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Today, much of Hot Springs's history is preserved by various government entities.Hot Springs National Park is maintained by the National Park Service, including Bathhouse Row, which preserves the eight historic bathhouse buildings and gardens along Central Avenue.In 1673, Father Marquette and Jolliet explored the area and claimed it for France.The 1763 Treaty of Paris ceded the land to Spain; however, in 1800 control was returned to France until the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. George Hunter and William Dunbar made an expedition to the springs, finding a lone log cabin and a few rudimentary shelters used by people visiting the springs for their healing properties.Due to the popularity of the thermal waters, Hot Springs benefited from rapid growth during a period when many cities saw a sharp decline in building; much like Miami's art deco districts.As a result, Hot Springs's architecture is a key part of the city's blend of cultures, including a reputation as a tourist town and a Southern city.Many residents of Hot Springs fled to Texas or Louisiana and remained there until the end of the war.
The commission surveyed and set aside 264.93 acres (1.0721 km) awarded to claimants.Downtown Hot Springs is preserved as the Central Avenue Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The city also contains dozens of historic hotels and motor courts, built during the Great Depression in the Art Deco style.During this period, Hot Springs became the prey of guerrilla bands loosely associated with either Union or Confederate forces.
They pillaged and burned the near-deserted town, leaving only a few buildings standing at the end of the Civil War.Incorporated January 10, 1851, the city has been home to Major League Baseball spring training, illegal gambling, speakeasies and gangsters such as Al Capone, horse racing at Oaklawn Park, the Army and Navy Hospital, and 42nd President Bill Clinton.