Hot Springs National Park Turns 100 Today—The Oldest Protected Park in the Country
Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas has a number of festivals and events to celebrate its 100th birthday.
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189 years ago, on the slopes of Hot Springs Mountain in the town of Hot Springs Arkansas, the first-ever piece of United States land was protected forever—40 years before Yellowstone became the first national park.
Today, Hot Springs National Park will celebrate its centennial: having been converted from a “Reservation” to a National Park in 1921. It protects 5,500 acres of forested hillsides sitting over a fault line that, over the course of thousands of years, turns rainwater to 143° Fahrenheit, and sends it rushing out of the ground.
Now a bit of history: Hot Springs National Park is the only park that is mandated to freely give away its most plentiful resource, and members of surrounding communities regularly come and fill up jugs of water from the hot springs.
Bathhouse Row, where eight different buildings host swimming pools of the warm water, is a National Historic Landmark, and for decades it was the most visited natural spa in the country.
Hot Springs was the first location ever chosen by a Major League Baseball team for a “Spring Training,” too, and legends like Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Satchel Page, and others all prepared for the season here—enjoying the ability to rest and recover in the spas after training.