Our Arkansas Trip - Recounts a visit to Bentonville in 1889 From The Columbus Weekly Advocate (Columbus, Kansas) February 21, 1889
Saturday morning last, accompanied by our better half, we, the senior member of the Advocate firm, took a little trip via Frisco railroad over to Benton county, Arkansas, to visit friends for a day or two, and especially to be with a sick sister for a short season.
Leaving Columbus at 4:30 a.m., we arrived at Monett at 7 o'clock. After partaking of a hearty breakfast, we boarded the Ft. Smith train and pulled out for Rogers, distant 55 miles south. Just before the train pulled out of the station the rain began to pour down in torrents. And such a rain is seldom witnessed. During the 55 miles ride we saw nothing of interest outside of rain, which began to become quite interesting, yet somewhat monotonous. About the only thing that attracted our attention as we passed through Missouri, was an occasional sign which read in bold letters "Saloon," at some of the stations we passed. Of course that sign looks odd to a Kansan.
Our train reached Rogers at 10 o'clock and the rain still falling. After waiting in the depot about thirty minutes, we boarded the Bentonville plug train and pulled out for the city of Bentonville, our destination. The distance between these two points is six miles, for which the railroad company (owners of the plug), charge 50 cents for carrying a passenger. From Rogers to Bentonville the road runs through a very pretty prairie country and pretty well improved. At 10:30 the whistle blew for the station of our destination.
This would have probably been the train they rode on.
The day was so dark and rainy that in passing from the depot through the town in a closed 'bus, we could see but little, or form much of an idea as to what the town was, or was made of.
Saturday afternoon, the rain continued to fall in a gentle, dismal form. But, notwithstanding the rain, we took in the town, and was agreeably surprised to find such a nice place, and containing so many nice business houses and residences. There are two banks and each own a fine bank building, built in the most modern style, out of brick - the outside being St. Louis pressed brick. The inside of each building is furnished in hard wood and in modern style. The banks are composed of strong capitalists and considered perfectly reliable. The business is done around a small square or park, and built up around some good brick blocks. All kinds of business is represented. The city has good school houses, four good churches, two hotels, a good flouring mill, good jail, and last, but not least, the foundation, or rather the walls for a pretty good court house. The house was erected fifteen or sixteen years ago, but has never been completed. It is a square brick building, three stories high, only partially plastered, and looks the very picture of neglect and decay; or as though the people of Benton county had no use for a court house.
The completed Benton County Courthouse
We overlooked to speak of the press of the city. There are two good newsy papers published there, the "Democrat" and "Journal". both democratic in politics. The former is published by Hurley & Stevens, two rising young men of that country. Mr. Hurley is a practical printer, and of course knows how to run a print shop to make it a success. The Democrat has a good office. and is making its owners good money. While in the city we were placed under obligations to C. C. Clarke and family, Capt. Gillmore, Geo. Hurley and Alex Black for many courtesies. And especially to Mr. Clarke and family and Alex Black in their efforts to make our stay pleasant and agreeable. Monday was a bright clear day, but the snow and cold interfered with sight seeing, or out-door pleasure. But this much we could see, Bentonville is located on a beautiful elevation for a city, is abundantly supplied with the best of water, and one of the most hospitable places for a stranger to visit in the whole county. In fact, it is a splendid resort for Kansans, after a season of rustle, bustle and business.