HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, ARKANSAS, everyone knows is particularly blessed with the famous springs - both hot and cold - and the charm of its setting in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains.
Many people still think of the great Spa as a watering place where millions have sought and received relief from a multitude of ailments. Thru the centuries the springs have never once ceased their work of healing - bringing health to the ill and keeping the well fit. Hot Springs also offers every pleasure of outdoor life; championship golf courses, fast tennis courts, speed boats, canoe and sailboats, fine all year 'round fishing for the water sportsman and Lakes Catherine and Hamilton; invigorating swimming in the spring fed pools; miles of mountain trails, bridle paths and drives unfolding beautiful vistas and the sport of kings - horse racing - has been revived with a spring meet on the calendar of events at Oaklawn.
Hot Springs, Arkansas was a popular spring training destination for baseball players in the early part of the 20 th century. The town’s natural, spring-fed mineral hot pools made it a resort destination, and many hotels and baths were built around this tourist draw.
While entire baseball teams did their pre-season training (Spring Training) in Hot Springs (see list below), individual players made the journey there on the way to their regular spring training sites in the south. They would 'boil out,' or lose excess weight gained in the off-season, in the baths. They also took hikes in the area's rolling hills and crisp air.
Hot Springs was also a gathering place for ballplayers, where they could re-connect with others they had not seen since the end of the last season. Since formal Spring Training began around March 1, Hot Springs started bubbling with baseball activity in mid February.
Unless otherwise noted, these postcards are circa 1950. Many of these hotels and baths date back to the turn of the century.
|Major League Baseball Teams:
Spring Training in Hot Springs, Arkansas
|Pittsburgh Pirates||1901-16, 1920-23|
|Boston Red Sox||1909-10, 1912-18, 1920-23|
|St. Louis Cardinals||1909-10|
|Brooklyn Dodgers||1910-12, 1917-18|
|St. Louis Browns||1911|
|Courtesy of TOTAL BASEBALL 6. Article by Myles Friedman.|
The fame of the thermal waters reached Washington and it was in 1832 that by a special Act of Congress that the first National Park was created for the purpose of protecting these waters for the people of the nation as a health and recreation center for all time.
Despite the fact that records show Hot Springs has passed the century mark as a federal possession and legend labels the Spa generations old, Uncle Sam's first National Park is a modern thriving and progressive city of 33,000 citizens catering to an annual visiting population of over 300,000 health and pleasure seekers.
The actual definite age of the place is really unknown and scientists disagree on the specific source of the thermal health giving waters which flow from 47 springs at the base of Hot Springs Mountain.
It is known however, that Hot Springs, the city, takes its name from the boiling waters which flow at the rate of almost a million gallons a day to furnish the palatial bath houses. Magnolia bordered "Bath House Row" is the Spa's show place. One of the new show places of Hot Springs is its new two million dollar Army and Navy General Hospital recently completed by the War Department. Another show place of the resort is famous Oaklawn Race Track and plant where the "Sport of Kings" has been revived as an annual Spring feature.
The resort is noted for its excellent hotel facilities with a price range to suit every purse.
Good train service, fine paved highways and an airport make Hot Springs accessible from all parts of the country.
The Interior Department, under which the National Park Service functions is continuously showing its faith in the waters of the Park by a continuous program of improvement.
The headquarters of nearby Ouachita National Forest are also maintained in Hot Springs.