National Park Service Shares Wild Throwback Sign Posted at Hot Springs National Park

by Lauren Boisvert
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(Photo by Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty Images)

Hot Springs National Park, located in Garland County, Arkansas, is home to many beautiful bathhouses, thermal springs, mountains, and creeks, all right near the city of Hot Springs. Recently, the National Park Service brought one of the park’s more interesting vintage signs to the public’s attention. They posted a photo of a sign display on Instagram, highlighting one in particular.

‘“Listen… if you don’t want me urinating in the vapor, then you’re gonna need to hang up a sign,'” the post began. The sign in question: “Please Do Not Urinate in Vapor.” Kind of a given, right? Apparently, a sign needed to be made. “Signs like these were put up inside the bathhouses to help create a serene and healthy environment for the early patrons to enjoy their bathing experience,” the NPS continued. “More like medical facilities, people usually came to the houses with doctor prescriptions to help treat a particular ailment. Many health restrictions and rules still apply in the active bathhouses today.”

There are a few bathhouses that are still in use today on historic Bathhouse Row. There’s the Buckstaff Bathhouse, which opened in 1912 and has never closed fully since its inception. Additionally, there’s the Quapaw Bathhouse, built in 1922, which is more of a modern-day spa facility. It includes thermal pools, private baths, and a steam cave, according to the NPS.

There are also 26 hiking trails in the park. They’re mostly short and interconnected, like the Hot Springs Trail and North Mountain Trail. Hot spring water runs down Hot Spring Mountain near Tufa Terrace Trail as well. Plus, Sunset Trail is a longer path that goes through more remote park areas.

National Park Service Posts Humorous Vintage Sign from Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas

The National Park Service continued its post with a little history of Hot Springs National Park. “Nicknamed ‘The American Spa,'” they wrote, “Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas has cultivated quite a reputation as a natural destination of healing and relaxation. The first bathhouses to take advantage of the hot water supply were essentially brush huts and log cabins placed over excavations cut in the rocks. Soon, more elaborate facilities were developed.”

The post included a photo of Bathhouse Row, a street consisting of eight bathhouse buildings built between 1892 and 1923. Visitors can walk along the Grand Promenade and admire the historic architecture, or book a soak at Buckstaff or Quapaw. In addition to those two historic buildings, there’s Ozark Bathhouse built in 1922, Fordyce built in 1915, Maurice from 1912, Superior from 1916, and Hale, the oldest surviving bathhouse, built in 1892.

There are parks within Hot Springs National Park, and bathhouses to soak in when you’re tired and sore after a hike. Just remember that the rules are the same in 2022 as they were in 1892: Please Do Not Urinate In Vapor.

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