Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023
Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Monday, October 15, 2018

Exploring Hot Springs Historic District in Arkansas - Sun., October 14, 2018

Today was a long day. At 6:00 a.m., Susan Medlin and I left San Antonio and headed north. Thankfully, we missed the two tornadoes that hit Waxahachie, Texas yesterday afternoon. Our drive took us through there today. 

We made good time and arrived at our motel at 3:30 p.m. Immediately after checking in, Susan and I headed into historic Hot Springs, Arkansas, to see if we could make it to the National Park Visitor Center, housed in what was once the Fordyce Bathhouse, before they closed for the day. 

Our plan was to explore Hot Springs this afternoon/evening and then go to Buckstaff Bathhouse Monday morning for a mineral bath and massage. On the way to the Visitor Center, I learned an interesting fact: Hot Springs is on the "Historic Baseball Trail." I didn't even know there was such a thing until now.

Historic Baseball Trail sign.
Hot Springs has hot, steaming water that has been used for thousands of years, starting with the Native Americans. After the Louisiana Purchase, explorers were sent to find out what was on the land that we got in our purchase. Once the hot springs were discovered, the area was developed with a "wild west" type of atmosphere with people claiming land and charging for the privilege of using the hot water. Most of the town's early buildings were wood and we know what happens to those wooden buildings. Fire! 

The original town burned down in the late 1800s. When the town was rebuilt, the materials used were marble, iron, rock, and brick. The claims were that the new spas were as nice as the ones in Rome. A railroad was built to bring in the masses, the main road was landscaped and gentrified. And the masses came in droves to "take the waters," which had minerals that would supposedly cure just about anything that ailed you (which ended up not being true). 

Big murals on our way to the Visitor Center.
Big murals on our way to the Visitor Center.
A cute sculpture.
Buckstaff Bathhouse (where we're going tomorrow).
Ozark Bathhouse
Quapaw Baths
Quapaw Baths entry and dome.

National Park Visitor Center
(formerly Fordyce Bathhouse).
The stained glass is lovely!
About Fordyce Bathhouse
The Visitor Center was open when we arrived, and we started our time there on the main floor. A Park Ranger asked us to visit the upper two floors first because they were getting ready to close them. As soon as we finished the first floor, we headed to the third.

The comfortable lobby at The Fordyce.
The mineral bath.

Ladies Pack Room
In pack rooms, attendants applied carefully timed moist packs to ailing body parts. The hot or cold packs were soaked in natural water. The procedure was considered very beneficial in certain ailments. Visitors usually went from the pack room to the needle-shower (to rinse off perspiration only) before entering the cooling room.

There are also lockers, a parlor room, beauty salon, massage rooms, and a gymnasium.
Stained glass in the ceiling.
Main Assembly Hall (women's parlor was at one end,
the men's parlor at the other end).
Women's Parlor
Men's Parlor
When we finished touring the upper floors, we went down to the basement. There, you can see the actual hot springs through a hole in the foundation.

The hot springs at The Fordyce.

There are very interesting and informative exhibits in the basement. If you haven't been, it's worth going!

After the Visitor Center closed, we wandered around town and found the Grand Promenade, The Arlington Hotel, the Hot Water Cascade, and more art and architecture.
We walked most of this loop.

Grand Promenade -- a beautiful walkway.

The water coming out of the drinking
fountain is HOT!
Water, water everywhere!
We stopped to get ice cream cones. With ice cream cones in hand, we discovered this adorable pocket park with a fountain in the back of it. Pretty lights decorated the trees.

Susan Medlin enjoying her ice cream.

Historic Baseball Trail.
Susan going all gangsta.
Such large, colorful murals in town.
The Arlington Hotel
Historic Baseball Trail.
Bar in the lobby of The Arlington Hotel.
Medical Arts Building.

Sideways strata.
Here's another interesting factoid: Hot Springs was Arkansas's temporary state capital in 1862!

The Hot Cascade
Hot Cascade and pool.
You can see how huge The Arlington Hotel is.
Looking down the Hot Cascade to the hot pool.

After our three-mile "wander" around Hot Springs National Park, we drove to the tower on top of the mountain. It was closed for the day. Supposedly, there are great views of the surrounding area and the town. We'll check it out tomorrow. 

[I would like to mention that there is not a Volksmarch in this town, but there should be. There is so much to see: so many gorgeous houses and buildings, extremely large abandoned buildings and some that are still being used. It would be great to learn about all this. I think it's a shame there isn't a Volksmarch here. Hint, hint.]

Tower Mountain.
With that, we hauled our exhausted selves back to our motel rooms and called it a night! 

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