Hot Springs is known for it’s spring water and bath houses. There are fountains and natural pools all around the little town with hot water flowing out. It comes out really hot- too hot to sneak in at night and sit in it au natural. We learned about the bath house industry that started in the mid 1800’s. People used to go to bath houses or hospitals when they were sick and many times they would get better results at the bath houses. Doctors would write people prescriptions for a series of bath regiments. It was mostly a cure that only rich people could afford. Besides baths, sick people would get colonics, light therapy, steams, mercury rubs, mild electric shocks…and a variety of other pseudo-medical treatments. As hospitals and modern medicine evolved, the bath houses pretty much became obsolete as medical facilities. We took a ranger-lead tour of the restored Fordyce Bathouse that was restored by the National Park.
Coincidentally, Mountain Valley Spring Water is bottled around here so we bought a bottle and did a water taste test to see if the spring water was better or the pricey hipster water was better. Well…they were tied. But it’s so cool because the town has a place where people can get free spring water. The man in the photo says he comes once a month and take home 60 gallons at a time.