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Hot Springs National Park Quarter (Arkansas) 2010

Hot Springs National Park Quarter (Arkansas) 2010
Philadelphia Denver Proof
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0.03 oz
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The Hot Springs National Park Quarter is the first of 2010 and the first overall in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. Hot Springs, located in the state of Arkansas, has the distinction of being the first land set aside by the federal government for public use. That occurred on April 20, 1832.

Known as the "the Valley of the Vapors" by Native Americans for centuries long before being "discovered" by European settlers, the Hot Springs area is thought to have been a peaceful location where tribes came together to enjoy the waters. It first came to the attention of others in 1541 when explorer Hernando DeSoto and his group ventured into the area.

Over the next few hundred years, the area experienced little change as it passed under the control of both Spain and France, to be finally ceded to the United States as part of the vast Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Slowly the area began to draw visitors as they came to experience the "healing powers" of the hot springs.

Then, in 1832, 12 years after the Arkansas Territorial Legislature had requested it, the United States Congress officially set aside the land as a reservation area giving it federal protection. This marked the first time the US Government had reserved part of the country for public use, with the intent to prevent its destruction or abuse by private individuals.

The next few decades found the area both enjoyed and yes, abused, by those interested in its benefits and the people who wanted to get rich off of them. Hot spring water (which averaged 143 degrees) was diverted and directed to several bathhouses which where constructed to provide a place for paying customers to enjoy the water, after it had been cooled some.

In 1877, the federal government started exercising control over the area and initiated the process of both cleaning it up and preserving it for future generations. Bathhouses were still allowed, but the government controlled water flows with a plumbing system it created. It even got in the bathhouse business itself, offering free baths to the poor and later building the Army and Navy General Hospital.

Hot Springs remained a reservation area until 1921, when Congress officially renamed it Hot Springs National Park. It eventually came to encompass over 5,000 acres including the surrounding hillsides. Baths are still offered by local businesses which utilize the hot springs water that they purchase from the Park.

The quarter's reverse features the park's headquarters building with the National Park Service emblem to the right, all are in the background. The park's fountain is in the foreground. Inscriptions include HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.


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