Main Births etc
Bentonville, Arkansas
—  City  —
Clockwise, from top: Downtown Bentonville, Benton County Courthouse, Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime store, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Confederate Soldier Monument
Location in Benton County and the state of Arkansas
Coordinates: 36°22′0″N 94°12′48″W / 36.366667, -94.21333Coordinates: 36°22′0″N 94°12′48″W / 36.366667, -94.21333
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Benton
Incorporated April 3, 1873
Named for Originally Osage Indians
Thomas Hart Benton
 • Mayor Bob McCaslin[1]
 • Total 31.5 sq mi (81.6 km2)
 • Land 31.3 sq mi (81.0 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 1,296 ft (395 m)
Population (2013 census estimate)
 • Total 40,167
 • Density 1,224/sq mi (472.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 72712, 72716
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-05320
GNIS feature ID 0076305

Bentonville is the tenth-largest city in Arkansas and the county seat of Benton County.[2] The city is centrally located in the county with Rogers adjacent to the east. The city is the headquarters of Walmart, which is the world's largest retailer.[3] Originally named Osage after the Osage Indians who hunted in the area when white settlers first moved to the area in 1837,[4] the community was renamed to Bentonville in 1843 in honor of Missouri politician Thomas Hart Benton and was first incorporated on April 3, 1873.[4][5] It is one of the four main cities in the four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city itself had a population of 35,301 at the 2010 Census,[6] with an estimated population of 40,167 in 2013.[7]

Bentonville is the location of the Walmart Home Office, and the retailer is very visible within the city. The Walmart Visitor Center is located on the Bentonville town square in Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime.[8] The home office includes fifteen buildings along Walton Boulevard (US 71B) in the west part of the city. Just north of downtown Bentonville is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Founded by Alice Walton in 2011, this museum contains many masterpieces from all eras of American art, including many works from Walton's private collection.[9] Across the square from the Walmart Visitor Center is the Benton County Courthouse, the center of the county government. Bentonville High School is located just west of Interstate 49/US Route 71 in central Bentonville.

History[edit | edit source]

Early history[edit | edit source]

The area now known as Bentonville's first known use by humans was as hunting grounds by the Osage Nation who lived in Missouri. The Osage would leave their settlements to hunt in present-day Benton County for months at a time before returning to their families. White settlers first inhabited the area around 1837 and named their settlement "Osage". By this time, the Osage had ceased using the area for hunting, and the white settlers began to establish farms. Upon establishment of Benton County on September 30, 1836, Osage was deemed a suitable site for the county seat, and the town square was established as the home of county government the following year. Osage was renamed Bentonville in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri who strongly supported Arkansas statehood.[10] The Osage post office was established on December 31, 1836, and renamed Bentonville on January 3, 1843.[11]

Early statehood and Civil War[edit | edit source]

The Terry Block Building is the southwest corner of the Bentonville Town Square. Built in 1888, the building now houses the Walmart Visitor Center, adjacent to the original Walton's Five and Dime.

Two years after Arkansas received statehood in 1836, thousands of Cherokee people from Georgia passed through Benton County as part of the Trail of Tears route to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. Although no Civil War battles were fought inside Bentonville, the city was occupied by both armies and saw almost all of its buildings burned, either by opposing armies or guerrilla outlaws. Bentonville was a staging point for the Confederate army prior to the Battle of Pea Ridge, fought about 12 miles (19 km) northeast of town, and the town saw a brief skirmish just prior to the battle. The city began to rebuild about a decade after incorporation on April 3, 1873, with many of these Reconstruction Era buildings today serving as the oldest structures in Bentonville.

After the war, the area established a vibrant apple industry, with Benton County becoming the leading apple producing county in the nation in 1901. In the 1920s and 1930s the county developed a reputation as a leader in poultry production, which the area still maintains today.[12]

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.5 square miles (81.6 km2), of which 31.3 square miles (81.0 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.67%, is water.[6]

Metropolitan area[edit | edit source]

The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area consists of three Arkansas counties: Benton, Madison, and Washington, and McDonald County, Missouri. The area had a population of 347,045 at the 2000 census which had increased to 463,204 by the 2010 Census (an increase of 33.47 per cent). The Metropolitan Statistical Area does not consist of the usual principal-city-with-suburbs morphology; instead Bentonville is bordered to the east by Rogers, the north by Bella Vista, and the west by Centerton. The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport is located to the southwest of Bentonville and is used to connect all of the northwest Arkansas region to the rest of the nation. Over the past decade or more, Northwest Arkansas has been one of the fastest growing regions in the south.

Climate[edit | edit source]

Bentonville lies in the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa) with influence from the humid continental climate type. Bentonville experiences all four seasons and does receive cold air masses from the north, however some of the Arctic masses are blocked by the higher elevations of the Ozarks. July is the hottest month of the year, with an average high of 89 °F (32 °C) and an average low of 66 °F (19 °C). Temperatures above 100 °F (37.8 °C) are common, with recent temperatures during summer months staying above 100 degrees for several weeks at a time. January is the coldest month with an average high of 46 °F (8 °C) and an average low of 24 °F (−4 °C). The city's highest temperature was 114 °F (45.6 °C), recorded in 1954. The lowest temperature recorded was −16 °F (−26.7 °C), in 1996.

Climate data for Bentonville, Arkansas (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 76
Average high °F (°C) 46
Average low °F (°C) 24
Record low °F (°C) −15
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.61
Source: The Weather Channel[13]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 696
1890 1,677 140.9%
1900 1,843 9.9%
1910 1,956 6.1%
1920 2,313 18.3%
1930 2,203 −4.8%
1940 2,359 7.1%
1950 2,942 24.7%
1960 3,649 24.0%
1970 5,508 50.9%
1980 8,756 59.0%
1990 11,257 28.6%
2000 19,730 75.3%
2010 35,301 78.9%
Est. 2014 41,613 110.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
2014 Estimate[15]

As of 2010 Bentonville had a population of 35,301. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 77.0% non-Hispanic white, 2.4% non-Hispanic black, 1.2% Native American, 5.8% Asian Indian, 2.8% other Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from some other race and 2.5% from two or more races. 8.7% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.[16]

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 19,730 people, 7,458 households, and 5,265 families residing in the city. The city grew substantially in the 1990s; the 1990 population was 11,257 and the city is expected to reach 50,000 people by the year 2030. According to the US Census, Bentonville and surrounding communities in Benton County is second in growth for Arkansas and among the 100 fastest growing counties in the United States.[18]

The population density was 928.9 people per square mile (358.7/km²). There were 7,924 housing units at an average density of 373.1 per square mile (144.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.92% White, 0.88% Black or African American, 1.33% Native American, 2.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.68% from other races, and 1.76% from two or more races. 6.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The 2005 Special Census reported 24,837 Whites/non-Hispanic whites (86.8%), 2,428 Hispanics of any race (8.5%), 1,135 Asians (4.0%), and 510 Blacks/African Americans 1.8%. Bentonville is home to a significant large Hispanic immigrant community, consisting of Mexicans and nationalities from Central America such as El Salvador and Honduras, came to find blue-collar jobs in the area's booming economy during the 1990s and 2000s.

There were 7,458 households out of which 40.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% are classified as non-families by the United States Census Bureau. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.11.

Bentonville is a popular real estate destination for senior citizens and families with young children for quite some time, due to relative affordability, lower crime rates for a city its size and a social conservative culture known in Northwest Arkansas. Bentonville and Benton County is said to have the most registered Republican voters of the state.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,936, and the median income for a family was $46,558. Males had a median income of $31,816 versus $23,761 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,831. 10.3% of the population and 7.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 13.7% are under the age of 18 and 10.9% are 65 or older.

Economy[edit | edit source]

Bentonville's Top Employers Bentonville-Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce[19]
Rank Employer
1   Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
2   Northwest Health System
3   Mercy of Northwest Arkansas
4   Bentonville School District
5   Benton County, Arkansas
6   City of Bentonville
7   Northwest Arkansas Community College
8   Arvest Bank Group, Inc
9   Outdoor Cap Company
10   Community Publishers

Region[edit | edit source]

The Northwest Arkansas economy was historically based upon agriculture and poultry. In recent decades, NWA has seen rapid growth and diversification of its economy based upon the three Fortune 500 companies based there, Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt, while also seeing a growing University of Arkansas and cultural amenities sector. Although impacted by the Great Recession, NWA's economy fared better than most peer metropolitan areas, the state of Arkansas and the United States overall. Between 2007 and 2013, the region saw unemployment rates significantly below those of peer regions and the national average; while also seeing a 1% net growth of jobs. The NWA gross domestic product grew 7.0% over the aforementioned time period, and bankruptcies, building permits and per capita incomes are returning to pre-Recession rates.[20]

The professional, education and health care sectors of the Northwest Arkansas economy have been growing steadily since 2007. Between 2007 and 2013, the region has seen a growth of 8,300 jobs in the region, with 6,100 added in education and health professions and 4,300 jobs added in the leisure and hospitality jobs related to the region's cultural amenities.[20] The government and transportation sectors have remained relatively constant between 2007 and 2013, however the manufacturing sector has seen steady decline, mirroring national averages. The construction and real estate sectors saw large declines attributable to the poor housing market during the economic downturn.

City[edit | edit source]

Bentonville's city hall is located at 117 W. Central adjacent to the town square in Downtown Bentonville

Bentonville has been home to Walmart since Sam Walton purchased a store on the town square in 1950 and renamed it Walton's 5 & 10. The retailer continued a rapid growth, but Helen Walton wished to remain in Bentonville to raise the family, and thus by the time Walmart became the #1 Fortune 500 in 2002, it was still based in Bentonville. The impact from the Walmart Home Office is multiplied by the over 1100 prospective Walmart vendors who have established sales offices in the region.[21] The large number of satellite offices for companies of almost every industry means a large number of transplants from around the United States can be found in Bentonville.[22] This phenomena impacts the culture of Bentonville in addition to the city's economy.

Arts and culture[edit | edit source]

Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime, now the Walmart Visitor's Center on Bentonville town square

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a $450,000,000 museum of American Art designed by architect Moshe Safdie located within walking distance of downtown Bentonville.[23]

Other points of interest include:

In 2009, Bentonville ranked No. 13 on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns," a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. In determining his ranking, Greenberg cited the then-upcoming Crystal Bridges Museum, as well as sites such as Compton Gardens and the Civil War-era Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens.[24]

Parks and trail system[edit | edit source]

The Bentonville Parks and Recreation Department maintains eighteen parks and over 20 miles (32 km) of trails.

Crystal Bridges Trail crosses through Compton Gardens between downtown and the museum

Over 300 acres (120 ha) of city parks throughout the city offer educational, recreational and outdoors opportunities to park visitors. The largest park surrounds Lake Bella Vista and includes a popular perimeter fitness trail and disc golf course.[25] Memorial park features the Melvin Ford Aquatic Center as well as baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, skateboard, softball and soccer facilities.[26] The four baseball fields at Merchants Baseball Park have hosted the Bentonville Youth Baseball League since its inception in 1954.[27] Park Springs Park was created in the 1890s following the discovery of two springs with purported healing powers. The Burns Arboretum/Nature Trail was added in 1996 and includes an State Champion tree.[28]

Trails in Bentonville vary from small fitness trails to long mountain bike trails to the regional Razorback Greenway depending upon topography, intended use and city planning. The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile (58 km) primarily off-road mixed use trail connecting the Northwest Arkansas region, runs through Bentonville near Bentonville High School, the Walmart Home Office, and Crystal Bridges on its way to Lake Bella Vista to the north. The Crystal Bridges Trail is a 1 mile (1.6 km) trail between downtown Bentonville and the museum, built by the museum and donated to the city. Public art and sculptures line the trail, which passes through Compton Gardens on its way to the museum's southeast entrance. After passing by an overlook where trail users can view the museum from a bluff, the Crystal Bridges Trail connects to the museum's 3-mile (4.8 km) trail system.[29] The city also has several trails connecting main streets, parks and neighborhoods throughout the city.

Education[edit | edit source]

Public elementary and secondary education is provided by Bentonville Public Schools leading to graduation at Bentonville High School. Bentonville Adventist School, associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, provides education services for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Bentonville is home to the Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), a public two-year college that provides students undergraduate, vocational, career and technical education courses.

The Bentonville Public Library System consists of one central library, located at 405 S. Main Street, which provides residents with access to print books, publications and multimedia content.

Notable people[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Mayor's Office website
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Schaefer, Steve (May 22, 2012). "With Wal-Mart At 10-Year Highs, Some Shareholders Want Directors Shown The Door". Forbes. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Fenno, Cheryl Barnwell (1978). The place names of Benton County, Arkansas (Dissertation). Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas. p. 56. 
  5. ^ "Bentonville, Arkansas". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. May 31, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Bentonville city, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012 (PEPANNRES): Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Renovated Walmart Visitor Center to Re-Open May 21". Bentonville, Arkansas: Digital Journal. April 29, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  9. ^ Vogel, Carol (June 16, 2011). "A Billionaire's Eye for Art Shapes Her Singular Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Benton County Fun Facts". Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ Fenno, Cheryl Barnwell (1978). The place names of Benton County, Arkansas (Dissertation). Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas. p. 244. 
  12. ^ "Community history from Bentonville-Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce". Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Monthly Averages for Bentonville, AR" (Table). The Weather Channel. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ 2010 general profile of population or housing characteristics of Bentonville from the US census
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Bentonville's Largest Employers". Bentonville-Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce. 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "2013 State of the Northwest Arkansas Region Report". University of Arkansas Sam Walton College of Business and the Northwest Arkansas Council. 2013. p. 9. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ Hopper, Laura J. (October 2004). "Bentonville, Ark., Is Sam's Town". The Regional Economist. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  22. ^ Disbrowe, Paula (October 6, 2012). "Is Bentonville The South’s Next Cultural Mecca?". Southern Living. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ [1] The official homepage of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  24. ^ Greenberg, Peter. "Newsmax Magazine Rates the Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities And Towns".,-Ark-/14. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Bella Vista Lake". City of Bentonville. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Memorial Park". City of Bentonville. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Merchants Baseball Park". City of Bentonville. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Park Springs Park". City of Bentonville. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Trails". Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  30. ^ "About Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon". CNBC. Associated Press. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  31. ^ "Dwight Crandall Tosh". Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  32. ^ "#20 Jim Walton". Forbes. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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