Benton County's First Court House Made Of Small Hewed Logs
Benton County's First Court House Made Of Small Hewed Logs - By Alvin Seamster From The Benton County Democrat (1950), now the NWA Democrat Gazette - The Century Of Progress Edition
The first court house was a small hewed log one and stood on the north side of the Square, but was only used about 3 years, when a larger one, a two-story brick structure about 50 feet square was erected in what is now the center of the Square, John and William Walker being the contractors for this building which stood until some time during the Civil War, when it was destroyed by fire.
[In May 1867, the county court ordered construction of a temporary courthouse.]
The memorial plaque telling about the location of the first court house in Benton County in front of the present court house. Unfortunately, Vintage Bentonville has no images of the first three courthouses.
In 1870 W. W. Reynolds was commissioned to select a site, accept bids and make the necessary plans for a new court house. The county was to issue up to $50,000 in bonds to pay for the new court house. J. H. Neely and Samuel H. Kelton were the low bidders, at $33,000 and were ordered to proceed with the building, on the corner where the bus station now stands [currently where the Walmart Neighborhood Market is located]. As has been the custom through all the years, we have had objectors John A. Dickson, J. V. Lee, J. C. Woods and 28 other petitioned the court to abandon the bond issue and issue county scrip for the completion of the building.
After a proper hearing the petition was dismissed and the court house was built and finished enough to occupy by 1872. The lumber in this house was hauled from Peter Van Winkle's mill near War Eagle, as was the lumber for nearly all the early houses built in the county.
Image of the Benton County court house finished in 1872
Of course we all know that the present court house, being rated as one of the finest in the state, was started in 1928, and for future generations to be sure of the date and as to who the officers of the county were and most of the citizens, especially the Masonic fraternity of the county, there is a large sealed box in the corner stone, with a copy of the Benton County papers included.