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The city of Hot Springs, Ark., is named for 47 thermal springs flowing from the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain, producing roughly a million gallons of water daily, at 143°F on average. American Indians called this area the Valley of the Vapors for the steam rising into the air each morning. President Andrew Jackson set aside the land as a federal reserve for public use in 1832. By 1873, six bathhouses and 24 hotels and boardinghouses had risen up around the springs for visitors taking advantage of the water’s supposed healing properties.
In 1913, a fire, believed to have started at the Pine Bluff House as Miss Matlock ironed her clothes, burned half the city. Modern Hot Springs rose from its ashes. Eight bathhouses along Central Avenue now form Bathhouse Row, operated since 1921 by the National Park Service. You can fill your water bottle at spring-fed fountains, get a traditional bath at the Buckstaff Bathhouse (a survivor of the 1913 fire), or go for a spa-like experience at the renovated Quapaw Baths and Spa. Learn more about visiting Hot Springs.
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From the May/June 2018 issue of Family Tree Magazine.