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The public will have the chance to meet the members of the Garland County Historical Society and support its work during a public party from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday in Room 201 of the Hot Springs Convention Center.

"This party is a chance to thank our supporters in the community for their help and also to introduce ourselves to people who may not be familiar with the society's work. It will also be a lot of fun -- so we hope people come and celebrate our history with us," Executive Director Liz Robbins said earlier this week.

The party will feature photographs from the society's collections, as well as a panel display about Leo P. McLaughlin, Hot Springs' colorful mayor during the heyday of illegal gambling, Robbins said.

They can also browse the books and CDs the society sells and meet Orval Allbritton, the author of many books about local history, and Mike Blythe, author of "Then and Now: Hot Springs, Arkansas," meet society volunteers and learn more about the society, she said.

Author Mark Blaeuer will be a special guest at the party, signing copies of his newly released book of photographs, "Baseball in Hot Springs." The 127-page book, published by Arcadia Publishing, presents nearly 200 images taken in Hot Springs between the 1890s and the 1950s, the society said in a news release.

"Blaeuer's introduction and captions show the depth of his research into the white and also the African-American teams who came to Hot Springs starting in 1886 to 'boil out' in the thermal waters and get in shape for the baseball season," the release said.

The book showcases the local ballparks where players such as Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth sharpened their skills, and includes photos of players away from the baseball diamonds as they enjoyed the bath houses, trails, golf courses, and other attractions in Hot Springs. Local teams, including the Hot Springs Arlingtons and the Hot Springs Bathers, are included, as are the baseball schools held here from the 1930 to the 1950s.

"Mark has created a book that is great fun. He used many photos from the GCHS collections but also got, from individuals and institutions across the country, many photos of baseball players in Hot Springs that have never or rarely been seen. His captions are a delight -- an education in themselves," Robbins said.

The Garland County Historical Society, located at 328 Quapaw, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1960, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and educating the public about Garland County's history.

"This county has a fascinating history. It has small communities with interesting pasts -- Lonsdale, Buckville, Cedar Glades, Mountain Pine, Jessieville and others, and Hot Springs, of course, is a bonanza to historians," Robbins said in the release.

"GCHS has a wealth of documents, photographs, maps, and other items that reveal our past, and we work hard to make our information easily available to the public, to students, and researchers. We've published eighteen books about the area and an award-winning yearly journal, The Record. Whether you want to know more about your ancestors or are curious about buildings, bootleggers, churches, gangsters, railroads, or a host of other things, the GCHS archives at 328 Quapaw can help you learn more."

Local on 05/08/2016

Print Headline: Garland County Historical Society plans public party

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