Hot Springs takes its name from the forty-seven natural hot springs along Central Avenue. These mineral springs flow with hot water, which is then artificially cooled from its natural temperature of 143 degrees and pumped into nearby bathhouses and hotels at a more comfortable level. Hernando Desoto explored the region in AD 1541, and found the Native Americans already enjoying the benefits of the “Valley of the Vapors.” In 1804, Thomas Jefferson sent an expedition to the area to explore the Ouachita River. Because the area has so much to offer, tourists contribute more than $300 million annually to the local economy.
For horse racing fans, Hot Springs celebrates Arkansas’ “fifth season” each year. Thoroughbred races take place at Oaklawn Park and Casino, a major track with many horses qualifying for the Kentucky Derby, from January to April.
As early as the mid- to late-1800s, Hot Springs had been involved in illegal gambling. During this realm of local rule, hotel rooms, saloons, and back alleys were the hotspots for cards and craps and casino-type gaming of all kinds. Hot Springs offered Las Vegas-style amenities before there was a Las Vegas.
Visiting Hot Springs, Arkansas, today, it’s hard to imagine the city as a hotbed for organized crime, such as gambling and bootlegging. But from the late-1800s through the mid-1900s, especially in the 1930s, Hot Springs was a popular hangout for Al Capone, Bonnie & Clyde, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, and other infamous mobsters. The safe, secluded, and scenic location of Hot Springs made it the ideal hideout. In order to understand how and why they chose this site, it’s necessary to reflect on the corruption that had been going on here for decades.
A time when ladies and gentlemen welcomed the evenings with a promenade past stately hotels and thermal baths, which lined Central Avenue. “Bathhouse Row” saw its heyday from the late 1800s to the first few decades of the 1900s, and much of the historic downtown district is well-preserved and being restored as part of the National Park. The thermal baths are still a local attraction for visitors who come to relax in the healing waters. While here, tourists also enjoy shopping in the art galleries and antique stores that line Central Avenue.
The history of Hot Springs is also spiced with a colorful reputation for entertainment which attracted many famous visitors like Theodore Roosevelt, and Hollywood celebrities. Early 1900’s major league baseball teams and players, such as Babe Ruth, came to Hotsprings for spring training and the healing thermal waters.
Hot Springs Village is located twelve miles north of Hot Springs and forty miles west of Little Rock. To date, more than 100,000 people have chosen to become a part of one of nine Cooper “villages,” and Hot Springs Village is the most financially successful of the residential developments. HSV is autonomously managed by an elected Board and the people of the HSV Property Owners Association.
The first lot was sold in Hot Springs Village in May of 1970. The initial development consisted of about 4,000 acres; today, it spans across more than 26,000 acres in the foothills of the beautiful Ouachita Mountains. Hot Springs Village has 13,500 permanent residents and 35,000 property owners. Approximately 30% of the development is reserved for protecting natural green spaces. Property owners are attracted to its crystal-clear clean lakes and its nine championship golf courses.
Although Hot Springs Village has “village” in its name and in its spirit, it encompasses 26,000 acres, which is hardly small. Residents of the area enjoy its quiet, private, and serene, wooded location, as well as its proximity to Hot Springs and Little Rock. We welcome diversity and both singles and family residents and property owners regardless of age, race, national origin, sex, gender, religion, or economic demographic. Some of us are actively working, and some are retired. There seems to be something for everyone.
While we have some extravagant homes, housing prices start at $80,000.