Leo and Verne: The Spa’s Heyday


By Orval Allbritton

Leo and Verne: The Spa’s Heyday reveals Hot Springs’ colorful past as seen through the actions and decisions of two of its most memorable individuals, Mayor Leo P. McLaughlin and Judge Verne Ledgerwood. McLaughlin was a flamboyant, Jimmy Walker-type mayor, and Ledgerwood was the man behind the scenes. They set up a political machine that dominated Garland County for twenty years. The material for this 607 page hardcover, which took 6-1/2 years to complete, was gleaned by the author from more than 1,700 sources: old issues of the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record, the New Era, court records, Supreme Court records, taped interviews with former two-term Arkansas Governor, the late Sid McMath, former FBI Agent and Garland County Sheriff Clay White, the late Jacob King (who was on the grand jury that indicted McLaughlin after the returning WWII GI’s put him out of office), former club owners and many other sources. It is the only in-depth history ever written concerning the “McLaughlin Era.”