Disastrous Fire Wipes Out Pavilion At Bella Vista Early Tuesday Morning Article from a July 1, 1930 Newspaper
Fire discovered by Bert Lively, manager of Mount & Rickett Grocery destroyed the dance pavilion and social center of Bella Vista resort, five miles north of Bentonville about four o'clock Tuesday morning. The building and all its contents were a total loss. Losses checked up by the fire sufferers will total $20,000.
Four men and four women were asleep in their rooms in the building and were aroused by Lively and escaped being burned to death. The fire burned with such rapidity that they barely escaped with their lives, and within 30 minutes only a pile of smoldering ruins marked the spot where once stood the most popular dancing pavilion in the Ozarks.
Dance floor of the pavilion that was destroyed by fire
Sleeping in the building at the time of the fire were Mrs. Ercie Wyers of Rogers, Mrs. Ruth Little, Mrs. Vanherwynan, Miss Rose Hopper; Teddy Logus of Rogers; Bert Lively, Isaac Beach and Ralph Ryan. Nearly all of them lost part of their personal effects.
Lively, who was the first to discover the fire, states it started in the south end of the Pavilion. He barely had time to arouse the other sleepers before the building was a mass of flames.
Mr. Linebarger believes that the fire originated from a short circuit or defective wiring in the electric flash lighting used to keep the drum heads dry. The light in the drum was noticed burning by a watchman at 2:30 that morning.
Thousands Have Danced Here
No one knows how many thousands of happy couples have danced away many happy hours on its polished floor. Many noted people including governors, senators, congressmen, noted musicians, writers, and speakers have been entertained there; not to mention the thousands who have sat on the benches watching the dancers, enjoyed the music and watching the cars drive along the highway and lake. This restful, pleasure out under the open stars was a great treat for people in the vicinity, in Bentonville and elsewhere, which will be missed and which helped make Bella Vista so popular.
The Pavilion built 11 years ago  was the pride of the three Linebarger Brothers who read the future as a magician. It was only a little affair, 24 feet by 100 feet, but it proved popular and every few years it had to be enlarged. It grew as Bella Vista grew, each year adding to its popularity among the cottage owners and the hotel guests.
Only The Third Fire In The History Of The Resort
Tuesday morning's disastrous fire was but the third one in the 12 years Bella Vista has been existence, which is really a remarkable record, considering there are nearly 400 cottages and buildings there. The other fires were those of the cottage of Mr. Webb in 1925 and the garage and cabinet shop of Linebarger Bros. in 1923.
A postcard image of what the Pavilion looked like prior to the fire.
Temporary Buildings Being Built
Within eight hours after the fire a gang of workmen were at work putting up buildings to be replaced later by permanent ones. The dressing rooms for bathers will be adjoining the pool and will be an improvement greatly appreciated by the bathers.
Nothing will be done until after the season closes toward replacing the dancing pavilion.
Dances To Be Held At Wonderland
The big dancing floor in Wonderland is amply large enough to accommodate the dancers, says Mr. Linebarger, and the novelty of dancing in the cool temperature of Wonder Cave will be a novelty and pleasure to all. Mrs. Irma Nott-Magruder will act as hostess there and will have complete charge of the dancing.
No one probably feels the passing of the old Pavilion greater than Mrs. Magruder, who for six or seven years has had it in charge, and made the place an attractive and inviting spot.
Heavy Losses With Little Insurance
C. A. Linebarger, resident manager of the Bella Vista properties, told the Record and Democrat man Tuesday that their losses will reach about $15,000. To replace the Pavilion and social center which covered 15,800 square feet of floor space would cost fully $10,000. All the equipment and furnishings in the building were owned by Linebarger Brothers. Two soda fountains and a piano were part of the furnishings destroyed. The loss of equipment and furnishings he placed at $5,000. The total insurance carried by Linebarger Bros. was but $3,000. Less than ten days ago the insurance was reduced from $5,000 to $3,000.
The Varsity Orchestra of Drury College, Springfield, were the next heaviest losers. The boys lost all of their ten instruments valued at $2,400. They were not insured. The lake was drained Tuesday afternoon in hopes that some of them were found uninjured, but they were found to be a total loss. This was a hard blow to these boys as they depend on their orchestra to pay their way through college next fall.
This view gives you an idea of how huge the Pavilion at Bella Vista was before the fire.
The grocery store of Mount & Ricketts suffered a loss of $1,200 on their stock with no insurance.
Teddy Logus of Rogers, who was managing the Coffee Shop and refreshment booths, places his loss at $800, including a stock of 225 cigars and tobacco, over 200 cases ginger ale and pop and other supplies. Teddy also lost a valuable gold watch, four suits of clothes, 12 shirts and other wearing apparel. Sam Dixon lost his best motor boat and row boats valued at $300 with no insurance.