in Arkansas. Congress set aside the hot springs and adjoining mountains here as a federal reservation in 1832 to protect the resource and preserve it for public use. For centuries before this, the hot springs may have used by Native Americans, their occupations having little impact on the resource. But with EuroAmerican use, this began to change. At first, the area around springs saw little change but after the Civil War, development began in earnest. The hot waters from the springs were harnessed and forced to flow to a series of ever larger and more extravagant bathhouses built on the east side of Hot Springs Creek. Native American use and over 210 years of EuroAmerican occupation has created the potential for the existence of significant prehistoric and historic archeological resources at HOSP. Until recently, archeological exploration of the park has been sporadic and this is especially true for Bathhouse Row.