In October of 1940 Congressman Clyde T. Ellis of Bentonville was promised by the WPA that work would begin on a new hospital in Bentonville. Approval of the Bentonville hospital project had been secured in Washington D.C. on August 25, 1939, by Ellis, and the project had awaited the "go" signal from the Arkansas WPA headquarters since that time.
The Works Progress Administration had allocated $21,203 toward the building of the proposed hospital, which was to be financed in part by funds provided for it in the will of the late A.J. Bates, who was a well known businessman in Bentonville. It was estimated that approximately $35,000 left in the Bates will would be applied toward the building of the planned hospital.
In late October of that year, the WPA began the task of tearing down the frame structure on the South Main Street property, formerly occupied by the late Goldsmith Davis, which would be the site for the new hospital.
Plans called for the 12 room hospital to be completed within six months. It was constructed of brick and concrete with an overall cost of around $21,000. The WPA allocation amounted to $10,000, and $11,000 was taken from the hospital fund left in the will of the late A. J. Bates. The property for the project was also included in the Bates will.
This is a postcard of how Bates Hospital looked when it was dedicated in 1942
The hospital was dedicated in early July of 1942. A special service was held at the front of the building on South Main, and D. W. Peel Jr., mayor, presided over the event. The dedication address was made by Dr. Harry McKeen. The dedication prayer was given by Rev. Lloyd Conyers; benediction was done by Rev. Charles W. Riggs.
The hospital was opened to visitors that day from 3 until 9 p.m. for the accomodation of those who wanted to see the building and equipment before it opened for patients the following day.
The hospital was under the supervision of the physicians of Bentonville, Drs. Atkinson, Chastian and Pickens. They had other doctors of the county associated with them as members of the medical staff. The hospital was open to all physicians and surgeons who were recognized by the American Medical Association.
Later the hospital expanded to 30 beds. The building was air conditioned and was fully accredited and self supporting.
This hospital operated until 1964 when a new Bates Hospital was opened along Highway 71 North. At this time the old hospital was made into a retirement home. In 2018 the old hospital building was razed to made room for a new multi-story high rise.
Images of the razing of the old Bates Hospital in March of 2018
Construction of a new multi-level high rise on the property which once was Bates Hospital