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Travel

A Conversation with Hot Springs National Park Ranger Miguel Marquez

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Tom Wilmer
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An old bathhouse in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas.

  Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas is just an hour from the Capital City of Little Rock, but it’s light years away. 

Native American Indians were here first, but by the 1830s, western migration had brought settlers and attendant out of control development of healing hot spring hotels.

The Federal Government, cognizant of the propensity for despoliation, sought to preserve the area’s unique natural allures through an act of congress in 1832 with a formal designation as the Hot Springs Reservation recreation area.

By the 1880s professional baseball leagues from around America started coming to Hot Springs, creating the country’s first Spring Training destination, long before the popularity of Florida and Arizona training camps.

Spring training continued on Hot Springs right up through the mid-1940s.

Hot Springs was designated a National Park in 1921, but that didn’t stop mobsters such as Al Capone and bank robbers such as Bonnie & Clyde, and the Barker Gang from coming to town to savor the thermal healing spa resorts, and the gambling joints and the brothels just across the street from the National Park’s border.

Hot Springs is also Bill Clinton’s hometown, and he frequently returns for visits. ?

Join Correspondent, Tom Wilmer at Hot Springs National Park for a visit with, Park Ranger, Miguel Marquez.

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