Bentonville Community

Benton County is a growing metropolitan area and home to many major companies including Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., J.B. Hunt and Tyson Foods. The area’s rich heritage has contributed to making Bentonville and Bella Vista thriving communities today.

Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase obtained from France in 1802. Arkansas was called Missouri Territory until 1819 when it became Arkansas Territory.

Bentonville was founded in 1836 and named in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, a U.S. senator from Missouri. Benton was responsible for helping Arkansas attain statehood in 1836. Bentonville was the first town established in Benton County and the downtown Square became the place for commerce and entertainment.

In 1838, shortly after Benton County was established, Cherokee Indians from Georgia were forced to walk what has become known as “The Trail of Tears” through Benton County enroute to Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma

In 1858, the Butterfield Stagecoach Line, encompassing 2,812 miles and running from St. Louis to San Francisco, established stops at the Elkhorn Tavern near Pea Ridge and Callahan Springs.

In March 1862, the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi was fought about 15 miles northeast of Bentonville. During the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), the Union Army was able to force the Confederates back, allowing them control of Missouri for the next two years. During the Civil War many of the buildings in Bentonville were burned. Business buildings around the Square were built after this and many still remain today.

By the end of the Civil War, apples put Benton County on the map. In 1901, Benton County was the largest apple-producing county in the nation with more than 300 varieties coming just from Bentonville alone.

In 1921 large-scale broiler chicken production began in Benton County where the county was ranked as the largest egg producing county in Arkansas. The 1930s brought continued grow for the poultry and dairy industry. In 1950 Sam Walton opened Walton’s 5 & 10 on the Bentonville Square. Bentonville has continued to grow into a thriving business and manufacturing community with a population of approximately 30,000.

Today, Bentonville has a population of more than 35,000. Located in scenic Northwest Arkansas, our city has become a prime destination for the entire business world. We are proud of the fact that we are home to the world’s largest retailer – Walmart! Now, more than 1,200 Walmart suppliers call Northwest Arkansas home.

Recently, Arkansas Business referred to the City of Bentonville as the “most prominent small city in the world.” Such a statement is supported by several awards received in the last two years. In 2011, the City was named by Arkansas Business as a 2011 City of Distinction in two categories: Main Street Preservation and Quality of Life. These honors acknowledge Bentonville for the vibrancy of its downtown and expansive recreational and wellness programs. The City also received the coveted State of Arkansas 2011 SHINE Award, recognizing the city’s programs and policies that improve its beauty, environment and quality of life.

The City boasts a park system consisting of more than 430 acres of park land. Since 2007, the City has built seven new parks. A newly completed 2.5 mile shared-use trail now connects recreational enthusiasts to the 36 mile Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway, which links residents to many popular destinations in five major cities. In 2013, the City anticipates opening the doors to a 75,000 square foot Community Recreation Center.

Bentonville’s school system has been widely recognized for excellence and has established itself as a leader within the State of Arkansas. Recently, Bentonville High School was named by the Department of Education as a “No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School. This is one of the most coveted education awards in the country.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened on November 11, 2011. World renowned architect, Moshe Safdie, designed this spectacularly modern museum. His creation uniquely integrates nature and art with sublime architecture and conservation of the natural environment. Crystal Bridges with its 217,000 square feet of galleries, meeting and classroom space, library, sculpture garden and gathering place for up to 300 people, will be an esteemed landmark for decades to come.  

We are especially fond of our Downtown Square, which is surrounded by locally-owned small businesses and the newly restored Walmart Visitor Center. The Downtown Square plays host to the Bentonville Farmer’s Market, First Fridays, Art Walk and other events held throughout the year; making it the place for families, friends and visitors to gather. Adding to the liveliness of the downtown area are several new outdoor food venues, Friday night flicks and ice-skating at Lawrence Plaza, and the summer concert series at Orchards Park. Best of all, you can walk or ride your bike the short distance from the Square to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The city’s new Downtown Activity Center offers bicycle rentals to all who would like to experience riding along our trails and downtown area.

We are a town that not only welcomes you, but we invite you and your family to join us in building Bentonville.

For more information visit:
City of Bentonville
Downtown Bentonville, Inc.
Bentonville Convention & Visitor's Bureau

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