1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hot Springs (Arkansas)

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HOT SPRINGS, a city of Arkansas, U.S.A., the county-seat of Garland county, at the easterly base of the Ozark mountains, 55 m. by rail W.S.W. of Little Rock. Pop. (1880) 3554; (1890) 8086; (1900) 9973, of whom 3102 were of negro descent and 561 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 14,434. The transient population numbers more than 100,000 annually. Hot Springs is served by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Little Rock & Hot Springs Western, and the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern railways. The city lies partly in several mountain ravines and partly on a plateau. A creek, flowing through the valley but walled over, empties into the Ouachita river several miles from Hot Springs. The elevation of the surrounding hills is about 1200 ft. above the sea and 600 above the surrounding country. The scenery is beautiful, and there is a remarkable view from a steel tower observatory, 150 ft. high, on the top of Hot Springs mountain. The climate is delightful. The average rainfall for the year is about 55 in. The springs are about forty-four in number, rising within an area of 3 acres on the slope of Hot Springs mountain. They are all included within a reservation held by the United States government, which (since 1903) exercises complete jurisdiction. The daily flow from the springs used is more than 800,000 gallons. Their temperature varies from 95° to 147° F. The waters are tasteless and inodorous, and contain calcium and magnesium bicarbonates, combinations of hydrogen and silicon, and of iodides, bromides and lithium. The national government maintains at Hot Springs an army and navy hospital, and a bath-house open gratuitously to indigent bathers. The business of Hot Springs consists mainly in caring for its visitors. Fruit-raising and small gardening characterize its environs. There are sulphur, lithia and other springs near the city, and an ostrich farm and an alligator farm in the suburbs. The finest of the novaculite rocks of central Arkansas are quarried near the city. The total value of its factory product in 1905 was $597,029, an increase of 213.1% since 1900.

The Springs were first used by the itinerant trappers. They were visited about 1800 by French hunters; and by members of the Lewis and Clark party in 1804 under instructions from President Thomas Jefferson. The permanent occupation of the town site dates only from 1828, though as early as 1807 a temporary settlement was made. In 1876 Hot Springs was incorporated as a town, and in 1879 it was chartered as a city. In 1832 Congress created a reservation, but the right of the government as against private claimants was definitely settled only in 1876, by a decision of the United States Supreme Court. The city was almost destroyed by fire in 1878, and was greatly improved in the rebuilding.