Rex Nelson: The Shame of Hot Springs


brooklyn dodgers in 1911 spring training in front of the majestic hotel in hot springs

1911 Brooklyn Dodgers in front of the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs

Rex Nelson Archive Page

UPDATE: 2/28/14

From Rex Nelson:

The tragedy of the Majestic fire MUST serve as the impetus for a coordinated, intense effort to save all of downtown Hot Springs. Downtown is a historic treasure that we have neglected for far too long. This is a STATEWIDE imperative. PLEASE ask all of your friends today to LIKE the Facebook page SAVE HER MAJESTY and let’s expand the grassroots effort.

* * *

Oaklawn just announced another purse increase. Meanwhile, the high school state basketball championships return to Hot Springs from March 13-15. On the surface, Hot Springs – the place where baseball spring training began – appears secure in its role as one of the sports capitals of the region. But in this post on his Southern Fried blog, Rex Nelson decries the lack of attention paid to downtown Hot Springs and calls for a statewide effort to restore it to its glory days as one of the great American resort cities.


They nailed plywood over the windows of the old Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs this week.

Yes, the Majestic has been closed since 2006 so the decay of that complex isn’t exactly news.

Yes, the three buildings that make up the complex have been deteriorating for years.

But symbolism is a powerful thing, and that plywood is symbolic.

It sends the wrong message about our state and its business leadership. It sends the wrong message about our priorities.

This is a city that once fancied itself as the Saratoga of the South. Is it becoming the Detroit of the South, at least downtown?

Continue reading here…

Additionally, Rex writes of several ideas for restoring the old bathhouses of downtown Hot Springs. Here is one of his ideas, all of which are written about here.

Open a baseball museum to further build on Hot Springs’ niche as the birthplace of spring training. The 2012 creation of the Hot Springs Baseball Trail by Visit Hot Springs has been a boon to tourism. There are more than 25 markers across the city that are linked to digital technology, allowing visitors to hear about each site. More than 45 percent of the inductees into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., trained or played in Hot Springs at one time or another. Now, it’s time to take the next step with a museum and perhaps even an affiliation with the Baseball Hall of Fame so traveling sports exhibits can come through.

Tags: ,