Hot Springs, Arkansas
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Hot Springs is located in the central portion of what is today the US state of Arkansas. Hot Springs is situated in the Ouachita Mountains among the U.S. Interior Highlands, set among several natural hot springs. These, of course, are where the city has derived its name. Historically, these hot springs have been touted for their medicinal and spiritual powers by local Native American groups. Since 1673, the area had been under the control of the French and then Spanish, but on August 24th, 1818, the Quapaw peoples ceded it to the United States. In 1832, the US Congress created the Hot Springs Reservation. It would be renamed Hot Springs National Park in 1921. As for the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, its streets would not be lain out until the federal government stepped in on April 24th, 1876 – following a decision by the US Supreme Court, which made Hot Springs’s land title property of the federal government.
According to a 2010 estimate by the US Census Bureau, modern day Hot Springs, Arkansas has a total population of 35,193 people. This makes Hot Springs the eleventh most populous city in the state of Arkansas. The Hot Springs metropolitan area, according to that same 2010 estimate, has a total population of 96,024 people.
Hot Springs, Arkansas is well known as being the hometown of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States. Otherwise, however, the city’s main claim to fame (and its primary industry, in fact) is tourism. Hot Springs National Park, originally established on April 20th, 1832, attracts 1,382,589 people annually, according to a 2014 report by the National Parks Service. Hot Springs, often nicknamed “Valley of the Vapors” or “America’s first resort”, is known as such due to Hot Springs National Park’s stature as “the first place where a piece of land was set aside by the federal government to preserve its use as an area for recreation.”
Within Hot Springs National Park is Bathhouse Row. Bathhouse Row is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is considered a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. This collection of bathhouses, associated buildings, and gardens represents an eclectic collection of architectural styles – ranging from neoclassical to renaissance-revival and includes Spanish and Italianate styles. Construction of Bathhouse Row began in 1892 and has continued since then.
Hot Springs Central Avenue Historic District is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is considered a U.S. Historic district. This district also includes many varieties of architectural styles such as international, Greek Revival, and Late Victorian. These buildings were constructed mainly between 1886 and 1930.
As for sports, Hot Springs, Arkansas was once home to Major League Baseball spring training. Now, however, the main sporting focus of the city occurs at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, which has been formerly known as the Oaklawn Park Race Track. Back in 2013, “the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced a rating system for 65 thoroughbred racetracks in North America. Of the top ten, Oaklawn was ranked number seven.” Oaklawn is the site of such races as The Racing Festival of the South, the Apple Blossom Handicap, the Arkansas Derby, the Oaklawn Handicap, Fantasy Stakes, Rebel Stakes, and Southwest Stakes.
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