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Historic Massey Hotel

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1910, Albert O. Clarke; 1979 restored. 119 W. Central Ave.
  • (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, A Division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Revis Edmonds, photographer)

This substantial three-story brick and limestone building stands on Bentonville’s “hotel site,” so named because the Eagle Hotel stood here from 1840 until it was razed in 1908. Built for R. D. Massey, the hotel was the region’s finest hostelry, serving the city and county for many decades as the prime venue of social and commercial affairs. In addition, the hotel’s first story accommodated a railway ticket office, a barbershop, a real estate and insurance office, a radio broadcasting studio, and a bus station. The hotel is a dramatic example of architect Clarke’s penchant for red brick walls combined with white or gray limestone trim for window sills and heads, the capstone of roofline parapet walls, and the bold belt course separating the first and second floors. Brick kilns were thriving in towns of any size in the Ozark region, and limestone quarries were almost as common throughout the Ozark hills of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. The most dramatic limestone elements here are the squat, heavy columns with foliated capitals supporting the wide sheltering canopy over the Central Street entrance that continues around the corner along the windowed west facade. Seriously damaged by fire in 1975, the building was renovated, and in 1979 the ground floor accommodated the Bentonville Public Library, while the upper floors provided various office spaces. When a new and larger public library (2006, Amirmoez Foster Hailey Johnson, with Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle) opened at 405 S. Main Street, the library’s director ensured that the new building incorporated such tributes to the Massey as the red color of the exterior brick and a wraparound porch with white porch columns. The old Massey Hotel now houses various organizations, including Crystal Bridges.

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, "Historic Massey Hotel", [Bentonville, 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, 27-28.

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