America the Beautiful – In Quarters

One hundred seventy-eight years after Andrew Jackson signed legislation protecting the Hot Springs area as federal property, the first America the Beautiful quarter was released. On Tuesday, April 20, Director Moy of the United States Mint along with  Ernie Quintana, Midwest Regional Director of the National Park System, and Josie Fernandez, Hot Springs National Park Superintendent, launched the first of 56 National Quarters at Hot Springs National Park.

Take a look at the reverse of this first coin:

First National Park Quarter - Hot Springs National Park Headquarters Building


The image on the quarter includes the Hot Springs National Park’s Headquarter’s building with a fountain in the foreground.

The Hot Springs area became US territory in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Settlers arriving in the area in 1807 realized the benefit of the resident hot springs. By the 1830s, they had built cabins and facilities for a rudimentary, by today’s standards, resort area. Noted as “The American Spa,” people have benefited from the hot mineral waters  for over 200 years. For a time (1880-1940), baseball teams used the Hot Springs area as a spring training camp. The hot water from the springs, as a precursor to today’s hot tub, helped soothe their aching and bruised muscles.

As early as 1820, the people of the area requested that the lands be protected as a federal reservation. On April 20, 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside the Hot Springs area. However people in the area fought over the ownership of the lands for several subsequent years. The courts decisively determined the federal boundaries and ended the disputes in 1877.

In 1878 as the federal land surveyors were finalizing the boundary lines of the Hot Springs Reservation, a fire swept through the buildings and leveled many of the bathhouses. Not to be deterred, the people of the area looked upon the fire as a clearinghouse to build better structures to enjoy the hot springs. These buildings lasted for several years but were also replaced in the early 1900s.

Today, as one of the smallest national parks in addition to being the oldest, the area consists of 4,880.30 acres of federal land and 669.76 acres of non-federal land for a total of 5,550.06 acres.

The water in the hot springs originated as rain over 4400 years ago and is heated over a mile underground before being pushed upward through a fault to the springs. Almost 700,000 gallons arrive in the springs daily at a temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit.

The water is collected and channeled to the bathhouses in the national park through a series of complex reservoirs and plumbing. Though the park offers many outdoor activities including 26 miles of hiking trails, camping sites and picnic areas; guests are not allowed to bathe in the natural springs in the woods – only in the bathhouses.

The new quarter coin highlights this earliest gem in the National Park System.

Like our other circulating quarters, the coin will be  cupro-nickel clad composed of 8.33% nickel and the rest copper. The size remains the same at 5.67 grams, 24.26 mm (0.955 inches) in diameter and 1.75 mm thick.

The coins will be available in a variety of collectible forms including individual coins, rolled coins, bagged coins, proof sets, silver proof sets and silver bullion coins.

Enjoy learning more about the America the Beautiful quarter program and be prepared for the next coin, Yellowstone in June,  which became the next National Park 40 years after Hot Springs.