Construction began on the new Maurice Bathhouse in 1911 and was completed by 1912. The building was designed by George Gleim, Jr. of Chicago. The building was remodeled in 1915, following a design by George Mann and Eugene John Stern of Little Rock
, which added the front sun parlor and made the white hygienic appearance warmer and more luxurious.
The exterior of the Maurice Bathhouse is simple yet elegant in design. The interior of the Maurice – patterned after the most successful contemporary European spas – was one of the best equipped and luxurious early-20th-century American bathhouses. The Maurice is probably the best example on Bathhouse Row
of a bathhouse specially designed using concrete, metal, and ceramic elements to furnish a hygienic atmosphere and specially equipped with the ultimate in early-20th-century bathing technology.
Technologically advanced heating, ventilating, and vacuum-cleaning systems were installed in the Maurice to provide a comfortable, healthy atmosphere for the bather. A therapeutic pool was installed in the Maurice in 1931 to treat various forms of paralysis (spurred on by Franklin Delano Roosevelt's treatments at Warm Springs, Georgia
). At this time it was also the first of the Hot Springs
bathhouses to provide specialized treatment for polio and other severe muscular and joint problems, being the only one to employ a registered physical therapist.
Originally, this building contained 27 tubs (seven of them in the ladies' department), a Nauheim bath, and hydro-therapeutic baths; it could handle 650 bathers a day. Additional tubs were installed in 1924. A Nauheim or effervescent bath is a type of spa bath through which carbon dioxide is bubbled, named after the German spa town. Battle Creek Sanitarium also employed Nauheim baths.
The Maurice represents another facet of American spa history. It provided special services, elegant appointments, and luxurious decor to attract sophisticated bathers who came to Hot Springs to fraternize with their peers. It is said that Jack Dempsey trained in the gymnasium and Elbert Hubbard based one of his Journeys booklets on W. G. Maurice and his bathhouse.