Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Eastward, Ho! Day 18: The Gangster Museum and The Hot Springs National Park

 We toured two tourist sites today as the title states.  Both are located close to each other in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Convenient.

But first, a picture of our campsite, #34:

First up was the Gangster Museum of America.  Not a lot of gangster paraphernalia per se, but lots of photos and information given out by the guy leading the tours.  Still, worth taking the tour and its not too expensive.  It gives you a background of Hot Springs and its relation to all the gangsters that regarded it as "Neutral Ground" and would vacation there.

The fact that gambling, prostitution and other vices were actively but covertly encouraged by the Mayor and his government, helped a lot to draw the gangsters of course!  

Owney Madden, the English Godfather
A gangster who successfully retired and went "legit"

The First Boys of Spring, that's how the baseball players who came to Hot Springs for Spring Training were referred as.  If I recall things correctly, all the players shown below (to include of course Babe Ruth) made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Hot Springs was apparently the location of the first Spring Training site.

The players would train hard, then relax at night in the gambling clubs and other such "amenities" that were frequented by famous gangsters as well.

Bonnie and Clyde, they would end up gunned down
when they left Hot Springs.

Next up was walking by and into several of the bath houses from "back in the day", which are now part of the Hot Springs National Park.  The only National Park located inside a city!

Relaxing or perhaps "sweating out" the alcohol from last night
in the Buckstaff Bath House

Following pics depict the bath and steam facilities in the Fordyce Bath House Visitor Center.  

Centerpiece of the Men's Bath Room
I didn't read the plaque describing the artwork

The ceiling of the Men's Bath Room

Ladies Dressing Room

Hah!  Men's Physical Education Uniform
How times have changed!

Again, Hah!

Beauty Salon

Fordyce Gymnasium

Done with Bathhouse Row, we wandered to the end of Central Avenue and checked out the Arlington Hotel.  The present version is the latest of three versions of this premier hotel in Hot Springs.

By now, it was lunch time and the crowds were out in force along Central Avenue, all crowding to see the sights we'd already seen.   So we hastened to the Sammy and escaped the downtown area as fast as we could.

We had a quick lunch at this small Diner/Bakery called Mueller's.  The food was good and Martha got some baked goods for later.

Had us a close call while driving back to Crystal Springs.  Almost getting hit from behind by this asshole mouth breather in his large pickup truck.  He was apparently in a great hurry for his date with his sister and was weaving through traffic like a maniac.

After we safely got back to camp, I went for a ride on Yagi to "center my Qi" and try to forget about the mouth breather.  Found a nice quiet spot next to a creek and I let my anger slip away:

Returning to camp, Martha and I took a dip in the lake to cool off before dinner.  This is our last night at this campsite, we're displacing sometime tomorrow in the later morning or early afternoon since checkout at the new site is 4PM!

1 comment:

RichardM said...

Cool! Thank you for the tour. I've wanted to stop in Hot Springs, AR, but it was never handy. Maybe this Fall.