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Monica Prelle

Hot Springs National Park - A National Park Getaway

By March 30, 2014

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Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the oldest federally designated site in the national park system. It was originally designated "Hot Springs Reservation" in 1832, but first became a United States territory in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

Read more about Hot Springs National Park, a National Park Getaway.

On April 20, 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside "...four sections of land including said (hot) springs, reserved for the future disposal of the United States (which) shall not be entered, located, or appropriated, for any other purpose whatsoever."

This makes Hot Springs National Park the oldest national park among current system, predating Yellowstone National Park by forty years. Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass any legislation for administering the site. As a result, no controls were exerted in the area, and people continued to settle there, building businesses around and over the springs.

On August 25, 1916, Congress established the National Park Service, and Hot Springs Reservation came under its administration and was eventually designated as the eighteenth national park on March 4, 1921.

Read more about Hot Springs National Park, a National Park Getaway.

Photo: Ladies' Hour at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. Circa 1870. | Deluxe Stuido, NPS Historic Collection

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