A Little Journey to The Maurice Baths

Booklet and pictures courtesy of Dick Blacher. Comments by Paul Jackson.

A Little Journey to the Maurice Baths

By Elbert Hubbard, 1915

This booklet measures 8" x 6"  The Maurice Baths and Therapeutic Pool is located in Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. Fabulists once tied Hot Springs into the whole Fountain of Youth mythology because Spanish explorers, including Hernando DeSoto, passed through the region in the 16th Century. The federal government saw some value in the hot springs as early as 1803, when the territory became part of the Louisiana Purchase. This is the oldest park in the national park system. In 1832, it became the Hot Springs Reservation and there was not even an Interior Department at that time. The Interior Department came along in 1849. Unfortunately for Hot Springs boosters, Yellowstone usually gets credit for being the first official national park, due to a string of technicalities, including the fact that Hot Springs Reservation wasn't named "national park" until 1921.
For several years after the government designated the hot springs area as a reservation, it neglected to define definite boundaries. In the mid-1800s, the feds began exerting more control over the reservation, after bathhouses began to spring up and their owners feuded over land claims and property rights. The first structures were crude, wooden spas, subject to fires and rot. Hot Springs Creek ran through the middle of town, collecting hot spring runoff, occasionally flooding or forming stagnant puddles. In 1884, the government covered the creek and laid a road over it. The baths that existed at Hot Springs National Park were:
The Lamar, the Ozark, the Quapaw, the Fordyce, the Maurice, the Hale and the Superior.

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