Bathhouse Row

Central Ave. between Reserve and Fountain Sts., in Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Photos 

Bathhouse Row & Grand Promedade, Central Avenue

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress

Map 

Description 

Bathhouse Row comprises one of the few remaining examples of the picturesque health spas of the early twentieth century. The present bathhouses...are the second, and in some cases, third or fourth generation of bathing facilities in this location. The first bathhouse was believed to have been built about 1830. Prior to that time the indigenous Indian cultures had long made use of the springs. The present Bathhouse Row buildings date from about 1911 to 1935, with some later remodelings. Some are in a classic revival or Edwardian Style which began with the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago. Most are in a style which California and Hollywood made popular in the early days of this century, called Spanish Revival. This style is characterized by exterior stucco, natural finish wood, and tile roofs. The eight bathhouses include the Superior, Hale, Maurice, Fordyce, Quapaw (Health Services, Inc.), Ozark, Buckstaff, and Lamar. The National Park Service Visitor Center is the latest building constructed along Bathhouse Row, and the only structure not facing Central Avenue. Built in 1938, it is in a style harmonious with the architecture of the bathhouses. The bathing industry prospered throughout the first half of this century because the waters were considered to be the cure for various ailments. Hot Springs and Bathhouse Row became a regional center for many sorts of therapy as well as an entertainment center. The buildings saw their peak of operations in 1946..." Following World War II, "(m)odern drugs began to supplant the importance of the therapeutic waters, however, and the bathing industry began a steady decline. ..." National Park status has been important to the preservation of Hot Springs Bathhouse Row. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS AR-28)

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 13, 1974
Reference number
74000275
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival; Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Mission/Spanish Revival; Other architectural type; Edwardian
Areas of significance
Health/Medicine; Architecture
Level of significance
National
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
District
Historic function
Resort
Current functions
Park; Resort
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1925-1949
Significant years
1892; 1935; 1946
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 9
Contributing structures: 1

Sources