Thursday, April 05, 2012

Historic Fordyce Bathhouse


Since I posted a birds eye view of “bath house row” on yesterdays blog, I thought it would be fitting to post information about the inside of a bath house.    The rich and poor came many miles to experience the hot mineral springs in the 1800’s and the city of Hot Springs built up around them. 

Very early on the stagecoach would travel between Little Rock and Hot Springs bringing folks in search of healing waters.   It is a distance of 55 miles and would take one and a half days to travel.

In the early 1900’s eight very elegant bathhouses were constructed all in a row.  Only one, the Buckstaff Bath, is still in operation.

As luck would have it the Fordyce Bath House (the most elaborate) also serves as the visitor center.   The building has been renovated to it’s original splendor and a free self guided tour is available for viewing.   Today’s blog has quite a few pictures to upload, so I am posting them in small format.   For those that may not be aware, you may double click any picture and it will open for larger viewing.  The first pictures are of the main lobby which is marble with intricate tile flooring and stain glass windows.


The next  pictures  are of the women’s  bath areas, dressing rooms, cooling room, hydro-therapy and steam room.


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even a beauty parlor…(little blurred)


The center section  of the main floor was a very large area for the men with a statue under a large stain glass canopy. 



The second floor housed both the men’s and women’s dressing rooms as well as a separate roof top courtyard area for nude bathing and a sitting parlor.  Interestingly enough the women’s nude bathing area was shielded from sunlight in order for them to retain the, then popular, fair skin.



The third floor housed the gymnasium and a music room for socializing .



How different life is today.  


  1. I sure hope you're going to take the time for (or be able to do) a spa treatment. I found it an unforgettable experience! Well worth the money. :)

    1. Yeah Judy, we are checking into it. Do you have any suggestions?

  2. Wow - What a fantastic tour. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and experiences.

    I also love your header picture of those gorgeous bluebells.

    Great job on the blog!


    1. Thank you Sharon, it was a good day for us and although there were several floors, the visitor center is wonderfully handicap accessible. I wanted to welcome you as a new follower to our blog. I have enjoyed becoming acquainted with folks through their writings. Happy Easter to you and the Cowboy.

  3. Great pictures. The stained glass is just beautiful. The gym sure looks different from the gyms of today.

    1. Donna the entire ceiling of the music room was panels of stained glass across the room but for some reason the sun shine didn't show them off like some of the others. It was an interesting peek at life 100 years ago for the rich and famous. Very interesting

  4. stunning place.
    whenever I see one of the sit down sauna's all I can see is Lucille Ball with the towel
    around her head and yelling for Ricky. :-)

    1. Yeah Donna that is when humor was really humor. I remember that too. It was a good day

  5. About 20 years ago I went to one of the bath houses in Little Rock. I had the "works" and it was wonderful.


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