Building Boom of Bentonville 1887 - 88 By J. Dickson Black
In the spring and summer of 1887 there must have been a job in Bentonville for anyone who could use a hammer and saw, lay brick or stone, or build fireplaces. For Bentonville had what may have been one of its biggest building booms.
I have been told by several of the older builders that there was a time when, if a head carpenter had a house to build, he would try to start in the spring so as to have it all done in the late summer or early fall.
If that was was the way in 1887 there must have been a lot of carpenters who moved in, for there were more than 40 new houses built in town that year as well as a hotel, one block of brick business buildings, and some frame business buildings. New rooms and other improvements were made on several houses in town, too.
In the downtown business area, W. A. Terry built a two-story frame hotel for $2000. This stood where the Putman's Mens Store was later located in the 100 block of S. Main St.
The block on West Central from Main Street to the alley is what was later the City Hall, was all built that summer and moved into late in the fall.
The first building was the People's Bank, and it was said to be the finest business building in all of northwest Arkansas at the time. I have never been able to determine what it cost to build at that time.
Looking at the Peoples Bank building on the southwest corner of the Bentonville Square . This image was taken in 1897.
Next were two two-story brick buildings for Mr. I.B. Gilmore, who was also an officer in the bank. Then a two-story brick building was constructed for Dr. W. R. Davis at a cost of $3,000. At the end of this block was a brink, two-story double building built by James Haney at a cost of $3,500.
Other business buildings and their construction costs include: Dr. J. M. Thompson, two brick offices, $800; Dunn and Henry, a framed business house, $400; F. C. Hawkins, a framed office and implement house, $500. I do not know where these last buildings stood.
The following list of houses were all built in 1887. I am sure that many of them are still standing today [at the time this article was written by Mr. Black.] They more than likely have been changed so many times that the one who had them built would not know his old home today.
In the original part of town, Dr. C. D. Taliaferro, a 1-1/2 story frame house, $750
The Dr. C. D. Taliaferro house which was located somewhere between the 100 block of E. Central and N. E. 2nd St.
The T. T. Blake, a two-story frame house, $2000. This house [until recently stood] at 301 Blake Street
The T. T. Blake house was accidentally destroyed while trying to move it.
The home of F. P. Galbraithe, a two-story frame home, $600. This stood where Jaycee Park [later was built.] S. G. Magruder, a single story frame house, $600. G. Farckoe, 1-1/2 story frame house, $700. Mrs. Curtis, one-story frame house, $350. Dr. Davis, one-story frame house, $200, listed as rent house.
The Deming addition was just opened that year. It lay on the north side of the old town plat. W. B. Deming built a two-story frame house there for $3,000. This still stands at 101 N.E. Fifth St.
This house today is better known as the Hurley house. Dr. Hurley ran a hospital out of this house for 40 years.
Also in the Deming addition, John K. Putman, 1-1/2 story frame house, $600. S. B. Robertson, one-story frame house, $500. W. P. Gilliam, one-story frame house, $400. S. M. Roberts, one-story frame house, $600.
Judge Mauck, a one-story frame house, $900. M. C. Bates, one-story frame house, $400. J. H. Couch, one story frame house, $450. J. A. Backus, a box house, $250. J. H. Burnham, two-story frame house, $800. Mrs. Paul, one-story frame house, $750. James Oaks, a box house, $200. Mr. Foster, one-story frame house, $150.
This next group of houses were in the Clark Addition, which lay on the southwest side of the old town: W.R. Clark, a two-story frame house, $1,400; Mrs, Robbins, two-story frame house, $900; Frank Steitz, one-story frame house, $250; E. B., 1-1/2 story frame house, $1,000; A. Clingingsmith, one-story frame house, $400; and H. L. Starck, one-story frame house, $400.
I. R. Hall, 1-1/2-story frame house, constructed at a cost of $800, was the only home built in the Smartt addition that year. R. N. Corley's two-story frame House, ($600) and Mrs. Woolsey's two-story frame house ($1,000) were both in the Howard Division.
The following homes were built in the Railroad Addition, which is in the southeast part of town. McHenry and Bryan, two-story frame house, $1,700; C. W. Clapp, one-story frame house, $300; Mrs. Phillip, one-story frame house, $700: J. A. Rice, two-story brick house, $2,750.
The Rice House sits today at 204 S.E. 3rd Street. Mr. Rice was an attorney in town.
Harry Elliott , three-story brick house, $3,000, still standing at 303 S. E. Third St.
The Elliott home was built by Colonel Elliott for his parents
A. B. Greenwood, 1-1/2-story frame house, $750; Charley Rice, frame house, $350; and R. A. Pickens frame house, $350.
Local newspapers in late 1887 said that this was the biggest building boom Bentonville had ever had, but they didn't give any reason for why so many new buildings were constructed that year.
It would be nice to know how many of these houses are still standing today. If you live in an older houses in town and think it was built as part of the boom of 1887 it would be easy to prove. Just check your abstracts to see who owned the place in 1887.