Historic Hot Springs, Arkansas Hotel Burns

Published 02/28 2014 06:52AM

Updated 02/28 2014 07:29PM

HOT SPRINGS, Ark - Fire has swept through the spa city's historic Majestic Hotel on Park Avenue.
As of 11 p.m. Thursday night, fire crews expected to spend much of the night dousing the building with water. The Red Cross was on the scene, providing support for the firefighters.

The fire appears to have started on the top floor and then spread onto the fourth and third floors of the historic 5-story structure.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene shortly before 6 p.m.

A crowd of spectators watched from behind police tape near the intersection of Central and Park avenues.
The Majestic Hotel has been closed since 2006.

A 2012 report notes that the area where the fire started is known as the Yellow Brick section of the Majestic.

Built in 1886, it's the oldest and most endangered portion. It is a five-story structure made up of six others, including a drug store, restaurant, and lobby.

An inspection two years ago found water damage on every floor in the Yellow Brick section, and one part of in a state of collapse.
The damage was determined to be so severe that inspectors said it would likely lead to the destruction of the building if repairs were not made.

The Majestic Hotel was reported to have been a favored destination of gangsters including Al Capone and was also visited by the likes of baseball great Babe Ruth.

In the 1900s, several Major League teams would bring their players to Hot Springs to train, putting them up at the Majestic.
The hotel went through several renovations over the decades but never attracted enough people.

Original Story:
HOT SPRINGS, AR -- A fire has been reported at the historic Majestic Hotel.According to our content partner Hot Springs Daily, the blaze was called in shortly before 6 tonight.
The Majestic has been unoccupied for years.
Photos from the scene show flames on the top floor in the middle of the building.
Officials have advised people to stay away from the area so that emergency vehicles could get to the scene.

History of the Majestic: 
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Abandoned Arkansas) -- When the yellow brick building opened in 1893, it was a modern, 20th-century hotel that quickly became a popular spot for tourists and athletes. According to “Majestic Hotel: The History of a Grande Dame,” an article by Garland County Historical Society secretary Isabel B. Anthony, Babe Ruth frequented the Majestic. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Red Sox also stayed at the hotel for their spring training and fitness programs. As tourists continued to pour into Hot Springs, the hotel expanded, with an eight-story, red-brick addition to the west of the yellow-brick building in 1926. Also in the ‘20s, another well-known visitor began showing up in town. In the mid-’30s, new spa facilities were added to the Majestic.

While tourists visiting the city’s bathhouses had to leave their hotels and walk down the street for their spa therapy, guests at the Majestic simply walked down the hall.The 1963 addition of the Lanai Tower brought the Majestic’s guest room total to 400. But the hotel’s heyday couldn’t last forever. Despite more updates and additions to the Majestic over the years, the shutdown of illegal gambling in 1964 took a toll on the popularity of the Majestic and other Hot Springs hotels.

The Majestic underwent further renovations through the ‘80s and ‘90s, but nothing seemed to attract the crowds that had flocked to the hotel during its glory days. As the Majestic entered the 21st century, its days were numbered. The downtown hotel was closed in 2006 after 124 years of operation.

Click here for pictures from inside the hotel from Abandoned Arkansas. 

(KARK, Little Rock)

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