Often the only part of Hot Springs National Park visitors see is the Historic District on Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was one of the main reasons I began sharing photographs of my hiking adventures within the park. The Historic District along bathhouse row on Central Avenue is actually in Hot Springs National Park. Cross the road and you are in the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. I have combined my first snapshots of the city using a very old camera back in 2009 with current photographs to create a tour of the my new home in Arkansas. From the first day I strolled through the city I felt at home even though I had never imagined myself living in the South. I understand Hill Wheatley’s Love for Hot Springs and am grateful for the land he preserved and donated to the city.
My Husband Rick and I live in a renovated Hotel that was built to accommodate the tourists who came to gamble or rub shoulders with celebrities and gangsters. Hot Springs Historic District was once home to Al Capone, Owney Madden, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Segal, you can still stay in the Al Capone Suite in the Arlington Hotel which overlooks his favorite gambling spot the Southern Club (now the Wax Museum). For a total immersion in Hot Springs Criminal past you can visit the Gangster Museum of America and hang out at the infamous Ohio Club (built in 1905) like Celebrities Mae West, Tony Bennett, Babe Ruth, and Sammy Davis Jr. In 1967 gambling in the Historic District was brought to a halt by Republicans Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and Circuit Judge Henry M. Britt. The Governor sent in state troopers to close the casinos and burn their gaming equipment. The only remaining gambling establishment in Hot Springs is Oaklawn Park (opened in 1905), a thoroughbred horse racing track.
Hot Springs, Arkansas is the perfect location for you next vacation. Hike all day and then have the total spa treatment at the Quapaw, Buckstaff or the Arlington Hotel. Spend an evening at the Ohio Club, Poetry Loft or on on an Art Walk through the Historic Dstrict. A stroll down Central Avenue is a tour of the city’s history including the 1929 Medical Arts Building which was the first Skyscraper in the South. From the 1891 Hay Hotel and the 1893 Southern Club (now the Wax Museum) to the 1910 Mountain Valley Water and 1930 Hotel De Paris (now the R. Groden Studio) you will find an outstanding array of architectural artistry. If you Love tiles the Historic District including Bathhouse row has a wonderful variety in all colors and styles. From the dome on the Quapaw to the decorative fronts on many of the local business and bathroom floors or hotel fountains there are old tiles throughout the city.
Thank You for joining me in the Hot Springs Historic District.