Due to the popularity of the thermal waters, Hot Springs benefited from rapid growth during a period when many cities saw a sharp decline in building; much like Miami's art deco districts.
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After the Civil War, an extensive rebuilding of bathhouses and hotels took place at Hot Springs.
The year-round population soared to 1,200 inhabitants by 1870.
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.
As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 35,193.
The center of Hot Springs is the oldest federal reserve in the United States, today preserved as Hot Springs National Park.After the Confederate forces suffered defeat in the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, the Union troops advanced toward the Confederate city of Little Rock. Rector moved his staff and state records to Hot Springs.Union forces did not attack Little Rock, and the government returned to the capital city on July 14, 1862.After Arkansas became its own territory in 1819, the Arkansas Territorial Legislature requested in 1820 that the springs and adjoining mountains be set aside as a federal reservation.Twelve years later, in 1832, the Hot Springs Reservation was created by the United States Congress, granting federal protection of the thermal waters.Downtown Hot Springs is preserved as the Central Avenue Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.