The hot spring water has been popularly believed for centuries to possess medicinal properties, and was a subject of legend among several Native American tribes.
Following federal protection in 1832, the city developed into a successful spa town.
Also a destination for the arts, Hot Springs features the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival annually.
Members of many Native American tribes had been gathering in the valley for untold numbers of years to enjoy the healing properties of the thermal springs.
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 1807, a man named Prudhomme became the first settler of modern Hot Springs, and he was soon joined by John Perciful and Isaac Cates.