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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.

During this period, Hot Springs became the prey of guerrilla bands loosely associated with either Union or Confederate forces.

They pillaged and burned the near-deserted town, leaving only a few buildings standing at the end of the Civil War.

The reservation was renamed Hot Springs National Park in 1921.

As a result, Hot Springs's architecture is a key part of the city's blend of cultures, including a reputation as a tourist town and a Southern city.Also a destination for the arts, Hot Springs features the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival annually.Members of many Native American tribes had been gathering in the valley for untold numbers of years to enjoy the healing properties of the thermal springs.By 1873 six bathhouses and 24 hotels and boardinghouses stood near the springs.In 1874, Joseph Reynolds announced his decision to construct a narrow-gauge railroad from Malvern to Hot Springs; completion in 1875 resulted in the growth of visitation to the springs. Fordyce and two other entrepreneurs financed the construction of the first luxury hotel in the area, the first Arlington Hotel, which opened in 1875.

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