One of the understandings the student of American culture comes to grip with when traveling in the USA is our sense individualism - it is really at the roots of the American sense of self.
Unlike my wife experience growing up in Asia kids in the USA sleep alone at a very early age often time from birth so grow up almost devoted to individualism.
I think this in some part America’s connection to religion in their place of worship the American is part of a group that has a common group sense of self. But the funny thing about Americans places of worship they as a general rule filled with a same folks. We work together but worship apart in the most part so there are churches that are mostly African American or White or Hispanic.
For someone from outside the USA the most interesting (in my opinion)is an African American Church. But, if I had more time I would check out the Hindu Association of North West Arkansas new hindu temple at 12778 E Gaiche in nearby Gentry or the Jewish congergation Etz Chaim (tree of life).
Sam Walton started his entrepreneurial spirit in downtown Bentonville many years ago, however his spirit of frugal living still lives on today!
In 1962, Sam Walton started his store in Bentonville... and then in 1979 he was united with his famed pickup truck.
3000 stores later, and now Sam is collecting those pennies in heaven.
The original wal-mart was transferred to a museum in 1990.
Worth the visit!
The photo below is of the Sam Walton’s 5 and dime variety store of the 1950s would be call a dollar store today. Then variety store owner Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart discount store in Rogers, Ark., in 1962. By 1967 just five years latter Sam had five stores and Wal-Mart's stores made $13 million. This old Walton 5 & 10 Store is now a Wal-Mart museum with about 100,000 visitors a year going through it. Now that is marketing I am sure even Sam would be proud of. the Wal-Mart Visitors Center highlights the begining and growth of Wal-Mart.
For history buffs on of the very best preserved battle fields of the civil war is a National Park service site a short distance out of Bentonville. In this 1862 major battle, Pea Ridge or Elkhorn Tavern the Northern side in the war, the Union forces halted the Rebel attack of the South leaving the Union in control of Missouri a slave state.
The VTer can see the famous place you read about in history like Elkhorn Tavern and Telegraph Road.
Rogers is the town next door to wal*mart but don’t tell that to a rogerite you see the first true wal*mart store was built here in Rogers. The whole concept built in Sam’s mind that has been roller out around the world was rolled out for the first time in Rogers Arkansas.
Many of my Singaporean friends ask what is America is really like. Well this next tip is a most American thing to do "cruise the strip malls"and shop until you drop". This is a view of the Bentonville area that you the VTer would see when taking any exit off the Interstate highway that is running through it.
Located right in the middle of the town of Bentonville, it was a 5 and 10 (dime) store of 4,000 Square feet. Now it is the center showing how the Walton's, yes besides Sam there was James as brother that promulgated the stores to such magnitude it is beyond belief. This is now the US heritage to our society-buying and on the cheap. The museum started in 1977, but got a kick start of growth in 1984. There is a lot of memorabilia of the Walton's and the employees and the growth that can take a couple of hours to view. Sam died in 1992 and brother James in 1994. The family was rooted in this town, so that is why it started here. Now sales are $350 billion + and they have 1.2 million employees worldwide, and account for 15% of US retail sales. Some stats-huh? It is big
This was the home of Neil Compton, a physician as a career. He also was an avid crusader to preserve nature. His big project was to get people interested in preserving the Buffalo River, and today it stands as a show piece of what preserved nature can be like. The home and 6.5 acres was donated by Compton estate in 2002, after he died in 1990's. It is a mostly wooded area, that has some trails going about 1/2 mile, or so. It is okay to view, but somewhat small and not colorful. It is the woods in the center of town is the purpose.
The town has a fair number of old buildings, mostly in the town square. It also has a lot of red limestone homes that were built with flat thin stones. They are of an era in 1940-60's. The square was relocated to here in early 1900's so it could hold more events. Besides Walton Visitor Center as an anchor of the square, there is also the Courthouse. It was designed by A.O. Clark, a reknowned local architect who did a lot of work also in Fayetteville. Cost to build was $200,000 in and was constructed in 1928. There is also a couple of restaurants and some shops to buy things.
This town merges with Bentonville and they both are literally on top of each other. Rogers originally had more territory, but Bentonville ended up with the old square and west area. With the surge of Walmart and its headquarters, Bentonville became bigger than Rogers, but they both have many fast food places and retail strips and traffic. The old town started in 1888, but most is gone now. What is now old is from the 1920-50's in the old town square. It still is nice to view the old time architecture. The fame was from the Frisco railroad coming through the town with track in 1881. They still have Frisco Park and the pavilion is a hang out for activity and young crowd to get to know each other
It is crowded and right in the middle of a busy area, and next to -guess what - a Walmart store and across the street form the headquarters. It was preserved due to locals putting up $1 million in order for Sam Walton not to tear it down. He relented and built a store in the rear area.
Colonel Peel came here in 1875 after the South lost the war. He raised 9 children and the farm of 180 acres was growing apples. Peel became a Congressman and was always proud to entertain people in his mansion. It was splendor in its day, and none matched the Italianate detail. Furnishings were donated for the period era mostly by family members. In renovation in 1994, they had to stucco over the old brick because it was eroding. The adjacent cabin of Andy Lynch is from 1861, and it a very pristine condition, like 100+ years had not effected the structure. It is the gift shop now and office to get a ticket. The gardens is a replica of what it did look like in the old days, and very colorful.
Cost is $3, and they are open 10-4 on Tues-Sat. Well worth a visit
The bridge over the War Eagle River is now 100 years old in 2008. The mill is a celebrated building of its own. They have had activity here since 1832, when Sylvanus Blackburn built the mill on site and brought his family and six kids from Kentucky. It burned down in 1838; got rebuilt again immediately and then burned again in 1848. BAd luck would have it, the mill was burned down during the Civil War to keep its use from the Union troops coming here. It got rebuilt again in 1873. The Blackburns had ownership for 80 years. It was bought out in 1920 to be a hotel, but closed in 1924 for money problems. Lastly it was a totally rebuilt building again in 1973 by the Caywell family who ran the operation for 30 years and sold out in 2004. The Roenigcks of Eureka Springs bought it to add to their ownership of Cresent Hotel and Basin Park Hotel there. They promote the mill flour and products in the hotels. A bad flood in March 2008 had water rising 4 feet and covered the first floor. The second and third were okay, but they had to redo again. The mill wheel is 18 feet and they mill 200,000 pounds of flour a year here on the old machinery. Open seven days March-January each year, and is free so you can buy gifts. The Bean Palace Restaurant is on 3rd floor and country food.
The cave was closed on our Sunday trip for some unknown reason, and really did not want to go through it anyway. The promo is to take a maze in the woods trek, or pan for gems, or follow the guide, of buy smokes and gifts. It sounds tacky and trys to cover it all for a buck. The tour is one hour total with 1/2 mile there and back. Price is $11.50 adults, and open 10-5 Mon-Sat and 1-5 Sundays. I would call ahead in off season because I suspect it may not be open
This 4,300 acre site commemorates a battle lasting March 7 & 8, 1862. Confederates had the edge and the purpose was to have Missouri be a South state. Gen VAn Dorn left the backup ammo too far away for a pitched battle to repel a Northern rout around the back side of the lines. That forced the South to retreat from the field. The park is open daily 8-5 except holidays. Cost is $4 and the drive of about 2 miles takes you to 10 points of battle confrontations on the ground. The visitor center has a 15 minute movie of the events.
This area in the far NW corner of Arkansas, and close to Missouri border has been a mecca for retired people for over 40 years. It has continued to grow and is huge in size. There is a total of 16,000 acres, much of which is still timber land. The Linebarger brothers started Bella Vista Resort in 1930's. In 1963, Cooper Communities, a large developer became promoting the area to retire and they still own much of the property. There are 8 lakes, 7 golf courses, 14 tennis courts, and many trails. Lot sales have been going on since 1930's when 700 were sold. Today there are nearly 20,000 people living in the community, even though that may decline with aged.
We did not stop for a visit, but Micky-companion-and I have been here before, and relatives even owned some lots in the past, now sold with little profit. It has been going since early 1960's, and a lot of people bought lots to speculate back then. Now they are being developed with homes.