HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - After two years of sitting in an evidence room, three beautiful pieces of bathhouse row history are now in the hands of their rightful owners, and they have a whole new purpose waiting for them.
Bathtubs and breweries don't sound like two things that go together, but one Hot Springs National Park business is making it work, even making a little history along the way. The business is a breath of new life inside the Superior Bathhouse.
"This will make us the first--the only brewery in the world--using hot spring thermal water," said Rose Cranson, owner of Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery.
Cranson and her husband began designing the distillery portion more than two years ago but soon found a few vital pieces missing.
"I was very disappointed to learn that they had been stolen," said Cranson.
Three stainless steel 100-year-old bathtubs had been stolen from bathhouse row for scrap metal. Authorities recovered them, and the thieves but the tubs sat in an evidence room for nearly two years. Last week, Cranson got the call that the tubs were being released and immediately asked to have them for the brewery.
"These tubs are made of the same stainless steel as our brewing tanks so a little bit of cleaning and polishing, and they'll be perfect containers to make beer in," added Cranson.
They are three pieces of history that once held Hot Spring water but will now hold Hot Spring beer, making history all over again. They could be the first bathtubs ever used in a public distillery.
"To reuse these tubs in the room that as the men's bathing hall is especially cool, so I'm sure the original builders did not intend this use for these bathtubs, but they are going to be great for us," Cranson exclaimed.
The bar and restaurant portion of Superior Brewery and Distillery opened July 12. The bathtubs full of beer and the rest of the distillery is expected to open by the end of the year.
Police arrested and convicted two men for stealing the three historic bathtubs, each worth approximately $15,000.