The next day we were off at the crack of 9AM headed for Hot Springs AR and the National Park.
We took Highway 7 in off of I-30. It is a good road although twisty and hilly which doesn't bother me.....this is Arkansas! Passport America gave us another park......very nice.....Treasure Isle for $16.50. I cannot believe I didn't take any pictures there. This is a very nice park, friendly staff, pool, full hookups, shade and non-shade spots, quiet, on the lake only 10-15 minutes from the National Park. Definitely great for a longer stay although we only had one night. We arrived early afternoon so after setting up, we headed into the park.
If you have never been here, you are in for a surprise. The town of Hot Springs is a big part of the park. The RV park manager gave us a map and pointed out the free parking just behind Bathhouse Row which is the main downtown street. Driving my big F250, I opted to park on the upper levels as I'm kind of long.
One of our first sights was this huge mural on the side of a building.
The United States acquired the area through the Louisiana Purchase. In 1832, the federal government set aside four sections of land which was the first U.S. reservation created to protect a natural resource.
Initial bathhouses were wood and canvas tents, then ramshackle wooden buildings. In 1877, after settling all the private claims, the Government took control of the springs. Blueprints for private bathhouses had to be approved and the Government operated a free bathhouse for those unable to pay. By 1921, the springs were very popular with vacationers and health remedy seekers. The Reservation became the 18th National Park. Bathhouse Row was a collection of beautiful and luxurious buildings.
By the 1960s, traditional bathing here was in decline and the bathhouses began to close and fall into disrepair. By 1985, the Buckstaff was the only bathhouse open. In the 1980s, the National Park service began working on ways to return the area to splendor. The Quapaw Baths reopened as a dayt spa with pools and the Ozark Bathhouse opened as the Museum of Contemporary Art of Hot Springs. In 2004, the park service received appropriations to rehabilitate the vacant bathhouses and make them available for lease.
The Fordyce Bathhouse opened in 1989 as the park visitor center and museum. It now looks like it did in the early glory years.
Here you can tour and see exactly what the bathhouses looked like.
Tubs were so deep that a stool was really needed to get in and out.
This shower would hit you from every angle.
Could you imagine sitting here with only your head sticking out?
You have to remember that these were very elegant.
The Visitor's Center is really well done and takes quite a bit of time to see all the exhibits. We saw three floors but ran out of time to see the basement.
Each building along Bathhouse row was unique and different in style.
We had dinner in the Superior Bathhouse which is now a mini brewery and restaurant. It was delicious and the price wasn't too out of line either.
Pedicabs were available for hire by the block.
There were various other shops and museums on the opposite side of the street.
Another beautiful mural on the side of a building.
We also took a drive to the top of the Hot Springs Mountain to see the tower. The view was pretty awesome.