Garland County History
Garland County was established on April 5, 1873, and named after Augustus H. Garland, a U.S. Senator from Arkansas who later served as Attorney General under President Grover Cleveland.
The area where Garland County is situated has a rich history that predates its official establishment. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Quapaw and Caddo tribes. These tribes utilized the area's abundant natural resources, such as the hot springs, for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.
European exploration and settlement in the region began in the 18th century. In 1807, the Dunbar-Hunter expedition, led by William Dunbar and Dr. George Hunter, visited the hot springs and reported their findings. This brought attention to the area's therapeutic properties, and the hot springs became a popular destination for people seeking their healing benefits.
The United States government recognized the significance of the hot springs and designated the area as a federal reservation in 1832. It was known as the Hot Springs Reservation and became the first federally protected area in the United States and is the only national park within a city. The reservation attracted visitors from across the country, leading to the development of bathhouses, hotels, and other amenities to accommodate the growing number of tourists.
Like much of Arkansas, Garland County was divided in its loyalties during the American Civil War. The county experienced skirmishes and military activity, and its strategic location near important transportation routes made it a contested area between Union and Confederate forces.
After the war, Garland County continued to grow as a popular tourist destination. In 1921, the federal reservation was renamed Hot Springs National Park, emphasizing its protected status. The hot springs remained a major attraction, and the city of Hot Springs, located in Garland County, became a thriving resort town.
Garland County boasts a rich cultural heritage, with historic buildings, museums, and events that celebrate its history. The county's natural beauty, including lakes, forests, and the Ouachita Mountains, continues to attract outdoor enthusiasts and visitors.
Overall, the hot springs in Garland County offer a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and healing properties. Whether you're seeking relaxation, a connection with nature, or a glimpse into the past, a visit to the hot springs of Garland County is sure to be a memorable experience.