The Bentonville Public Library is housed in the Massey Hotel Building which was approved for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places on January 3, 1979.

To view historical pictures of the Massey hotel, click here.

 

 

 

 

~ A Brief History of the Massey building ~

Since around 1840, the lot on which the Massey Hotel is located has been continuously occupied by a hotel. The Eagle Hotel, a two story frame structure with a two story veranda across it façade, originally occupied the site. It is historically documented that during the Civil War, several Union officers were guests at the Eagle Hotel just prior to the Battle of Pea Ridge in 1862. In 1908, the Eagle Hotel was destroyed to make room for a larger, more modern hotel built by R. D. Massey.

The original construction of the Massey Hotel commenced in February of 1909. The formal opening was held June 28, 1910. The structure contains 25,500 square feet.

In the original Hotel, the street level floor housed the entrance, registration lobby, guest shop area, restaurant and ballroom. The upper two floors were occupied by individual rooms and suites.

The design of the hotel was influenced by the Second Renaissance Revival, an architectural movement which started in the mid 1880's and continued until the early 1930's.

Application proceedings for the National Register began in 1977, two years after the roof of the hotel had burned, leaving the interior uncovered and exposed to the elements. In October of 1977, Jim Walton and his parents, Mr. And Mrs. Sam Walton, purchased the hotel building with the idea of moving the Bentonville Public Library to the street floor level and offering office space on the other floors.

Construction on the building began in January, 1978, under the supervision of Bentonville contractor, Bill Elzey. The historian and architect of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program served as consultants in the preservation of the hotel. The exterior of the hotel was rebuilt as nearly identical as possible to its original design.

On Sunday, November 11, 1979, the Bentonville Public Library opened its doors to the public with a well-attended Open House sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

As of March, 1982, the Bentonville Public Library contained 17,890 adult books and 4,626 juvenile books in its collection and subscribed to 85 periodicals.  The library houses a genealogy collection, 2 microfilm readers, a copy machine, and 8 public access computers.

 


 

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