Hot Springs as described in 1877 
Hot Springs, a town and capital of Garland County, Arkansas, is situated about 45 miles southwest of Little Rock, and 6 miles north of the River, in a wild and picturesque mountain-region. It is built principally in the narrow valley of Hot Spring Creek, running north and south between the Ozark Mountains, and contains, besides the hotels, 3 schools, 5 churches, 2 weekly newspapers, and a permanent population of about 1,500. The town itself and the surrounding hillsides are embowered in trees, and present a very picturesque and inviting appearance. The valley in which the town is situated is about a mile and a half long, and very narrow, and has an elevation of about 1,500 feet above the sea. In the middle of the day the sunbeams are like a blaze, but an almost constant cool and refreshing breeze renders the atmosphere cool and agreeable even in summer. The disappearance of the sun behind the mountain tops is followed by a lovely twilight, such as is found in but few other places. The springs, 57 in number, issue from the western slope of the Hot-Spring Mountain, which lies on the east side of the valley. They vary in temperature from 93° to 160° Fahr., and discharge into the creek upward of 500,000 gallons of water every 24 hours—about 350 gallons per minute. Fifty-four of the springs have been tested in temperature, but there are many under the roads and ledges that cannot be tested without too great labor. The largest spring discharges 60 gallons a minute at a temperature of 150°, which will cook eggs in 15 minutes. The water of the springs is very clear, pure, transparent, and almost tasteless, and does not deposit sediment by standing. It is taken both internally and externally, and a great number of bathing houses have been constructed for the use of invalids. The vapor laths stand at 112°; the douche, a spirit-bath, at 120°; and the saving oath at 116°. The amount of hot water discharged into the creek renders it sufficiently warm for bathing purposes in midwinter. When taken internally, the waters of the springs have an aperient and tonic effect, are rapidly absorbed into the circulatory system, and are beneficial in nearly all diseases of the blood. Taken both internally and in the form of baths, they have performed many wonderful cures of rheumatism, rheumatic gout, stiffness of the joints, mercurial diseases (arising from the effects of mercury in the system), malarial fevers, scrofula, and diseases of the skin. Of the thousands suffering from these ills who flock to the Hot Springs yearly, many recover entirely, while those who do not achieve a cure experience great relief.
A heavy fog hangs continually over the springs and upon the sides of the mountains, giving the neighborhood the appearance, at a little distance, of a number of furnaces in active operation. Near the edges of the springs is found, luxuriantly growing, a species of green algae, which seems to delight in these natural hot-beds; while the mountain-slopes are covered with luxuriant vines, whose growth is perpetually stimulated by the condensation of the vapor. The air is warm and very moist, and for this reason the valley should be shunned by consumptives, and all who are suffering from pulmonary or throat diseases.
The United States Government has a disputed claim to the "Hot Springs reservation," and it is hoped and expected that, should it succeed in getting possession, it will make the valley a great sanitary resort free to the people.