Fordyce Bathhouse the crown jewel of Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park. A restored bathhouse that now serves as the national park’s visitor center. Fordyce Bathhouse is returned to its early 20th century grandeur. It provides great insight into what the whole bathhouse scene in Hot Springs was all about.
Decked out, the Fordyce Bathhouse really shows off the opulence of the time. Stained glass windows, marble statues, polished figures were everywhere we looked. The bathhouse is divided up into several specialized areas from dressing rooms to music rooms this place oozed luxury. Even a gymnasium to work the body up before a soak and massage cooled it down. Another thing that will appeal to the history buffs out there is the original Otis elevator that still operates.
Make sure you get up close and personal by walking around the Fordyce Bathhouse. Best choice is the free park ranger tour of the place. The other option, what we did, is a self-guided tour. The bathhouse operated from 1915-1962, and saw its prime time during the 1920s and 30s. The amount of social history in a place like this knocked us off our feet. Being restored to its grander days really made us feel like we were stepping back in time. Giving us a chance to wrap our mind around what a resort town was like at the turn of the 20th century.
The Fordyce Bathhouse is one of the things that makes Hot Springs National Park a unique visit. Most national parks are about the landscape. Hot Springs is more about what the people did with those natural features. If you have the time watch the short orientation video and take the ranger guided tour for the best way to learn about the place. Walking around was a great way to time travel and experience a bygone time in someone else’s shoes. I kept picturing myself walking out my front door turning to the wife and saying, “if you need me I will be at my club.”
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Located at Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs Arkansas
Hours of Operation 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Monday through Sunday closed Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day
Cost as of this Posting: Free
For more information visit their website at https://www.nps.gov/hosp/planyourvisit/fordyce.htm
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