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Inside and Out Bentonville to Fayetteville

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Arkansas-Missouri Railroad
Arkansas-Missouri Railroad
    Arkansas Air Museum located in Fayetteville
Arkansas Air Museum located in Fayetteville
Fayetteville National Cemetery
Fayetteville National Cemetery
    The Fayetteville Square
The Fayetteville Square
Peel House Museum and Historic Gardens, Bentonville
Peel House Museum and Historic Gardens, Bentonville
April 16, 2002

Inside and Out Bentonville to Fayetteville
By Jill M. Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Just as preservation of historic downtown areas is a common theme among the cities that make up the metropolitan area of northwest Arkansas, so is the current trend in major growth of the business and housing sectors.

Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville rank as the sixth-fastest growing metropolitan statistical area in the nation. The statistical area consists of Benton (Bentonville and Rogers) and Washington (Springdale and Fayetteville) counties. The two counties also make up the second-fastest growing job market in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Growth of this nature and magnitude makes this area of Arkansas an exciting place for business and pleasure. Yet, in the midst of the surge, each city seems to have maintained its heritage and sense of community.


There is no doubt history is preserved in Bentonville, as it has more than 60 historical buildings and homes within its city limits, many of which are on the National Register of Historical Places. A city brochure describes a self-guided walking tour of some residential districts. The buildings' architectural details speak to certain styles in history, such as Greek revival, Craftsmen, Bungalow and Victorian.

Bentonville's best-known home is the Peel House Museum and Historic Gardens. Colonel Samuel West Peel built the marvelous villa tower Italianate mansion and reared nine children there with his wife Mary Emaline Berry Peel . Originally a working farmstead surrounded by 180 acres of apple trees on the outskirts of Bentonville, the 1875 Peel Mansion and Historic Gardens are now embraced by the town. Fine antiques and artifacts furnish the Victorian interior of the Peel Mansion Museum. Serving as a gatehouse and gift shop at the entrance to the grounds is the pre-Civil War Andy Lynch log cabin, which was removed from Brightwater, Ark., east of Rogers to the Peel site.

Bentonville history extends further than buildings. The origin and growth of the nation's largest corporation is encapsulated at the Wal-Mart Visitor's Center, a museum housed in Sam Walton's original "5 & 10," which gave birth to the retail giant.


Wal-Mart history also stretches into Rogers, just south of Bentonville. The first Wal-Mart store opened here in 1962. The building is now named Shelby Lane Mall and is filled with more than 250 booths of collectibles, antiques and fine arts. The mall is also the home of the only Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery in Arkansas.

Rogers has a variety of retail stores in its historic downtown district, which encompasses about eight square blocks. Brick-paved streets are home to cafes and business offices and lead to old-fashioned storefronts filled with unique furniture, antiques and gifts and jewelry. The Daisy International Air Museum, home to the world's largest collection of antique airguns, and the Rogers Historical Museum are also located downtown.

More shopping abounds near Interstate 540 at Scottsdale Center with The Gap, Old Navy, Belks, Pier 1 Imports and Kohl's Department store.

Just minutes from downtown Rogers, Beaver Lake is a 30,000-acre reservoir offering world-renowned fishing, particularly striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, bream and catfish. Popular water sports include boating, water skiing, scuba diving and swimming.


Springdale, too, lays claim to the treasure of Beaver Lake. And, like the other cities of this metropolitan region, Springdale's downtown preserves the shops of local merchants and restaurants. It's also a great place to comb antique stores or catch a ride on the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad in a beautifully restored turn-of-the-century passenger car. Another downtown gem in Springdale is the Shiloh Museum, which offers Ozark history and buildings dating back to the 1850s.

Two other elements identify the essence of Springdale -- the annual Rodeo of the Ozarks, held July 1- 4, and the award-winning, nationally renowned AQ Chicken House restaurant. It first opened in Springdale on July 20, 1947, selling half a chicken for 65 cents and a cup of coffee for 5 cents.

Signaling the growth of the city is Ozark Center Point Place near I-540. This 269,500 square-foot outlet mall contains more than 30 specialty and discount stores of popular name-brand goods.


Fayetteville offers contemporary shopping and plenty of nightlife. Home to the University of Arkansas, the state's major research and flagship education institution, Fayetteville's atmosphere is friendly and diverse. It parallels the cultural diversity found on the UA campus. The city also has an artistic and wild side to its roots in education.

Fayetteville and the entire state of Arkansas is "Hog Wild" over its Razorback sports teams. The campus contains the Tommy Boyer Hall of Champions and the Jerry Jones-Jim Lindsey Hall of Champions, which tell the illustrious history of Razorback sports.

The Fayetteville square is known for its beautiful gardens and Farmer's Market open three days a week beginning in spring and ending in early autumn. Just blocks away, Dickson Street is the hip place for unique shops, dining locales, and tons of live music venues. Fayetteville's music scene is mottled with everything from alternative music and new country played in basement bars and large warehouse stages to folk music picked in the living room of an old house with a new function. Completing the scene are the symphony concerts at parks and the Walton Arts Center, which also brings Broadway shows, drama and dance to the city's entertainment district.

While Fayetteville is known as the arts and entertainment center of northwest Arkansas, it is also rich in Civil War history. The city is home to the National and Confederate cemeteries and Headquarters House.

List of Attractions:

* Bentonville Historical Society, located inside the Peel Mansion. (479) 273-9664.
* Peel House Museum and Gardens, 400 S. Walton Blvd., Bentonville. Open Tues. through Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., March-Nov. (479) 273-9664.
* Wal-Mart Visitors Center, 105 N. Main St., Bentonville square. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tues. through Sat. Free admission. (479) 273-1329.
* Shelby Lane Mall, 719 W. Walnut, Rogers. (479) 621-0111.
* Daisy International Air Gun Museum, 114 S. First St., Rogers. (479) 986-6873.
* Rogers Historical Museum, 322 S. Second, Rogers. (479) 621-1154.
* Arkansas and Missouri Railroad departs from Springdale and Van Buren. 306 E. Emma St., Springdale. 1-800-687-8600.
* Shiloh Museum, 118 W. Johnson Ave., Springdale. (479) 750-8165.
* Rodeo of the Ozarks, Springdale. 1-877-92RODEO.
* AQ Chicken House, U.S. 71B, (479) 751-4633.
* Ozark Center Point Place, intersection of U.S. 71 and U.S. 412, Springdale. (479) 927-1000.
* University of Arkansas Sports Museums, UA campus, Fayetteville. Open Mon. through Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., year-round.
* Downtown/Dickson Area, Fayetteville.
* Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. (479) 443-9216 or (479) 443-560.
* National Cemetery, 700 Government Ave., Fayetteville.
* Confederate Cemetery, intersection of Rock Street and Willow Street, Fayetteville.
* Headquarters House Museum and Garden, 118 E. Dickson St., Fayetteville. (479) 521-2970.


Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"

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