The History of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Early on, in preparing to launch this podcast, I asked Dennis (my co-host and co-conspirator in this project) to record a show where he could educate me (and our entire audience) on the history of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Today we have that history lesson to answer these and other questions:
a) When was Hot Springs Village established?
b) Who founded Hot Springs Village?
c) Why was it started?
d) Why wasn’t Hot Springs Village incorporated as a town/city?
e) What was the relationship between the developer of Hot Springs Village and the POA (property owners’ association)?
We hope you find it informative and inspiring. It helps to have a guide and teacher as knowledgeable as Dennis, a longtime resident of the Village and a native from the state of Arkansas.
P.S. Be sure to check out all the terrific places you could stay inside the Village through Airbnb or VRBO. Check out the places Dennis has on Lake Desoto by visiting his website, D&D Property.
The History Of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Transcript of today’s show
Dennis: [00:00:00] Hey, it’s time for another episode of hot Springs village inside, out, or HSV inside out.com with my good buddy, Mr. Randy Cantrell in Dallas, I’m here in hot Springs village. I am not by the lake because we keep getting, I am by the light, but I can’t show you the lake behind me cause I keep getting washed out.
Randy: [00:00:16] So the lake, the lake trumps you
Dennis: [00:00:17] uh, in every way in every way as, as Teresa, Diane, my lovely wife says you have a face for radio Dennis. So, you know, when you, when you drag me onto video, I’m like, okay. Okay, Randy. Okay. Okay.
Randy: [00:00:31] But you’re for the, for the audience, for the audio audience, you’re gonna have to check out the YouTube channel because he, this is, he looks, he looks perfectly human to me.
Dennis: [00:00:39] Yeah. Very human. I think that’s good, yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah. Blatantly human, probably
Randy: [00:00:45] I’ve asked you to dive into a topic that I, I know you’re eminently qualified for because as a guy, as the outsider who hopes to one day be an insider Lord willing and we’re working on it, um, I’ve [00:01:00] I had a strong interest.
I came last year during the pandemic, and I know it was the 50th anniversary of the place. And I began to look a little bit about the history of the place because I had no idea about the beginnings of the place. So that’s what we hope to talk about today. And I reserve the right to have questions,
Dennis: [00:01:20] please, please.
Lots of questions. Lots of questions. Um, in late 1969, uh, Mr. John A. Cooper, the first who wasn’t a west Memphis attorney who by his own volition said his own admission said that he wasn’t that great an attorney. And he knew he really wouldn’t get to get rich making, uh, you know, being in the courtroom, but he thought that he could use some of his abilities in land title services and land stuff.
And he had already by 69, you have to pardon me with my sinuses today. But he had already, by 1969, he had already had a Cherokee village, uh, in Northwest Arkansas by Harris break in some areas there. And they built it across the [00:02:00] county line, just like they did hot Springs, village hill, two different counties.
They had some small lakes. Um, but by Mr. Cooper’s own admission too, they made some significant mistakes. Uh, what they would do is they would, they would perimeter, you know, they would take the entire land that was around that and say, okay, so this is the development inside that, well, they had no gates. And that’s the one thing of all the Cooper developments that delineates the village and the size of it.
But they had no gates whatsoever. So you would buy a beautiful lot on one side of the street. And on the other side of the street, there would be a dead trailer with a dead car in the yard and four barking dogs. So on one side, you had a kind of resort life. And on the other side of the street, literally the street behind it, that bordered the building that didn’t have any access, but you looked out the back door and there were mobile homes, dead mobile homes.
And you know, it just wasn’t as attractive. And he realized he had to contain the environment more. He contacted the fine folks with dirt, timber, and darks timber, and they actually did [00:03:00] a flyover of this area with state Senator, bud Canada at the time. Great, great guy. Great. A lot of vision and, and I’ll, I’ll tell you before we move another inch, that’s one of the things that you have to respect the place that I’m sitting.
And the first 16 miles did not know what a computer was. They didn’t know what a fax machine was that didn’t spend on a drum. Okay. They did all this. Without that, all of this, I asked a lady one time at the water treatment or the water office. I said, who does, who, who designed all the roads out here? She said it was two guys.
One was named curvy and one was named lefty. And I, but yeah. Anyway, good joke. But they are a lot of curves. There are a lot of curves, a lot of areas, but they had actually, they were interviewing the darks timber company and the Dirks timber company-owned land from, and I’m making this gesture back near, Lonsdale probably another 15 aerial miles to 20 miles.
Two, nearly 65 miles inside of what Dierks Timber [00:04:00] called it, which was the Indian territory slash Oklahoma before it was a state and the darks had millions of acres. Now I’m referring to Don Dierks his book that talks about this. He’s a great guy. Wonderful. He actually came on the board when the company was about to be sold to Weyerhaeuser. As Mr.Cooper was driving down Cooper and his associates were driving down today. What is, what was the logging road in this today? Uh, DeSoto. Uh, they had looked at all this land and finally, one of the guys what’s wrong with right here. I mean, this looks okay. And one of them was like, yeah, well, I mean, just outside the gate where we’re at Cranford is now sits was the office for Dierks timber company for.
A hundred miles literally. And Dierks timber had such wide-ranging of acid. So there’s actually a little town in Arkansas called Dierks. And the reason they called that, and I may have mentioned this before. They were actually cutting a railroad through there to bring out some, some, uh, logs. And as they’re cutting the railroad, [00:05:00] they cut an embankment as they cut the embankment, they noticed just a wall gypsum.
Anybody know what gypsum is, right? Yeah. A knowing grin. Yep. Yeah. At the time, if you’re making, if you’re making lumber, a lot of times you’re going to need sheetrock. And so they literally developed a sheetrock plant there. This was one of the largest growing and going and growing concerns in the building, in the area by far, in a way by far, in a way.
And their offices were just outside. What is now the main gate? Well, they took an option, an option to buy the first 14,000 acres of the 26,000 acres that there are. And I tried to paint this picture a dozen times and I just don’t know how successful I’m going to be. This is where maybe the questions come in, Randy.
Um, imagine up and down highway seven. There’s not a hibachi. There’s not a Mexican restaurant. There’s not a Walgreens. There’s not as Cranford. There’s not a grocery store. [00:06:00] There’s not a Walmart. There is, however, at the very, very, very bottom of the hill, a place that’s been there for 125 years, which is mountain valley water.
So this area was. Just unknown, literally unknown. As a matter of fact, then if we can do an entire episode on this, as you go just on north of the west entrance of the village, go up just as you would get up to Jessieville pro pretty much from there about halfway into the village is what’s known as the dark corner.
The last known still moonshine still was pulled out in 1998. Uh, they had submarine pots. They had, uh, there was not uncommon if Capone or any of the guys got in trouble. When they were in hot Springs, they would come up to the dark corner and hang out there until, you know, things calm down a little or settled down, or they went back to Chicago or whatever, but they literally, they have huge submarine pots and they would bring it to the hot Springs Depot.
And Mr. Capone would put it in his car and ship it back in his car would [00:07:00] be on the, on the, on the, a train and they would ship it all back together well in the dark
Randy: [00:07:05] and why is it called the dark corner?
Dennis: [00:07:06] because. It’s the dark corner of Garland county. It’s it’s right at the very, very top of Garland county. And I’ve made this note before because I’ve lived in some pretty rural places.
The further you get from city governance and from the federal government. And, you know, as soon as you get toward the bay, the border of state things get kind of iffy, you know, and part of the story is, and, and I love the story of the national park too, which is the national park and forest, which is part of our story.
One of the beauties here is that we overlooked this national forest of 1.7 million acres. That goes about 85 miles into, uh, to, uh, Oklahoma. And anyway, I digress, but the Dirks set up a contract and they said, we’re going to sell you this. Um, contract, cause we’re out here in the middle of nowhere and you’re going to bring in the Hiltons of people.
This is going to be great. And, and you’re going to give them a [00:08:00] tour, where are they going to stay? What are they going to eat? Where do you literally Quinn’s questions as simple as where will you get your mail? Yeah. So, I mean, they’re starting. Yeah. They’re starting from zero anyway. So they sold the first 16,000 acres on contract to, uh, Mr.
Cooper with the, with the condition, that when you cut down a tree on the lake, like behind me or the golf course, or make a road, we can buy that tree back from you. Oh, that’s a great idea. Well, I mean, for Cooper, they didn’t care. It didn’t matter to Cooper how old the trees were at that time. Okay. Now we’re talking, as you said, 50 years ago, right?
So we’re just starting. That 50 year period. And if you look around, if you’d seen some of our other videos, a lot of the trees here are about 35 to 50 years. Well, that’s how old the trees were when they bought them. And Cooper, when they had, they had, you know, clear, cut it back in the twenties and they wanted all that timber to grow back.
And they [00:09:00] were really interested in recouping that loss and not losing all those growing years. So they did. So Cooper moved in and Mr. John A. Cooper is in the Arkansas business hall of fame for what? Randy.
Okay. Mr. Cooper is in the Arkansas business hall of fame. For inventing the three days, two nights, 90 minutes, staycation.
Randy: [00:09:27] Yeah. You would have never guessed that.
Dennis: [00:09:28] Yep. Yep. Yep. Well, and just have to fill in the blank real quick. Anyway. So Mr. Cooper bought that first 16,000 acres started this idea he had had that he started in, in, uh, horseshoe bend or in Cherokee village of giving a 90-minute tour for a three day, two-night vacation.
It was never a 90-minute tour and it was never quite three nights and two days either. But you know, you get the picture, you get the picture. And he had brought a lot of people in from Memphis, a lot of people in, from Springfield [00:10:00] and, uh, areas around to the area of Cherokee village. And he thought he could do the same thing here.
Well, that. That’s a great idea. And they’re going to start building, and there was a building just as soon as you came in where the croc whose food truck has been. Uh, but there’s building, as soon as you came in on the left-hand side, there was a large building there, and that was the POA Cooper building for decades.
It was just recently torn down this last couple of years. Um, but they would bring people in and give them on the tours and whatever. And Mr. Cooper actually bought, if you know where the vapors are downtown. Yeah, right beside that, there’s the Velda rose hotel. And he bought the Velda rose hotel and motel.
He would keep people up there. They would send a sales rep, went down, he would ride up with them, tell them how great it was both ways. And if you didn’t like it, you had to still had to ride 30 minutes with him back down and whatever, but they typically started opening up and they started selling lots.
Now that’s a great idea and it’s a great day, but I mean, I’m sitting here looking at a 210-acre lake that did [00:11:00] not exist. Right. So the salesmen were like, here’s where the golf course will be. And here’s where the lake will be. And we’re building one building. And can we have your check for $5,000?
And what now? Right at six months after they sold the land from Dirks to Cooper, darks was bought out by the Weyerhaeuser corporation, but you may have heard of yeah, yeah. Just a little tiny. Yeah. They honored those agreements, but that other 12,000 acres on the other side, they clear cut it and replanted it in Pines.
So, so here’s what you’re going to see from the very west gate. And I’m doing it backward for y’all sorry, but from the very west gate to Balboa road where the Woodlands, our entertainment center is right there and where the, where the park is, every, from 1990 to 1970 is inside those windows. There is nothing beyond lake Balboa road.
There’s nothing beyond that way. That has not been built [00:12:00] since 1990.
Randy: [00:12:00] Okay. Well, that explains the pine trees on the east side, then.
Dennis: [00:12:05] It really does. And a lot of people, I mean, when we have a fall here in one of our other guests had mentioned this, but the fall here is in isn’t it fantastic because we have evergreens, we have Cedars and Pines, and then we have sweet gums that just go off in crazy colors.
And then we have everything in between hickories and Elms and Oaks and whatever on the east end, you don’t see that so much. It’s more of a pine plantation. Now. It didn’t happen right at Balboa road. It actually happened about halfway down Balboa lake, where you’d get down to Ponce de Leon golf course and all those areas.
But in that timeframe of, so from 1970, when they began to 1,990 at Balboa road, they developed bellboy golf course down below that. And then they developed a Coronado golf course. At one time, I have an ashtray. I should go get it and show you. I haven’t asked her because when you took the tour. They gave you an ashtray because everybody needed an ashtray at that time.
I don’t know if you know, that was ubiquitous. [00:13:00] How are you going to get cancer if you don’t get an ashtray? Right. So they would give away these little ashtrays. The first one went roughly from the DeSoto beach, which is a quarter-mile that way to the very edge of the village. And it was a little square plate, but like this, and they started out again, little short Squatty ones, cause they had so much stuff to put on them, but they had the Alegra subdivision.
They had the Belina these Hills back behind us that have magnificent views out over the Ouachita National Forest. . They started making little smaller plates and down in the bottom, it would say proposed Ponce de Leon golf course, right on top of where the Balboa golf course is now. So they didn’t, it wasn’t a, it wasn’t a perfect plan to begin with.
They worked it as they went, you know,
Randy: [00:13:44] interesting. Now the oldest, so the oldest existing house in there now would be. 50 years old?
Dennis: [00:13:53] 50, 51 years, 50, 50, 51 years. And, and exactly, and as you would imagine, as soon as you come in the gate, as soon as you come in [00:14:00] the gate, you can turn right and you’ll up Belina.
But literally even before you get there, there’s a little bit of road that goes down to the left, which now kind of goes down behind the hardware store. Cause there wasn’t a hardware store at that time, but it would go down that hill behind them. That’s where the oldest homes are and those homes are not on the golf course.
The next street over to the east, just a little is the first one that was on the golf course, but they were building that golf course till 1970 through 73. And I want to go back because I addressed this on some social media, not too long ago. A lot of people ask about the PLA and I have as a guy who’s been here for 20 years or buttons sold here for 20 years have lived here for 10 years.
I’ve seen the POA be a municipality, which. They are, but they’re chartered as a corporation. So just a not-for-profit corporation. And it’s very important to understand what really, how we got there. Okay. And that is, is that we have the Cooper [00:15:00] who is a, at one point they said they were spending a third of every dollar on marketing.
Okay. They sell a $10,000, lot. That lot cost them $3,300 to market. We drove you here. We flew you here. We gave you a 90-minute tour. We put you up at the builder rose. We gave you a coupon, whatever it took to get you here.
Randy: [00:15:19] Well, and at that point, you’re just, you’re selling the dream, you know
Dennis: [00:15:22] Yeah. Yeah.
Well, and, and he played that card before everybody. I mean, it’s, it’s, that’s the classic timeshare deal now. Right. But at the time that was new and novel and, and, and the closing line, the closing line that the salesmen were using, Randy look, would you like to have a lot like this in Dallas? That wouldn’t it be nice to have a lot like this on the lake in Dallas?
What would this cost in Dallas? You know, quarter-million dollars Dennis, quarter-million-dollar, well, number one, you’re not in Dallas, then it’s not going to be a quarter-million dollars. Yeah. So there, but they gave a lot of tours and actually, uh, the, the guy who does the designing [00:16:00] women, uh, blood. So Thomas he and his wife.
Yeah, he actually, he had, he hired helicopters and flew over the place, edited in these beautiful, sweeping sounds emotions as you’re going down the golf course, as only you can in, uh, you know, $400 an hour helicopter at the time, right. Nobody had a drone. So as Mr. Cooper’s bringing all these people in, he actually has the building on the far west end.
That was just there until a couple of years ago. And, you know, Joe Blow would be brave. And I do mean brave and build, you know, at the time of 40 or $50,000 here on the lake, that’s supposed to be here on the golf course. That’s going to be here. Besides the Fay Jones building, that’s going to be here, who was an architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright.
And so as you come in the village, there’s this big metal sculpture, well, Fay Jones designed that in the new traditional style or in the, well, they call it art deco. Yeah, just like the, not just like the DeSoto club is, and [00:17:00] that was, it was a club. It was a country club environment. That’s where a lot of things spun for a long time.
But let’s say that I’m having trouble getting my trash picked up, pick up the phone. I go, I’ll call Cooper. And Cooper goes, you know, we’re trying to sell lots and build a big development. We’re not really in the mood to fix your trash problem. I got an idea. Let’s turn that over to the POA. So one end of the building was literally the sales office and the other end was the PLA.
So when somebody came in and said, I want to buy a lot, the POA would say down that way. And when somebody came in and said, I got a problem, he would say down that way. So they literally were in the same building. And one of the discussions is, and I’ve got to look it up. The POA was not formed at the exact time that the village was started.
It was formed a couple of years later. And as things were, and I’ve mentioned this before, and I want to, for those that are listening inside the village and paying attention, one of the issues was even 20 years [00:18:00] ago, twenty-five years ago, the POA board came in and rubber-stamped, whatever Cooper said, because Cooper was spending.
Millions and millions and millions of dollars to bring people in. In 2006, before they left, they were still developing Granada golf course, and they hadn’t finalized and released it yet, but they got to where it became a working system that every time they got a major asset in place, they would hand that back to the, to the POA well, Hey look, we want this beautiful lake, but I’ve got little algae in my lake.
What do I do? That’s a POA problem. And that continued really actually until 2010 when we had some other problems that like Granada like Australia, where we had algae blooms, all of that to say everything lived inside that one building. For probably 20, 25 years now, as you came out to what we now would call jokingly the four-way stop, which is true, you would turn left and that’s Colella and you would go north up Colella.
Well, immediately to the left. There’s a shell station immediately to the [00:19:00] right. There was a couple of banks. And just to the left of that, there’s a liquor store now, but there was, that was where the post office and the grocery store were. And it was a, at best, 7-11 type environment. You know, they didn’t have every kind of pistachio nuts you might ever want.
They just had some groceries. Right. You know, uh, and it was pretty much that way if you realize that DeSoto lake and golf course were built about the same time, but that would be in 71 to 74, 73 kind of deal. Uh, and then we moved over to lake Cortez and, and Cortez golf course, which was finalized in 78 and 79
Randy: [00:19:36] What was Cooper’s big idea?
To have this development, but was he, was he a home builder? Was he, was he wanting to build homes in here? Was he just wanting to sell lots? W what was the, what was the game plan there?
Dennis: [00:19:53] You know, you asked the question that I should have been answering and that’s. Yeah.
Cooper was [00:20:00] a, was an entrepreneur obviously, and he knew how to get houses built and he made good money on houses, but he also realized it was a lot like the gold miner scenario that if you owned the building, that the post office sat in. That w that was a good profit income too. If you owned a well, there was, uh, the Walmart where the Walgreens and all that, all of that’s Cooper, Cooper owns all that land, where Cranford sits Cooper owns that land.
So, but he was, he wanted to integrate it. And so he basically started a concrete company, which is still running today. And I’ve had somebody tell me that the concrete company was actually the most profitable part of anything. Uh, but they had a whole set of builders and crews, so they could strategically do.
And every time it came up for deer season, they let their guys go and pay them during deer season, which was unheard of at the time because I want to paint the picture again. Now, some people think we’re a little remote now, 50 years ago, this was no [00:21:00] where there was nothing here. Literal wilderness.
Exactly. You didn’t want your subs wandering off during, during wintertime, right? Absolutely sure. That they were available. Right. You know? Uh, so he treated his subs really good, but they, they have, uh, Cooper, Cooper communities, which is who own land. Now they had Cooper home, they had Cooper land development.
They had, um, Cooper concrete, and they had, there was one other I’m forgetting, but he made a whole myriad of these, but he was, the strategy was to sell you, sell you a lot and then hope to persuade you to build on that lot. Exactly.
Randy: [00:21:27] What was, was it, was it a country club ish thing? Was it a retirement thing? What was it in the beginning?
Dennis: [00:21:42] One of the appeals was, is that it was a country club type thing. And that’s where the DeSoto club really came in. And even back in the nineties, they were pushing the country club aspect again, when they opened the Balboa golf course, which is a. So your [00:22:00] 25,000 square foot building, that’s virtually unused now, but that was at a more pardon?
The term or more social time. Yup. And then after that, they went ahead and made the Granada. Um, if anything that would look like a golf club, a country club, they kind of went ahead and did that. Uh, I take that back and also in the process, because this is going to be past 1990, mid-nineties, the late nineties, they were really pushing Diamante, which is a fantastic area, but it’s a, it’s a beast in and of its own.
Um, but I want to go back real quick, just right back over there on Cortez Road, just north of Cortez golf course, there’s a poor soul lying in the dirt who will be there for eternity, with people driving around. And you’ve heard you this story have, I don’t know that you’ve told me this. Well, the audience hasn’t heard it, so let’s hear it again.
Anyway, many of the roads in the village make a horseshoe type. Okay. You know, kind of come in one side out the other one, Cortez does the same thing and right at the 12 [00:23:00] o’clock of Cortez, there’s some townhouses and you have a beautiful view of the 17th, 18th of all the ponds and everything, but there’s a grave in the middle of the road, literally in the middle of the road.
Now I sent you some video the other day about if you go out that Cortez gate, that’s the, uh, the middle fork of the saline river, which is a protected waterway where we get our water from. And that river had flowed so high and had risen so high. They couldn’t get this guy who had died when, what was, you know, just a farming community 50 or 70 years ago, whatever.
They couldn’t get him across the river to get him down to Jesse Hill’s involvement. So they buried him right there. Well, here’s where a lot of interesting things come together about 1978. Cortez is getting to be done. It’s getting there, they’re developing a Cylo and fully sedan. And some of these other subdivisions around that area, many of which are still unoccupied that aren’t near that aren’t in inside the golf course.
Oh. [00:24:00] And one other digression here, the first golf course was designed and I’ll remember his name alt Tom alt, but he was working with another company and DeSoto was kind of a labyrinth kind of fitted on top of itself where you have to kind of go in and out and go in and out. Uh, when they got to Cortez, they decided it would make a figure eight.
And the purpose of figure eight is you could sell homes on the inside and on the outside, it doubled your effective surface area of the golf course. Right. No. The genius idea about 19 77, 78, don’t quote me on this. Mr. Cooper, who had been doing great here, his, his family lived on the lake down on this side.
His mother lived on this side. They started a couple of churches here. It was really starting to take off. He got a phone call that said there was an enormous development in Northwest Arkansas, just outside Bentonville. That was about to go belly up. And so he thought, you know, this may be a bird on the ground.
I may need to go get this thing. Let’s go see what we do. He went up [00:25:00] to Bentonville, figured out where we’re Bella Vista was going to be. They were, they figured out where they could immediately put two golf courses. Now the village is 26,064 acres. Okay. Roughly 41 square miles. But we are the largest singularly gated community in the world.
There are other places that have more gates and smaller cells, but as far as one place, one time, one set of gates where that’s it? Well, he got the Bentonville and looked around and went. Why would I put up the gate? Cause there’s nobody here. Right? And number two, he actually built it on either side of Interstate 49.
So as you’re driving through one side is one golf course, one side to the other and he started developing Bellavista. We said, what does this have to do with the grave? And Cortez seems as if the fine folks here in hot Springs village were looking around and going, you know, we’re going to finish this Portello’s road, but there’s this dead guy in the middle of the road where we’re supposed to put things.
So they pull out the fax machine,
[00:26:00] the drum, you younger kids won’t know what we’re talking about. Will they, Randy? No, no, no. They spin up the drum, they fax it and they said, you know, this is the plot. This is the plant. These are the people that we’ve found that we believe are related to this guy. Can we get a release? Can we get it? And they couldn’t.
They couldn’t find anybody that would claim this guy. They were going to exhume him. They were going to take him down and bury him at the there’s a cemetery just over the river. And they were gonna, you know, re rededicate him there. Can’t do it. So they literally built the road around him and in village or style, in my opinion, in village or style, the women’s club garden club and the men’s garden club take care of him every year, he gets new, fresh roses.
He gets new, fresh flowers. People come out and actually mind the, uh, the grave at Cortez.
Randy: [00:26:49] That’s awesome. That’s pretty interesting. Okay. Now I’ve got I, it it’s, it’s still on my mind. So Cooper is looking at this as kind of [00:27:00] more of an affluent thing. I mean, he’s courting, he’s porting guessing he’s courting a fluent people to come here and relax and recreate and do whatever, you know, whatever they want to do.
But. I would assume that might include in the early days, it might include the desire to hunt. So could be. So was that, was that part of the, was that part of the sales pitch early on or no? Well, if that’s too minor of a point then we can move on.
Dennis: [00:27:31] No, no, no, it’s a, it’s a great point. It’s a great point. And it really does need to be addressed.
And actually, I need to address the village security in just a moment. And I’ll tie another story into that. Um, let me remind everybody. That’s watching that everybody that comes inside the village rides on a road that no taxpayers pay for zero. Zero. We have over 900 children that will hop on buses and ride to either Jessieville or [00:28:00] fountain lake every day from this establishment, for this facility, they get all of our tax dollars.
And besides educating our children, we get nothing. They don’t pick up trash, they don’t do police. They don’t do fire. All of your PLA dues cover everything. You see lake maintenance, you name it, everything comes out of our PLA dues. Now, when you understand that, you also understand that it’s optional.
For example, there used to be a sign-up that said, uh, handgun law enforced will, do you know what it said? Handgun law enforced because we didn’t have to. This could have been the world’s largest open carry. If we wanted to, this could, this could still within legal laws or whatever you, you know, would be an open package container.
It could be a, it could be a little, yeah, they do stock our ponds because typically the water is actually the property of Arkansas too. Yeah. Yeah. Who knew. Right, right. But, but part of the scenario is that [00:29:00] Cooper figured out early on, they wanted to have control inside, but they would tell you, oh, you want to go hunting, man.
It’s great. Hunting just down this way. And they’re right there. They’re correct. They’re exactly correct. Uh, what you have to understand is is that in the early seventies, you know, Cooper started what we see today. Sans that buildings outside, the outbuildings are out parcels, but if you went this way, we went back east.
You could go from here to Balboa and there wasn’t anybody gonna bother you because you’re driving down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. And nobody knows if there’s even going to be a subdivision. We don’t even know if we’re going to build it out. Okay. And as a POA, I’ll remind you that if the village were to have tanked Cooper could have gone, sorry.
And there could have been massive, massive PLA fees charged to the owners, to the property owners who were basically in a commune of sorts, you know, a financial commune that we’ve got to pull ourselves out of this ditch and that has never happened.
Randy: [00:29:59] And do [00:30:00] I understand? Correct. So this, so from the west gate to Balboa was the part that was really being sold.
The rest had already been clear-cut?
Dennis: [00:30:10] It was being clear cut in those years. It hadn’t even been, they kind of, when Cooper saw what had happened. I remember he started working with Dirks. And then he ended up working with Weyerhaeuser. Weyerhaeuser has a little shorter horizon than dark do darks would come in and cut.
And Mr. Dirks covers this in his book, they would selectively, cut out the whole ones they wanted and they didn’t want only pine. They may have wanted some huge oats or something like that, but they selectively cut it when, when Weyerhaeuser came in and they typically did this in the nineties, but, and it’s roughly from Ponce de Leon ish.
And that’s where they had just simply made it a pine plantation and everything. Every tree was a pine plantation, not to say it’s not beautiful in the fall. It’s not as pretty to me in the fall. Right. So, so what’s going on is, is [00:31:00] that Cooper is managing. Uh, Cherokee village, they’re growing hot Springs village and bringing people in as quick as they can there.
And this is, one of the details that can’t wait to share. And they’re also developing building Vista. And at any point, this could have all collapsed every part of it. But yeah, one of the scenarios was, is that they had different towns that they marketed to and they would bring people in for a seminar and they would give you a seminar and say, here’s what it looks like.
And here’s the slide show. And we’re going to show the video and the plane flies over the golf course and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And you can come down for a visit or you can buy it today. That would be a great idea, right? Yeah. And they, at the end of it, the reason, the way they were able to get anybody there, virtually anybody there.
Is that they gave away a lot, every, every set seminar, every session, they would have a drawing and you would get a planted deeded property in hot Springs, village, Arkansas, and the $6 dues you’re going to have to pay. Yeah. But, uh, they gave that to you every, [00:32:00] they would give those away every time. That’s how they kind of built up.
And anyway, as things developed, I also say, you know, you can hunt outside the village. You can fish here in the village, you can, you know, whatever. Well, imagine this, Randy. I mean, I’m sitting here on Lake DeSoto. The next like down is like Cortez. Next, like down from that, a little differently oriented is like Lago, which is our water supply that we get out of the middle fork of the saline river.
But at the time when they’re building that, that lake, the lake Lago, there’s nobody within it. A couple of miles. Hey Randy, I got a great idea. Why don’t you and me? You go down and we’ll go sufficient at the, uh, at the water supply. It was a completely different world, 30 and 40 years ago because. Because it was a completely different world within the first lake was the Soto where I’m sitting right now.
And he comes out of Cedar Creek and Cedar Creek runs on the north side of the lake of a DeSoto golf course. So with that, it’s got, it’s basically got a feeder and then there’s a bowl. There’s been Lena behind us and there’s Toledo [00:33:00] on the other side. And there’s probably, there’s a thousand-acre bowl and it generates a lot of water in the last couple of days in particular.
It generates a lot of work.
Randy: [00:33:09] No, we’ve had monsoon for those of you that are listening, that aren’t aware of this part of the country, including Texas.
Dennis: [00:33:15] Exactly what I’m looking at right now. I’ve got three and a half inches in the last 48 hours. Yeah.
Randy: [00:33:21] Yeah. Well, we haven’t had quite that, but yeah, we’re, we’re in the monsoon season, which here in Texas. Where was the first golf?
Dennis: [00:33:30] The first golf course was DeSoto. And once again, it was kind of elaborate kind of on top of itself. And they had all these acres, they just didn’t know how to use them yet, you know, and they really did learn as they went and, and. I’ll give you the statistics real quick. That there are 284 subdivisions.
Now there’s a 25% reserved in green space. Not including golf courses, lakes, all that stuff. We talked about this the other day. As you’re driving down the main roads, you don’t see any homes on the side because there’s a green [00:34:00] space buffer. It was actually modeled after Hilton Head, North Carolina. Or South Carolina, I believe.
Yeah, but it was actually, it was you, it was a master plan community. It was a master plan community, but you, you didn’t really realize was like any place else, cause you’d never been any place like that. You drove up a highway that was basically a modified logging road that went on up to, to Russellville.
But you turned in what definitely was a logging road into where people had spent millions of dollars and spent millions of dollars to get you there. And typically they would sell a lot between three and $5,000. They would finance it internally with Mr. Cooper. They had the Cooper finance, duh how’d I forget that.
Right. And then they usually would charge about 13% to 14% because they, you know, you talk about marketing to the affluent kinda, he was marketing to the new middle class. Exactly exactly. And, one of the quotes that they attribute to Mr. Cooper is that [00:35:00] he knew he read a review when he was in West Memphis, that is within 500 miles of where he sat, you know, which is Nashville and St.
Louis and Branson Silverdale, little rock, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Within 500 miles, somebody was retiring every 30 seconds. And with that retiring, he paid, he made two comments to that. He said, instead of buying a gold watch factory, I decided to make a place where people could live better in retirement than they did in their regular.
I liked it too. I, I thought, and it plays well, of course, because I mean, the bottom line is right. You and me both, neither one of us sitting on either side of this microphone has 20 digits in the bank or whatever. We’re all upcoming middle-class that want to achieve. We just want the chance to work a story, a story many times, tills, a lot of other little stories about the nanny, you know, it would be, it would be in the early two-thousands, early two-thousands, [00:36:00] 2001, 2002, there was a guy who was an attorney.
He had bought a piece of property here in the village and the village now in 2000, you know, we’re, we’re building on out to the east end. We’ve got bamboo, we’ve got Poland, they’ve opened Magellan. They’re working on Isabella and, and planning, uh, Granada. So I mean, Mr alt, who designed all these is really hopping.
So it’s opening up, you know, you wouldn’t call it a, a wilderness, you know, past like Lago on the backside of lake Lago. You know, you can stand up on Macero and look down on lake Lago and it’s got a tremendous view of everything there. There’s the dam and that’s our water supply. And I can tell you more stories about that too, but then behind that, if you stand from a Macero and look down, you’ll see there’s a line of delineation going right across the dam.
And it goes back that way toward Balboa. And this way goes back to the Western end of the village. And. You don’t think of them, anything about Atlanta delineation, except that line of delineation, is also a line of delineation of pine trees, trees, [00:37:00] and Cedars. And yeah, you follow me well said the attorney who happened to be a POA member, decided he wanted to go hunting in those 300 acres down behind there.
He takes his rifle. He takes his boat. He parks out in the middle of it. We’re I’m not going to tell you how to get there, but he, he drives from there, hikes back out in next thing, you know, villagers are complaining that there are gunshots being fired in the village. Okay. So for those of you who didn’t see that I waved my hands in the air like it was a crisis.
Okay. And, uh, the, the I’m going to watch my words very carefully here, please do the security officers came and they told the attorney, you can’t hunt here. This is POA land. And he said I’m a POA member. And they said you’re breaking the law. And he said, no, I’m breaking your rule. And they said we’re going to arrest you.
And he said you’re not a deputy. All of the sudden, all of a sudden the, [00:38:00] the profile of the village and the idea. And it was kind of, it was kind of Barney Fife. And I mean, frankly, it was, we didn’t need a lot of security there, but for those of you that don’t know, we went through 39 years here in hot Springs village without one homicide, without one homicide, and the homicide.
It’s sad, but it’s, uh, it was an elderly couple that, uh, one had terrible dementia. And, uh, she got very mad at her husband. She thought he had been cheating or something and he hadn’t, he was just a great guy. She actually threw an ashtray at him and unfortunately hit him in the head. He had a contusion, had a concussion, and died, but that was, that was ours in 37 years.
That was the first one we had had. So the issue I’m bringing up with the police force is, is in the next month we rushed all of the security forces to saline county and we got them deputized. Yes, sir. Your honor. I do. And we went to Garland county. We deputized him over there. So now they are true security officers and they’re actually police officers [00:39:00] hired by a private corporation, run by somebody who was not elected.
Just let that settle in a while. I, um, yeah. And, and by the way, uh, you will never get me to say a final word about Ricky Middleton, who there’s nothing to say bad about. He is our police chief, one of the greatest guys last year, about this time we had a pandemic episode, and, uh, the, the news blasted pandemic stop short-term rentals.
I read a through J which said unless they’re medical unless they’re military unless they’re journalists unless there are all these other things. And I checked all my people out and confirmed, and we would still keep renting to those people because that was inside the law. But unfortunately, my neighbors hadn’t read the law, so they called the police.
And so I ended up in front of Ricky Middleton going Ricky, the law says, you know, here, and he’s like, yeah, I know. I know. So in a matter of one of my first meetings with him in a matter of. [00:40:00] 20 minutes. Not only had we resolve something, but I also had a new friend. I mean, he’s a great small, uh, small engine repair guy.
He was fantastic when I call him, I go, Hey, Rick, I think I got some gas in my gas tank. I mean, in my, uh, or some water in my gas tank, he’s like, oh yeah, Dennis, there’s a little release nipple underneath there. And just anybody who calls their police chief, for small engine repair help.
Randy: [00:40:23] Yeah. Yeah. Well, you do, but, but it does bring up a point and for people like me, who I’m not currently a resident there again, I’m a wannabe, but it’s such a, it’s such an odd, it’s such an odd hybrid ish kind of governance for lack of a better word that I’m completely unfamiliar with.
I mean, I’m in, I’m in way over my head. To even try to remotely understand it. So it does bring up a point. So the PO the POA was established, you know, roughly a few years into the thing,
Dennis: [00:40:57] probably 73 to 74
Randy: [00:40:58] And Cooper did that to relieve himself of these other issues that he didn’t want to be bothered with.
So how does, I mean, is there anything that we should know about the establishment of that? How, how he set that up? I mean, because the charter, I mean, some, some of these things, I mean, they, they go back a long, long time and it seems to me as an outsider, I mean, some of those things, yeah. They might, should be revisited.
Maybe not. I mean, it’s up to, it’s up to the people that, that have made an investment there. I’ve made an investment in renting from people like you short-term. So I’m not, I’m certainly not going to cast a verbal vote about it, but I mean, come on, let’s face it. Something that was established. 45 years ago might be subject to a bit of modification
Dennis: [00:41:51] And one of the pieces that I meant to bring up earlier, and by the way to whoever is listening or watching and [00:42:00] sincerely thank you. We live in a headline society and it causes a lot of confusion. If you’re listening and watching right now, you want to hear the rest of the story or the deeper story. And, uh, I applaud you be thank you.
And I’m about to give you the rest of the story, but the POA and the, uh, and Cooper was a very symbiotic relationship until 2006. In 2006, Cooper said, we’re not going to develop any more properties, although they still could. They could do that today. And they do not have to be, uh, aligned or they did not have to be touching the village for them to align it.
They wanted to build something on the other side of the concrete plant. That’s up to them. They want it to be something in Benton. They could do that, that that’s completely up to them. They are the developer. And once again, I give them kudos. Hey, I, I’ve never made a city in the middle of the national forest before.
Good luck. Right. Good, good, good on ya. Um, that whole thing said in 2006, where, and that was that separation. When the POA basically had to kind of stand on its own [00:43:00] two legs. It wasn’t just the problem-solver anymore. A lot of people said, oh my God, now we’ve got a market through the POA, which has been on and off again, failure and success and mixed and whatever.
But the problem is that those bylaws and the charter that you’re talking about were set up to be symbiotic. We were li we leaned on each other. Well, there’s nobody here to lean on anymore. Okay. And that’s, what’s been, has co if you at, at its core, if you look back on the last 10 years, 14 years of, of PLA strife, the POA has has had to try to identify itself as a, is it is a resort marketing association.
Is it just a POA for maintenance? Is it, is it, is it a growth environment? I’m sorry.
Randy: [00:43:42] Well, yeah, the question is that they’re asking is what are we and try and answer that. I’ll say so back up. So 2006, what exactly happened?
Dennis: [00:43:53] Well, a couple of things. Number one, Cooper, which number one, says this out loud. [00:44:00] And they’ll say the same thing.
They’re the very first people to fall on their own sword and go lips. That was us. We did that. And yes, they made mistakes that I can point to you. There there’s the misnamed road. Anyway, they made mistakes. It’s not a problem. Everybody makes mistakes. But Cooper was smart enough to know that in 2006, they were watching the residential home market just go nuts.
And they were like, this is not sustainable. This is unfunded mental. It’s not based on fundamentals. We’re out. To try and save our own skin to save everything we’re out. And when they backed out of home sales, which everybody was just stunned, they kept their commercial property in little rock. They own a lot of commercial property, little rock.
I had the third-largest IT company in the state. I paid them a big check every month because I was on Bowman and mark and down in west little rock, downtown west little rock, you would say, and I paid them every day or every month. Uh, and they still own a tremendous amount of real estate there. But on the residential side, they were like, we’re out
Randy: [00:45:01] now about 2006 where they were, they had, they already been historically tapering off their construction inside the village?
Dennis: [00:45:07] Yes and no. Uh, you got to understand 2006, they had just opened Granada, which was a gangbuster. Oh my God. And I have pictures of them, they grew in Granada for an entire year before they let anybody play golf on it.
Randy: [00:45:22] and we’re two years before the big real estate bust.
Dennis: [00:45:26] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
So they did, they, they could see the future and they saw where it was going and wise enough for them. Now, I usually don’t cover this and this is a big, big, big deal. The POA board, which let me back up one step by charter by the original bylaws is a volunteer group. We have people that pay thousands of dollars to be elected, to be on the board, to take verbal abuse, to get nothing, not one dime.
So I’ve asked repeatedly why don’t we have a board of directors that gets [00:46:00] paid. If you paid me and you wanted to be under the board of directors, that’s something I would want.
Randy: [00:46:05] And for people that don’t understand, so to be on the board, You are elected. You are in essence, you are an elected official.
Dennis: [00:46:14] And then the board appoints, hires, whatever you want to use the word, the general manager or who was the CEO or the leader. So the POA has established this policy that we’re going to set over here and here will be the leader of the PLA and here will be all the ordinance to them. And we tell them what to do.
We don’t try and go Morton and go micromanage everybody down the food chain, which has been a problem here and there, but I’m not going to,
Randy: [00:46:41] and I’ll tell the audience. I do a considerable amount of work with city government here in the state of Texas and the analogy that I would make correct me if I’m wrong, just to make sure that I’ve got a clear picture.
So here in Texas, you know, you’ve got. Uh, a mayor who’s elected, but who also sits on a board, which in essence is a city [00:47:00] council, seven people, four votes got to have four votes, obviously, to get anything done. Everybody, four people have to agree. They are all elected officials. They hire a city manager.
The city manager is not an elected official city. Manager’s not making policy city managers basically carrying out what the board wants or the council wants. The council doesn’t really get involved in the nitty-gritty details of how it’s getting done. It’s up to that city manager. Who’s also got a legal team and they’re going to do everything by the law.
And they’re carrying forth. The marching orders of the city council. Similar or different?
Dennis: [00:47:39] could not be more accurate, could not be more accurate. And that is exactly the case. Except for many times the board in a larger city, maybe a paid position. Correct. And let me go back. And obviously, the general manager would be, but let me go back.
We have never, never, ever in 50, coming on 51 years, we have never had a paid director [00:48:00] because Cooper wrote that initially into the charter that you can’t be paid and listen, 25 years ago in the middle nineties, when we had the big parachute golden parachute, boom, and whatever, they were still meeting in roughly rubber stamping, whatever Cooper asks.
So it didn’t take three hours a month. Yeah. Now there are five meetings a week, and now you’ve got to, you know, we’re trying to work with the marketing. We’re trying, we’ve, we’ve turned, we’ve turned the PLS into a different beast or trying to, and as you know, Randy, I mean, you know, city government, which is effectively a hard thing to change.
Well, it’s turning a battleship. Yeah, yeah. Literally. Yeah. Literally is. But as Cooper was building in 2006, they kind of stepped back and said, we’re not going to do this anymore. Okay. Uh, in 2004 and let me back up Cooper, quit building properties in the light. They quit planning out new properties probably in 2004, 2005 [00:49:00] and Erik Estrada.
Yeah. Yeah. Well NRPI, but, and I think it’s the Fowler brothers. There’s a couple of brothers that actually did this, but they came in and they called themselves re developers. And the POA at that time had 700, 700 lots that they could not get rid of. We now have 3,800. Yeah. But we’re selling those as fast as we can.
But my point being at the time it was old Lord, what are we going to do with these 700 lots? And they sold them to NRPA out of California, out of Irvine, California. And they came in, did commercials. Remarketed the area they called themselves. Redeveloper. Yeah. And once again, they flew you in for free.
They put you up at the Camelot in little rock, they dropped you down on a bus and pull down the shades and you watched the movie all the way down. And when you got here, they said, isn’t this glorious. Well, it ought to be, you were looking at the lampshade for the last five hours, the last hour. Right. And a lot of people bought because at that time there was always that, that [00:50:00] disparity in your mind, you know, and the number one question, you know, Randy, what would this, this lot cost you in Atlanta?
You’re not in Atlanta, you know, but they would sell them and they kept doing it. Well, Cooper, I mean, NRPs started doing the same thing. They bought the first 500 lots. Uh, I’m sorry. They bought the 700 lots for $500 apiece and a year suspension of deuce, which comes out to about $600, $650 an acre. Yeah, let that sink in.
And as I told you, when I was on another board at that time, a smaller board, and I said, you know, you guys didn’t offer me that deal. And they were like, well, you weren’t going to redevelop us. You know? Well, it’s that, that’s a good way.
Randy: [00:50:44] now was the whole place plated at this point?
Dennis: [00:50:51] So by 2004, the whole place is plated, and it’s run by another developer.
So if an RPI had bought 500 lots that were all contiguous and they wanted to turn it into an amusement park, they [00:51:00] couldn’t have, because Cooper would have to. Rubber stamp that, that they would have to replant everything. Yeah. And then Cooper, I have to rubber-stamp sign off on that. Well, if Cooper didn’t want to do that, or if there wasn’t enough money in it, you know, I can’t say that I blame him.
They called themselves a redeveloper. Uh, I think a lot reseller would probably have been a better term. Uh, they did, uh, the, at the moment, as I said, in a blog this last week, they blew up the market, uh, people that had had interior lots on an unpaid road in the middle of nowhere, uh, that were trying to sell theirs for a thousand.
We’re getting letters in the mail that said, we’ll buy your lot for you thousand dollars. And they were like, yes, yes. This is what we’re looking for. And about the time they started buying that, you know, the end was near. Right. Um, but one of the things that I wanted to come back, there was something I meant to mention, oh, well, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, 2006, POA board members.
Um, not too much after that Cooper came in after they [00:52:00] had left per se, actively. And they came to the board after, as the crisis was coming down on everybody. And they said, you know, you owe us these funds and it would be like excess funds or water funds, or we built this and you didn’t reimburse us and we owe you.
And so here’s what we propose. We propose that we will do a swap of these owed funds and we will give you these properties in the village. We give these to the POA and you will agree to pave all the roads we haven’t paved and run the utilities, water, power, sewer lights, cable, everything to those facilities.
We haven’t paid yet in lieu of this. Now, I don’t know if you realize what a Faustian bargain that could or could not have been. Uh, Jeff, a friend of mine was on the board at that time. And his comment was we did not know if they were going to survive another month. So a swap. Versus a bankruptcy that leaves us all going well.
I [00:53:00] thought you own that piece of land. Well, Noah, I want to, I want to make my driveway wider and now I can’t, I don’t have a developer to talk to. I mean, in a way it made sense, but there were about 20, 22 miles of the village of the 500 miles of the village. There are about 20 to 22 miles that have not been paved.
And the POA is responsible for that too. So I wanted to share how that came about and how we got there. Yeah. Yeah.
Randy: [00:53:24] Interesting. Well, listen to the place. I mean, given that story in that background, you know, it’s even more remarkable, isn’t it? That it is today that it is today. I don’t know if it’s what Cooper envisioned or not, but you know, it’s a success for sure.
I mean, we, we had an interview, um, with Greg who came from Dallas and he said it in that interview, in it. It of course resonated with me because that’s currently where I’m sitting in Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas, and it’s, it’s the [00:54:00] closest drive to not see a place that looks like Texas. Uh, you know, but given everything that now the village is, and even what it hopes to become.
Yeah. I mean, man, I mean, what is it? What does success? Because I so love the
Dennis: [00:54:17] place. Well, what if you don’t love the place? If you even hate the place, you still have to respect the people and the time and the energy and the estimation, and Mr. Dirks covers this in his book. It’s estimated that Cooper put in over $1.2 billion worth of infrastructure, housing, roads, everything in here.
Okay. Uh, you, you got to admire that. I mean, really. And once again, this place was nowhere and I tell you what, there’s a point we’re skipping over because I’m trying to envision the residents that are watching this or listening to this and the non-residents, and let’s cover an issue real quick right now.
And it may change a little, but it won’t change a lot anytime soon. But right now, a POA do an assessment is a tip, the technical name for what [00:55:00] your POA dues are. Um, a POA in, in Dallas may be several hundred a month, a couple of hundred a month.
Randy: [00:55:06] Oh yeah. I would say at a minimum if you’re in a community, you know, that operates like that.
Dennis: [00:55:11] Yeah. We, our dues are $39 a month that feeds the police, the fire department, the ambulance, the roads, the sewer, the water, the lights, you name it. Now that said if you own a home that has a water meter, what home wouldn’t have a water meter. It’s $69. Either way, I’m going to repeat, I’m going to give a number that I’ve shared a dozen times, Randy.
And I know you’ve probably heard it outside. The west gate is 88% of the national crime rate, which is okay. That’s not bad outside the east gate, about 18 miles away, um, is 86% of the national crime rate where I’m sitting right now is 13.2% of the national crime rate. That’s something like four standard deviations.
If you know anything about math, it’s, it’s virtually any way, I [00:56:00] don’t need to sell it rent you, you know the story. Yeah. Do I like numbers with all intents and purposes? Uh, sheriff Middleton says every crime that they have in a major city, we just don’t have as many of them. Yeah.
Randy: [00:56:12] And I might even argue with that, but he’s different.
Dennis: [00:56:16] So he would probably know, but he has a point. You have a point, you have a call.
Randy: [00:56:18] I mean, you know, you’re gonna, have drugs and, and, and all the consequences that go along with that anywhere, anywhere that you’ve got. Any group of people, large, large, or small, but it’s a fantastic place. I love it.
Which was the Genesis of, of this whole podcast, because I just really wanted to shine a light on it. I really wanted to learn more about it, the history, and I’m a history buff. So the history is important if you weren’t into this then, well, that’s what podcasts are for. You can hit stop, you know, or you can fast forward, but I’m sure there are other details that we, that we can come back to, uh, in, in future episodes.
And I want to put a [00:57:00] shout out to the audience and thank you. We’re really early on Dennis and I are, you know, we’re going to, we’re going to CA we’re going to find our rhythm and, uh, and work out what few kinks we’ve got. We on every major podcast platform there is. And frankly, some that is why not major, uh, but whatever your favorite podcast catcher is, we’re there.
Uh, the website is HSV inside out.com hot Springs village inside out.com takes you to the same. The same place. We’re going to try to populate the website. We’re currently moving our hosting. As we’re recording this, by the time you watch this or listen to this, we’ll have already gotten that done. So we’re going to try to populate it with even non-podcasts, things, articles, and so forth.
Dennis will be putting some stuff. He’s the resident expert here. I appreciate the history lesson. I appreciate I appreciate what the predecessors have done. Take us out, but do it by giving us just some of the bullet point features of the [00:58:00] place for people that may be unfamiliar. Some of the key stats about the place now that we know that it was a place that was just dirt road and a bunch of trees.
Dennis: [00:58:10] It really was. And, and Randy, once again, I have to tell you, thanks, you know, as a, as a techie, many of the things you’ve been doing for this podcast show, I usually am burdened with and thank you, Jesus. That Randy is taking care of such things. Uh, it, it allows me to time to, to pontificate about, about, uh, lakes and mailings and such anyway.
Um, yeah, I’ll tell you what I, can, I love to quote on the stats and I’m good with the stats. That’s not a big deal, but the stats, as you know, Randy just don’t do it justice. It really doesn’t 26,000 acres, 26,063 acres, 284 subdivisions nine. Uh, golf courses, 11 lakes, um, everything, uh, every property, every property touches or is adjacent to is covered by green space.
There’s screen [00:59:00] space everywhere, intentionally, just for that. Um, you know, and, um, I think I might have mentioned this in one of our other podcasts. A lot of times we named places Rolling Oaks. Well, that’s what was there before we bulldozed it flat and put in sewer systems and, you know, that’s, that’s not how the village is.
It’s, it’s very pristine, very wood-like. Uh, if you’re interested in a wooded area, this is the place. Um, the typical lot, uh, an interior lot inside the village probably would go for $4,000 these days. Uh, and yeah, you can have the, and I call it the, I want to be left alone lot, uh, where you can be at the end of the road, as you talked about staying in one of those Randy work.
Um, I love Abraham Lincoln’s quote. He said he didn’t mind having neighbors as well because he couldn’t see the fire smoke from their fire. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So there are a lot of alone places here in the village that you just, you, you don’t know unless you pull them up on a map and look at it every lot in there.
Randy: [00:59:54] Every lot is buildable, right?
Dennis: [00:59:57] well, man, I’m [01:00:00] glad you said that. Yeah. This is a common misconception. Uh, Mr. Cooper and attorney wasn’t too prone to being, being sued. He didn’t care much for that. So, uh, one of the things he would do is is that when Jeff, my business partner has a lot, that is 5.3 acres.
I’m not even going to tell you where, but it’s 5.3 acres. You know how many goats you could get on 5.3 acres? You know how many homes you can get on 5.3 years, one no wire, because what he did was is that why, why do you make it five acres instead of one-acre ply to, because there’s only one good Homesite.
So when people say, oh, you’ve got one of those unbuildable lots, there’s no such thing. In the village, there is no such. Okay.
Randy: [01:00:45] We’ll see. I didn’t know that. So the 5.3 is because there’s only one real ideal place to build a house on the earth.
Dennis: [01:00:52] Okay. Exactly.
Randy: [01:00:55] And many times there are people we’re still arguing about, you know, well, how come I got a [01:01:00] third of an acre and they’ve got five and they’re paying the same. Okay. Well, I get it. That makes sense. I didn’t know that
Dennis: [01:01:06] group of investors come in in 2007 and they flew in from Atlanta. They had been, uh, overnight, they were all completely worn out and they wanted me to show them lots, literally that were right across the street from the POA. And I said, okay. And they were like, yeah, we’ll take like 10 or 12 of them.
And I’m like, what do you mean? Well, you know, just line them up and we’ll just take like the street. No, no. This street though. So 30 years ago, and, and there may be, there might be three or four properties on these 12 that are available and they envisioned that everything was square. You know, just, just like it.
Wasn’t Florida X, Y 80 foot, 1 28 foot 1 28. But, and I’m like, there’s probably no two lots in the village that are like that. Uh, and, and we’re diving deep. We’re going really deep. Let me, let me tell you the inside here, a lot of complaints have been that when they were building the west side, a [01:02:00] third acre lot seemed normal.
That was what you would get in a subdivision, right? But most subdivisions were square and X by Y. Right? Well, as we started building out to the middle center and particular, even on the east Cooper was still using some of those same criteria for the, the sizes. Well, now, if you want to build a larger house and you want a double garage, Or even a triple garage, you end up having to build an L on that acre.
Cause you can’t get it on a third acre and you can’t have a drive-through anyway, it, it, it made for complicated, it made for a lot of houses that the front facia had a garage door. Right. And if that looked cookie cutter to you it causes its cookie-cutter, right? Yeah. But that was one that’s one of the complaints they’ve been having, uh, Jeff and I had been buying doubles and even triples and you can call Cooper and recombine those back together.
You would have three payments or, you know, whatever. But the bottom line is, is that you could have contiguous land, but those are so rare these days. I mean the [01:03:00] 32,000 home sites, uh, 32,283 homesites, uh, 19% occupied roughly throughout the entire village is about 80% vacant. And that’s one of the things it’s quiet at night, Randy.
I mean, it is quiet as a tomb, isn’t it? Yeah. One of the things that I had to turn around because the lighting just wouldn’t support it, but whenever we’re looking back over the light that way, uh, just over that other side. And then on the other side, there is part of the national, so forest 1.7 million acres and part of the 225,000 wilderness acres.
And it’s dark. I mean, it’s profoundly, dark and unlicensed summer evenings. You see the Magellanic cloud, which basically he is the, uh, solar system on edge. And there are billions of stars, billions. And you say, well, I never saw that before. You were never in the woods, in the dark without light pollution, you know, uh, it’s a, it’s a pristine place in many ways.
And Randy, I cannot tell you, thank you enough. Seriously. [01:04:00] I appreciate, uh, personally, um, I’m not gonna mention any names, but I had a very, very prominent realtor. I talked to yesterday, tell me that she saw what we were doing. It was improving the name and the reputation of the village, and she really appreciated it.
She had had people calling and asking about it. There’s a compliment. There was a compliment.
Randy: [01:04:19] Well, that’s what, that’s what we hope to do. Again, the website is HSV inside out.com. Our tagline, I guess, tells you everything you need to know. It’s a place or it’s a podcast where hot Springs village, Arkansas is the star.
Uh, Dennis is a, he’s a good steward and a kind of a custodian in resident. Uh, I’m just a guy in Texas who hopes to get there one day and spend some time there. So I love it. Appreciate you saying yes to the podcast. I hope you got something out of it. Well listeners, if you don’t subscribe yet to the podcast, please do that.
And the greatest thing that you can do for us is telling a friend about it. I’m going to give you the last words, Dennis, take us out,
Dennis: [01:04:58] tell you what I’m [01:05:00] going to tell you that more than see this one coming. Yeah, I’m fine. I just didn’t see it coming.
I think that, I think that everybody, everybody to have something they’re appreciative for, if you, if you don’t think you have enough things in your life, it’s because you’re not thankful for the things you do have. Amen. And we literally, literally, and I apologize for the crackling in my voice, but we literally face Jesus.
We thank the Lord above that. We get to live in a place like this because. There’s no, it’s not that there are no troubles and there’s no stress and strop and there’s no crime. And of course, there is that’s everywhere. But when everybody you talk to is a nice person, you come out and you’ve had a bad day, or you’ve been struggling with something at work or struggling with something in your family and you come out and your neighbor goes, Hey boy, I love those gardenias.
It [01:06:00] looks really beautiful. Boy, your yard’s really pretty this year. That noise, Randy, that noise.
Randy: [01:06:04] Yeah. Well, that’s been my best description of the whole thing. So yeah, the minute I get in the car and head that way, I’m excelling. Then the minute I pull through the gate, I make sailing again. And the minute I pull into wherever it is, we’re staying guys.
It’s just a, it’s a big exhale.
Dennis: [01:06:19] And if you’re looking from some exhale time like that, and people say, well, I don’t know that we can afford to move and we can’t change our life. That’s fine. Just come visit. Um, there’s a guy on a gold rush and old, a guy named Fred Hart who has, it’s a boot, he’s got a boot, six inches higher on one side than the other.
He’s a tough old, you know exactly who I’m talking about. And he said something that just hit me right. Between the eyes during the panel. And he said, I’m 83 and I’m still diving in this cold water in Alaska. I’m still diving. And I’m making great memories because at my age, that’s all [01:07:00] you’ve got.
And I thought, yep, it is. I mean, and that’s why I’m saying, please just come visit.
Randy: [01:07:12] If you need a respite if you need a decompression zone, Where the place in the footer
of the website is, uh, is an encouragement for those of you that haven’t visited those of you that have to keep visiting to go to Airbnb, go to VRB.
Oh, just plug in hot Springs, village village, hot Springs, village, Arkansas. And I mean, there are some great places in there that are affordable for any budget. There are places like Dennis has on the lake that are also ridiculously affordable. Um, I do some, I do some, a few event things every now and again, and did a deal with a chain hotel here in Dallas, nothing special, just a regular run of the mill, kind of an off the highway hotel, continental breakfast, you know, a hundred bucks a night.
You can [01:08:00] go to hot Springs village and spend a hundred bucks a little north, a little south. And I mean, trust me. It’s money. It’s money, money well spent
Dennis: [01:08:08] a hundred bucks will get you a house on the lake. Yeah, it really will. And then that’s no exaggeration and people are like, you got to be crazy. I’m like, no, no.
I know a place is $75 a night on the golf course. So, and by the way, if we’re, while we’re plugging if you don’t mind, DD village, prop.com, D as in Dennis and Diana, myself and my lovely wife village, prop.com. We have four Airbnb rentals. We are booked out what is this? This is June. We’re nearly completely booked through September, but all our units are lakefront, all our units.
We have hot tubs. All our units have kayaks for your use. All our units are pet friendly and on, on this same lake, you can see why we are booked out until September, but you
Randy: [01:08:47] can also see a live webcam
Dennis: [01:08:49] too. Oh yeah. Need the village prop.com as the light came on. I’m actually looking at it right now.
Yep. Yeah. It’s
Randy: [01:08:54] awesome. Thanks for listening everybody. We had a little trouble dismounting today, but [01:09:00] it’s okay. It’s all good. Cause we love the place so much and I hope it came through to you. All right. Thanks, Dennis. See you next
Dennis: [01:09:05] time. Good. See you, bud.