Bentonville, Arkansas, Where and What It Is Article from The Springfield News Leader, Springfield, Missouri - May 5, 1901 Written by W. L. A.
One of the Greatest Fruit Shipping Points in the South. Population 2500 - Fine Churches, Good Schools, Energetic Business Men, Excellent Hotels, Splendid Society and a Thriving Town.
One of the greatest fruit shipping points in the South - population 2,500 -- fine churches, good schools, energetic business men, excellent hotels, splendid society and a thriving town,
It is only six miles from Rogers out of Bentonville and the same conditions of soil and field cultivation exist in both neighborhoods. It is claimed for Bentonville that it is the largest fruit shipping point in the state of Arkansas, but there are people who are ready to dispute the claim. Neverless there can be no question as to the great quanities of peaches and apples grown in this neighborhood. The station agent informed me that when the crop was anywhere near average, 400 cars were shipped from Bentonville during one season.
Postcard of one of the many apple orchards that could be found all over Benton County in the early 1900's. The Gipple's farm was one of the showcase farms in the county.
Another claim made for Bentonville which is likely true, is that the largest brandy distillery in the world is located there. It is owned and operated by Mason & Carson. The government has a special bonded warehouse here with Dr. J. S. Thompson storekeeper and W. T. Brooks gauger. Another thing of which the town boasts is its water service. It is obtained from a lot of springs which come out of the ground a little east of town which are again set in a gravel pit. Into this pit the pipe for the pumping station is sunk and when the pure water from the springs is taken up it comes through a perfect natural gravel filter which is claimed makes it the healthiest and purest water on earth. Another citation of the town is boasted of unstinted terms by the traveling public, and that is the Laughlin hotel. It is not a pretentious looking place so as the outside is concerned, but a gentleman who travels the state told me the fare was the best and that it had the most elegantly furnished rooms of any hotel in the state of Arkansas.
There are a number of nice, good things to be seen around this thriving county town besides those already mentioned. The stores are full of good goods and they have clever managements who know how to treat the public. Among the dry goods people are the Jackson Dry Goods Co. and Terry & Burks. Among the leading firms in the grocery business are J. C. Knott, F. F. Floyd, Tune, Jackson & Co., K. B. Huffman, S. J. Black & Co., R. R. Cook, G. H. Jefferson and Mason & Moss. The hardware men are the Benton County Hardware Co. and J. G. McAndrew, F. M. Buck, Robeinson & Peel and E. M. Higley are the drug store people.
A look at downtown Bentonville close to the time frame this story was written
The dealers in furniture are Whitley Keer and W. W. Thomason. Wharton & Co. and the Enterprise are racket stores. I found two elegant stocks of millinery goods kept by Langford & Paul and Mrs. L. H. Wakefield. Besides the Laughlin hotel there is the Blake, run by T. T. Blake, Jr., and the Eclipse by Mrs. Roberts, Mason & Son and W.A. Laughlin run livery barns. McHenry & Bryan keep fruits and confections. James M. Bohart is cashier of the People's bank and G. P. Jackson is president. A. J. Bates is president of the Benton County bank, J. D. Covey is cashier.
The Bentonville High school [Academy] has recently has recently been turned over to the Baptists, who have not yet elected a president. The building is to be enlarged and the interior refurnished before the fall session opens. The public schools have 350 pupils, wit S.J. Blocker as the general superintendent. They have the usual complement of churches, all well attended.
This building was originally built as the Bentonville Academy. At the time of this article it had become the Ouachita Academy run by the Baptists. Later it would become the Bentonville High School. It was used until right around the time what is now known as Old High was built.
Bentonville is the county seat of Benton county, Arkansas, and has a population of 2,500 people. For the first time in my life I noticed a three-story court house here. Since I come to think of it it may be a good idea. The offices and jail occupy the first and second floors and the third is used for a court room. In this way they save the extra expense of building a jail and at the same place the court room so high from the ground that few people will care to climb two flights of stair to witness a court trial out of mere curiosity. The county officials are: E. L. Taylor, county and probate judge; R. A. Pickens, sheriff; I.C.Casey, county clerk; John Black, circuit clerk; H. C. Smith, treasurer.
The mayor of Bentonville is W. S. Floyd and the marshal is James Rains.
The strawberry, raspberry, plum and other fruit crops add no little to revenues of this community. The soil and climate are well adapted to their growth and the farmers find it profitable to grow them