Five things you’ll find only in Northwest Arkansas | McLarty Daniel CDJR of Bentonville
Northwest Arkansas is full of unique places and people, which is a big part of why we love it here in NWA. Any time we decide it’s time to dust off our Jeep and head out in search of adventure, we know there’s always something new and different to experience, from great food to great music to great times. That said, there are a number of things that you can only see or do here in Northwest Arkansas. Read on for five things you’ll only find in Northwest Arkansas!
1) The foundations of a medieval castle
The idea was so crazy it just HAD to work: create an accurate replica of a 13th-century French castle in the Ozark Mountains near Lead Hill in Boone County, using only period-correct techniques and tools. Inspired by France’s Guedelon Castle, the Ozark Medieval Castle project was the dream of Michel Guyot, a Frenchman who acquired the site and broke ground on the ambitious project in 2009. Projected completion date: around 2030, which is apparently how long it would actually take to build even a modest-sized castle in the bad ol’ days of the Middle Ages, barring barbarian invasion or plague. It wasn’t the Black Death that stopped the Ozark Medieval Castle project, however, but a lack of good ol’ American greenbacks. A flood of tourists willing to pay to see the ongoing construction never materialized, and financial difficulties associated with keeping up to thirty full-time artisans fed and paid as they went about building the castle took their toll. The project was indefinitely shuttered in January 2012. The foundations of the proposed castle still remain, however, with most walls on the site making it to a height of around ten feet or so before the project ran out of funds.
2) The most haunted hotel in America
If there is such a thing as a ghost, there’s a good shot that one — or several — would reside in Eureka Springs, the Victorian-era village full of beautiful homes, public buildings and commercial spaces clinging to the rocks of a steep, spring-fed valley in Carroll County. The grande damme of them all is the Crescent Hotel, which has staked a claim in recent years as America’s Most Haunted Hotel. Completed in 1888, the Crescent was once a playground of the Victorian-era elite until modern medicine killed off the antiquated idea of magic spring waters as a cure all. The early 20th century saw the hotel become home to a women’s conservatory, a junior college and, in the 1930s, a dubious hospital run by notorious quack medicine practitioner Norman G. Baker. Today, the hotel is reportedly home to several spooks, including “Michael,” purportedly the spirit of a young stonemason who died during the construction, and several patients whose demise was hastened by Baker’s phony “cures.” The TV show “Ghost Hunters” even paid the Crescent a visit in 2007! If you visit the lobby, be sure to check out the sculpture that is meant to depict Michael on display there.
3) Sam Walton’s truck
By the time he died in 1992, Walmart founder Sam Walton was a billionaire several times over who could have owned and driven any car on the planet. It speaks to Walton’s humble and practical ways, however, that instead of a Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini or Ferrari, Walton tooled around town in a slightly beat-up 1979 Ford F-150 purchased off the lot that later became McLarty Daniel Ford in Bentonville. Bought brand new by Walton, the red-and-white, long-wheelbase Ford collected some scrapes, scratches and dings in its life with Sam, but it was clearly a beloved member of his family, fitted with a white tool chest and a ventilated box in the rear for his hunting dogs. Today, the truck, which has been gently restored to preserve the character of the old Ford as it was in the days when Sam was behind the wheel, is on display at the Walmart Museum in downtown Bentonville, where visitors can study it up close and ponder the legacy of a visionary who went from having nothing to being one of the richest people in the world.
4) A house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
In the history of American architecture, few figures have loomed larger than the genius Frank Lloyd Wright, whose groundbreaking designs truly changed the way Americans looked at their houses, offices and public spaces. It was a shame, then, that Arkansas was once home to exactly zero examples of Wright’s work, even though Texas, Missouri and even Mississippi boast several. Thanks to the generosity of Walmart heiress Alice Walton, however, Northwest Arkansas is now home to the only example of Wright’s enduring genius in the state: the Bachman-Wilson House, a masterpiece which was disassembled, moved to the grounds of Bentonville’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and reconstructed in 2015. An example of Wright’s Usonian architecture, the house was originally built in 1956 on the banks of New Jersey’s Millstone River. Threatened with destruction from repeated floods, the house was eventually acquired by Walton in 2013 and later reconstructed at Crystal Bridges for all Arkansans to enjoy.
5) The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum:
While it’s kind of terrifying to imagine it now, there was a time when there were no hospitals and very few doctor’s offices in the wilds of Northwest Arkansas. In those days, the physician came to you, part of a centuries-long tradition of so-called Country Doctors, with circuit-riding docs who made house calls — a practice that continued well into the 20th Century in Arkansas. One of the only museums in the country to pay homage to the humble physicians who braved rain, snow and gloom of night to bring their patients the gift of health, the Arkansas Country Doctor Museum in the Washington County town of Lincoln is situated in an 11-room structure that was once home to a physician’s home, office and four-bed clinic until 1973. Utilized by four doctors over the years, the former clinic became home to the Arkansas Country Doctor Museum in 1994. Today, the museum features an array of exhibits on medical history in Northwest Arkansas, including vintage medical devices, a Ford Model T “Doctor’s Coupe,” an iron lung used to treat polio patients who had lost the ability to breathe without assistance, a period-correct delivery room from the 1920s, and an 1886 horse drawn buggy used to make house calls.
We’re truly blessed to live here in Northwest Arkansas, where there’s no no shortage of things to see and do. So get out there and check it out! And if you need a four-wheeled traveling partner to help you get out there and explore the history, heritage and natural grandeur of this place we all get to call home, come see us at McLarty Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Bentonville. With a huge selection of great new and used cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, we’re sure to have something that can fit your budget with plenty of money for travelling left over. Come see us today, or browse our big selection online right now.