Hot Springs Bathhouse

Hot Springs, AR

Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been a vacation destination for a century and a half because of the perceived healthy effects of the natural hot springs that exit the base of this mountain-side site. The National Park Service managed site includes six historic bathhouses, each American Indian or Orientalist building is sited atop one of the springs.  Mineral water from the mountain was piped throughout the buildings to serve steam baths, cabinets, showers, and pools before exiting into a stream. Men and women used separate quarters.

The constant humidity and corrosive mineral content of the atmosphere within each building had led to advanced corrosion of the metals. We were contracted to document and assess all of the metals (exclusive of the plumbing fixtures), determine their state of deterioration, and recommend treatments during the planned restoration of the buildings.

Work included development of a survey method to document and quantify the extent of work. An assessment grid was developed that listed and described each metal type, composition, state of deterioration, recommendation for treatment, and budgetary costs for the recommended work. These recommendations were incorporated into an overall conservation plan for the site which was used during the restoration of the bathhouses.