Splendor in the Spa City
In this post, we're highlighting one of our current projects, the Arlington Hotel. Abutting Hot Springs National Park and just down the street from historic Bathhouse Row, the Arlington Hotel's grand edifice is a prominent reminder of the history of Hot Springs. Read on to learn more about this spectacular building.
The Arlington Hotel is, in fact, the third version of the hotel. The first Arlington Hotel, a four-story, frame building, was built across from the present building in 1882. The second Arlington Hotel, a larger, 4 ½ story, 300-room brick building, was designed by architects Alexander Mair Stewart, Craig McClure, and Louis Christian Mullgardt in 1893. Fire plagued much of Hot Springs in the early 1900s, and the second Arlington Hotel fell prey to one such disaster in 1923.
The Arlington Hotel, as it stands now, was completed in 1925, across the intersection from where the first two iterations sat. The grand building was completed in just one year- a true marvel in construction, even by today's standards. Adjusted for inflation, construction of the Arlington Hotel cost over $35 million, making it one of the most expensive hotels of the 1920s, and a testament to Hot Springs' glitz and glamor at the time. George Mann and Eugene Stern designed the building along with numerous other bathhouses along Hot Springs’ Bathhouse Row from 1910s-1920s. Mann was a prominent 20th century Arkansas architect who also designed the Arkansas State Capitol. Scroll through the slideshow below to watch the rapid construction of the Arlington Hotel.
In the 1920s, when the current iteration of the Arlington Hotel was completed, Hot Springs was a destination for health seekers who came to "take the waters" of the hot springs, believing the spring waters could heal a vast array of ailments, such as arthritis, eczema, dementia, and high blood pressure as well as balance energies and emotions in the body. Hot springs were also popular with professional athletes in the 1920s and many baseball players spent their off seasons and spring trainings at hot spring resorts. The Arlington Hotel and Bathhouse was frequented by numerous notable figures; Al Capone regularly rented out the entire fourth floor. Other notable guests include Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, and former governor of Arkansas, Joe T. Robinson.
Hot Springs is still a destination for travelers looking for a historic getaway and a little relaxation at one of the bathhouses. We are excited to watch the transformation of this splendid landmark and proud to be a part of the team. We can't wait to "take the waters" at the rehabilitated Arlington Hotel when this project is complete!