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Bella Vista Country Club

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1966–1968, E. Fay Jones; 1972 additions. 100 Country Club Dr.
  • (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, A Division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mason Toms, photographer)

This large rectangular building is set into a slope overlooking the club’s golf course. The front is approached from the lower-level parking lot on the downside of the slope, but it is the rear facing the course that best shows Jones’s integration of building with site and his sophisticated combination of materials. Here the building is composed of a series of linked gabled pavilions in a staggered arrangement that gives rhythm to the facade, an effect that is heightened by the stone piers alternating with floor-to-ceiling glass windows shaded by the deep eaves of the gabled roofs. The building in its horizontality and use of natural materials appears to grow out of its site. Inside, a grand staircase encircles a massive fireplace and stone piers support the ceilings of the large dining and event spaces. The building was renovated in 2006.

The club was part of a 1960s development of an earlier resort. In 1917, Clarence A. Linebarger and his two brothers had purchased an unsuccessful development in the vicinity, and in 1918 they began developing the area as a resort, named Bella Vista. More than five hundred rustic wooden summer cabins and cottages were built on the wooded hillsides of Sugar Creek valley. Some cottages were privately owned, and others were seasonal rentals. The season usually ended on Labor Day, but increasingly summer visitors became permanent residents, creating more substantial houses. The resort floundered during the Great Depression and World War II, and the Linebargers sold the resort to a developer, whose planned expansion was unsuccessful; consequently, the resort slowly deteriorated. In 1965, Cooper Communities purchased Bella Vista, added several hundred acres, and developed it with designs more contemporary than rustic, including the club and the golf course. The development was advertised nationally, emphasizing its ideal retirement features. In November 2006, Bella Vista became an incorporated town.

Writing Credits

Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors


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Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors, "Bella Vista Country Club", [Bella Vista, Arkansas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Arkansas

Buildings of Arkansas, Cyrus A. Sutherland and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 32-32.

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