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Archive for August 13th, 2012

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Monday, August 13th, 2012

WATER!!! The most precious and the most magical thing in this world! It is significant in both the warm as well as the cooler state. And this warm water is what draws thousands of people to Hot Springs National Park. It’s been in use for the last two centuries here.

It have been used by the Native Americans for many centuries but it was introduced to the New World some two hundred years ago. The various tribes living in the area used to gather here and enjoy the healing properties of the warm water.

The Springs in the modern world were discovered in 1804 and was the destination of the Dunbar-Hunter Expedition sent by President Jefferson. People from all walks of life, irrespective of financial status, came to this place to enjoy and relax in these soothing waters. Slowly a town built around the Hot Springs Reservation and bath houses were also set up. It has been nicknamed as the American Spa and the Hot Springs National Park surrounds the north end of the city.

There are four seasons in Central Arkansas:

Spring & Fall – Mild with Humidity
Summer – Hot & Very Humid
Winters – May vary from below freezing to 60 degree with some humidity

As the years went by, the bathing industry became central to the American Spa. Free bathhouses were set up by the government and the water was used for public health. The Public Health Service Clinic which was run in collaboration with the Government Free Bathhouse was the first facilities to use Penicillin in the United States.

The Hot Springs are a source of naturally warm healing waters which has immense impact on the health of the patients with rheumatism, skin diseases and joint pains. The Congress established the Hot Springs Reservations on April 20, 1832 in order to protect the hot springs flowing from the south-western slope of the Hot Springs Mountains.

This makes the place the oldest park amongst the various National Parks in the country. The reservation eventually was converted into a National Park. It attracted not only the ailing but also the wealthy that came here for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Today there are 8 historic bathhouses which are under the protection of the Park authorities. In fact the former luxurious Fordyce Bathhouse has been transformed into a visitor center. The entire “Bathhouse Row” area is now a National Historic Landmark District. There are a total of 47 Hot Springs which are being protected by the Park. Hot Springs Reservations became Hot Springs National Park on March 4, 1921 after the Congress approved it.

The waters at the Springs contain minerals and gases which leave a pleasant smell and taste. This mineral component combined with the temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit gives the waters whatever therapeutic properties they do possess. Water from the cold springs too is used for drinking and they differ in chemical components and properties. The water gushes out an average rate of 850,000 gallons per day.

The most significant thing about this thermal water is that it is sterile and absolutely free from any kind of bacteria. Earlier they were not covered but now the springs have been covered to prevent contamination. The pure taste and the odorless water of Hot Springs National Park is considered to be the best in the country. The Park also maintains several thermal water jug fountains and 2 cold spring jug fountains which are used by the visitors to fill up and take the water home.