News

Nov 26, 2021

GCHS Welcomes First-Ever Corporate Members


We’re very happy to welcome our first-ever corporate members! As board member Carol Moenster Dyer said, “Their commitment reflects the strength and determination of many generations as well as ensures we are able to continue to gather, preserve and treasure the rich history of Hot Springs and Garland County.”

Quapaw Baths & Spa, an Augustus H. Garland member, is owned by Anthony Taylor and Bob Kempkes, along with two New York residents, Steve Strauss and Robert Ching. The Quapaw Bathhouse at 413 Central Avenue was built in 1922 on the site of the 1888 Magnesia and Horseshoe Bathhouses. The longest bathhouse on the row, the Spanish Colonial style building was named after a Native American tribe that once held land in the area.

After modern medicine brought about the decline of the bathing industry after World War II, the bathhouse struggled. It closed its doors in 1968, reopened in 1969 as Health Services, Inc., only to close again in 1984. It was vacant until June 2008, when Taylor and Kempkes, along with Don Harper, reopened it as Quapaw Baths & Spa. It was the first bathhouse leased by Hot Springs National Park for adaptive reuse, and its reopening began the revival of Bathhouse Row and the return of downtown historical sites to their bustling glory days.  Architects Taylor and Kempkes were awarded the Excellence in Preservation Through Rehabilitation Award by the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas for their outstanding restoration of the historic structure.

Quapaw Bathhouse (shown ca 1955), now the home of Quapaw Baths & Spa, was once considered the geographical center of Bathhouse Row and yielded 188,000 gallons of thermal waters every 24 hours.

 

National Park Gifts & Souvenirs, a Samuel W. Fordyce corporate member, is located at 370 Central Avenue. The Spear Building at the corner of Central Avenue and Mountain Street is one of the historic buildings featured in Mike Blythe’s publication Then & Now: Hot Springs, Arkansas. Blythe stated, “The Spear Building was constructed in 1905 . . . (and was) originally home to Mobb’s St. Louis Drugstore.”
By 1946, the two-story building housed Demitry G. Saad’s Tots-Teens Toggery downstairs and the Mattar Hotel Grand upstairs. Twenty years later the Central Avenue storefront was the home of Eugene Kirsch’s Lord’s Art Gallery. In 1997, Tom and Mary Daniel opened National Park Gifts & Souvenirs in the historic space. Today tourists strolling Central Avenue are thrilled with the large selection of Hot Springs treasures to purchase and take home from National Park Gifts & Souvenirs.

The 1905 Spear Building, shown in 1907, which originally housed Mobb’s St. Louis Drugstore.

And the answer to “Test Your Knowledge” is . . .
National Park Gifts & Souvenirs!

 

Meyers Realty, a Hiram A. Whittington member, was founded in 1961 by Selma Meyers, who later was joined by her husband, Lawrence W. Meyers, Sr., then owner of the Arkansas Glass Company. Their son Larry joined the business at the end of that year. Meyers Realty has been located at its 3399 Central Avenue location for fifty years and is one of only two realtors still in existence from 1961. The Meyer family tradition continued into the third generation with the addition of Larry and Jan Meyers’ son Andy in 1990. The Meyers family has been a model of leadership in the real estate industry with countless hours of volunteerism on the local, state, and national level. Larry Meyers served as the president of the Arkansas Realtors Association in 1981 and in 2011, Andy Meyers also served the same position, creating the only “father-son presidency-legacy” in the eighty-five-year history of the association. Since then, Andy and Cindy Meyers both continued leadership roles within the industry, Cindy being asked to serve a second term as president of the Hot Springs Board of Realtors in 2022 and both continuing their duties for the state and National Association of Realtors.

Meyers Realty’s first free-standing location on Central Avenue just before the causeway on Lake Hamilton (current site of Waffle House).

Meyers Realty today-3399 Central

 

AT&T, a Hiram A. Whittington member, is the modern face of a long history of phone service in Hot Springs. GCHS archival files reveal that Hot Springs’ first telephone service began in 1880 with a long-distance line to Little Rock. By 1884, there were more than 150 hand-operated phones in service. AT&T continues to be committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities, and improving lives. For instance, AT&T Connected Learning is a multi-year commitment to bridge the digital divide and narrow the homework gap, so today’s learners are connected with skills, resources, and opportunities for success in school and life.

A construction crew installs Hot Springs’ telephone wiring in 1906.

Thank you, again to our new corporate sponsors!

If you want to support our work by becoming a corporate sponsor at one of the following levels:
Augustus H. Garland
Samuel W. Fordyce
Hiram A. Whittington
contact us at gchs@hotsprings.net or 501.321.2159.