Hot Springs in Arkansas

Friday, 17 March 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Hot Springs welcome sign © nfu-peng/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hot Springs welcome sign © nfu-peng/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hot Springs is the eleventh-largest city in the state of Arkansas and the county seat of Garland County. The city is located in the Ouachita Mountains among the U.S. Interior Highlands, and is set among several natural hot springs for which the city is named. In 2015 the estimated population was 35,500. The center of Hot Springs is the oldest federal reserve in the United States, today preserved as Hot Springs National Park. The hot spring water has been popularly believed for centuries to possess medicinal properties, and was a subject of legend among several Native American tribes. Following federal protection in 1832, the city developed into a successful spa town. Incorporated January 10, 1851, the city has been home to Major League Baseball spring training, illegal gambling, speakeasies and gangsters such as Al Capone, horse racing at Oaklawn Park, the Army and Navy Hospital, and 42nd President Bill Clinton. One of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States, the Assemblies of God, traces its beginnings to Hot Springs.

Today, much of Hot Springs’s history is preserved by various government entities. Hot Springs National Park is maintained by the National Park Service, including Bathhouse Row, which preserves the eight historic bathhouse buildings and gardens along Central Avenue. Downtown Hot Springs is preserved as the Central Avenue Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city also contains dozens of historic hotels and motor courts, built during the Great Depression in the Art Deco style. Due to the popularity of the thermal waters, Hot Springs benefited from rapid growth during a period when many cities saw a sharp decline in building; much like Miami‘s art deco districts. As a result, Hot Springs’s architecture is a key part of the city’s blend of cultures, including a reputation as a tourist town and a Southern city. Also a destination for the arts, Hot Springs features the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival annually.

Central Avenue Historic District © Brandonrush/cc-by-sa-3.0 Oaklawn Park - Finish line at Arkansas Derby © flickr.com - BroadSports/cc-by-sa-2.0 Quapaw Bathhouse on Bathhouse Row © Library of Congress - Jack Boucher Downtown Hot Springs © Chris Litherland/cc-by-sa-3.0 Downtown Hot Springs © Samuel Grant/cc-by-sa-3.0 Hot Springs welcome sign © nfu-peng/cc-by-sa-3.0 Central Avenue Historic District © Brandonrush/cc-by-sa-3.0 Lake Hamilton © Brandonrush/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Oaklawn Park - Finish line at Arkansas Derby © flickr.com - BroadSports/cc-by-sa-2.0
The city takes its name from the natural thermal water that flows from 47 springs on the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain in the historic downtown district of the city. About 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 L) of 143 °F (62 °C) flow from the springs each day. The flow rate is not affected by fluctuations in the rainfall in the area. Studies by National Park Service scientists have determined through radiocarbon dating that the water that reaches the surface in Hot Springs fell as rainfall 4,400 years earlier. The water percolates very slowly down through the earth’s surface until it reaches superheated areas deep in the crust and then rushes rapidly to the surface to emerge from the 47 hot springs. Hot Springs Creek flows from Whittington Avenue, then is underground in a tunnel beneath Bathhouse Row (Central Ave). It emerges from the tunnel south of Bathhouse Row then flows through the southern part of the city before emptying into Lake Hamilton, a reservoir on the Ouachita River.

The city has been a tourist mecca for generations due to the thermal waters and attractions such as Oaklawn Park, a thoroughbred racing facility; Magic Springs and Crystal Falls theme parks; a fine arts community that has earned the city the No. 4 position among “America’s Top 100 Small Arts Towns”; the Hot Springs Music Festival; and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, held each October at the historic Malco Theater, attracting numerous Academy Award-winning films and producers. Other annual events in town include the Valley of Vapors Festival, the free Hot Springs Jazz Festival in September, the free Hot Springs Blues Festival in September, the downtown Bathtub Races in the spring, the Big Barbecue Cookoff in spring and fall, the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade every March 17, and the outdoor skating rink November through January. Venues for live music are Low Key Arts, Maxine’s, The Ohio Club, The Big Chill, and the Arlington Hotel among many others. Superlift Offroad Vehicle Park hosts the annual Ouachita Jeep Jamboree, an off-road adventure weekend that draws people and their 4×4’s from a dozen states. Educational institutes and conventions are important events in the spa city. Perhaps the most popular of these events is the Hot Springs Technology Institute (HSTI), drawing over 1,300 participants each June. Hot Springs is also home to the annual alternate reality game Midnight Madness, based on the movie from which it gets its name. Teams race throughout the city at night, solving clues based on difficult puzzle and physical challenges. Games last 12 hours or more, with the winning team designing the following year’s game. Founded on Whittington Avenue in 1902, the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo features approximately 200 alligators.

Read more on City of Hot Springs, Hot Springs, arkansas.com – Hot Springs, nps.gov – Hot Springs National Park, Wikivoyage Hot Springs and Wikipedia Hot Springs (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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