The Eastman Hotel opened on January 23, 1890 on the current site of the Federal Building which is directly in front of you. At one time the Eastman was the largest hotel in the United States and was very popular with many professional baseball teams who visited Hot Springs annually to get their players ready for the upcoming season.
In 1921, the Pittsburgh Pirates stayed at the Eastman, located a short trolley ride away from their practice field. A typical day for the Pirates began with a workout from 10 a.m. until noon, before returning to the hotel for a one-hour lunch followed by another two hour workout. According to Pirate Hall of Fame third baseman Pie Traynor “there was no clubhouse and no locker room shower facilities at the training site, so after practice each day we had strict orders to take a bath back at the hotel in the basement.” The Eastman Hotel’s basement was a huge room, large enough for 100 people containing baths with Hot Springs natural spring water. And Traynor loved the baths which he felt gave him strength and cleaned his body of impurities.
Pirates manager George Gibson made sure his team followed orders by issuing each player a card that he was required to have punched each time he entered the bath.
The old Eastman Hotel building was demolished in 1960.