Sunday, December 31, 2006

Waukesha Hotel & Bath House

I only recently came across this old postcard in my research of local history. The Waukesha Hotel & Bath House once stood on ground now occupied by two of Hot Springs' most recognizable landmarks. I'm thinking that the bath house may have originally been a hotel itself, named The Grand Central Hotel, before the adjacent Waukesha Hotel was built.
To the far left of the photo, one can make out the grey limestone face of the infamous Southern Club, now Josephine Tussaud's Wax Museum. The location of The Waukesha Bath House (the smaller structure on the right) is now occupied by the Medical Arts Building. Once it was completed in late 1929, the Medical Arts Building was Arkansas' tallest office building, and would remain so until the construction of Little Rock's Tower Building in the late 1950's. Notice in the photo below, you can still see the Waukesha Hotel next door.
I love the lines of this building. Aside from the boutiques at street level today, the structure remains, sadly, empty. Two newer medical complexes were built elsewhere in town, and as a result, the medical and dental practices housed here vacated and followed. I do recall stories about my ex-in-laws' good friend Tyler, who once lived in the two story penthouse back in the 1970's.
In 1960, the last remaining structure of The Waukesha was demolished to make way for The Aristocrat. How about that mid-century statement? First built as a hotel, it eventually was converted into apartments. Two of my favorite people that lived there were Stuart and Dottie Dobblestein. They were a sweet little Jewish couple who I've lost track of upon leaving the clinical setting in dentistry. Stuart, I'm quite sure, has passed away. Perhaps Dottie has too. I miss them.

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