History of the Quapaw
The Quapaw was built in a Spanish Colonial Revival style and sits on the site of two previous bathhouses, the Horseshoe and Magnesia. It was established in 1922 and named after a Native American tribe that once held land in the area.
Native Americans, early European explorers, and visitors from around the world have come to the mineral-rich natural hot springs to bathe in the healing waters. Early explorers gave the first detailed account of bathing in the hot springs : “We found at the Hot Springs an Open Log-Cabin and a few huts of split boards, all calculated for summer encampment, and which have been erected by persons resorting to the Springs for the recovery of their health”. Long before the bathhouse row as we know today was conceived the first bathing spots were basically “dugout pools” with planks stretching across for seats.
In the 1800's and early 1900's
there were very few therapies for diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis, so doctors across the country recommended the healing waters of Hot Springs to cure their ailments. The minerals naturally in the waters, combined with its warm temperature, were credited in granting the water its therapeutic properties. The healing properties of the water drew war veterans from the Civil War through World War II looking for cures to their diseases.
The Hot Springs bathing industry in deteriorated after World War II mainly due to modern medicine. The Quapaw closed its doors in 1968, and would reopen in 1969 as Health Services, Inc., only to close again in 1984.