Named for early bathhouse owner John Hale, the present Hale Bathhouse is at least the fourth building to use this name. The present Hale Bathhouse is the oldest visible structure on Bathhouse Row. Most of the present structure was completed in 1892, as designed by George and Fremont Orff. A major 1914 remodel by the Little Rock architectural firm of George Mann and Eugene Stern significantly enlarged the red-brick building and modified its style to Classical Revival.The present building has 12,000 square feet on the two main floors. The lobby area was used as a sunroom where guests could relax in rocking chairs. In 1917, one of the hot springs was captured in a tiled enclosure in the basement, and this feature is still in place. This bathhouse also was connected with a thermal cave carved out of the mountainside and used as a “hot room” in the 1890s (it was rediscovered during a 1993 drainage project and is now a federally protected archeological site). In 1939, the building was redesigned by the firm of Sanders, Thompson, and Ginocchio in the Mission Revival style, and the brick was covered in stucco to look as it does today. The Hale closed on October 31, 1978.
After the Civil War ended, a second Hale House was constructed on the present site, with its bathhouse situated on the opposite side of the creek. Sometime before 1882, a Victorian style bathhouse was built on the site by William Nelson, who signed a water lease for the site in 1879. Construction of the new building cost $5,000.
Last updated: March 6, 2018