Benjamin F. Kelley

Benjamin F. Kelley
First park superintendent Benjamin F. Kelley

NPS image from park archives

Benjamin Franklin Kelley (1807-1891) was the first superintendent of Hot Springs Reservation, arriving in the park in October 1877. He was a retired brigadier general from the Union army who served during the Civil War and afterward had worked as an internal revenue collector for ten years.

Kelley’s first assignment in Hot Springs was to remove the hundreds of people that had set up camp on Hot Springs Mountain’s western slope, surrounding the various thermal springs. The new encampment established further south on the mountain was called “Kelleytown.” General Kelley also established the first park headquarters and office building on Fountain Street and created plans for the first thermal water reservoirs designed to supply the growing number of bathhouses in the park. He retired due to poor health in December 1882.

Last updated: November 9, 2017

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