From Mob Scenes to Silver Screens

Al Capone & friend at Happy Holly-up the street from the Arlington.

Hot Springs, Arkansas is rich in diverse history, and it continues to honor that history today. The enchanting and discrete valley became a charming mecca of activity and retreat. From the famous Bathhouse Row to memorial museums of notorious figures, the off-beat and alluring energy is quite undeniable.

Native Americans are rumored to have rejuvenated in the springs from deep inside the earth, which became the Hot Springs Reservation and in effect, the first national park. The resort-like amenities such as the Bathhouses and the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa provided a “hot spot” for mobsters such as Al Capone, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciano in the gangster era.  Al Capone in fact owned his own suite on the fourth floor of the hotel.  Mountain Valley Water rings a familiar bell for most; Al Capone shipped his bootleg liquor in railroad cars of its marking.

Said mobsters frequented The Ohio Club-Arkansas’ oldest bar. In 1926, The Ohio Club became a “cigar store”, and a speakeasy. Other famous visitors included Mae West and Babe Ruth. Hot Springs became a host of illegal activities-namely gambling, until the feds put an arm on it in the sixties. The infamous history however, is not lost.

Today, you can visit The Gangster Museum of America and Bathhouse Row. You may stay in The Arlington Hotel, and The Ohio Club is very much up and running-legally.

This year marks the 25th and “silver year” of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival: the oldest non-fiction festival in North America. The festival will be hosted at the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa on October 7-16th, 2016.  The festival will feature approximately 60 feature-length documentaries from filmmakers from all over the world. The films will feature an array of perspectives, while culturally in-depth and controversial subjects are explored.

From coverage of the touring years of The Beatles to an unveiling and personal look at Maya Angelou, viewers are likely to find many films of interest-for the same price of a night at the movies.


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