At Least One Bentonville Home On National Historic Register Set For Demolition

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- At least one Bentonville home listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Bentonville West Central Avenue Historic District is scheduled for demolition as early as next week, according to protesters who are against leveling the property and Habitat for Humanity, which was salvaging pieces of the home Tuesday (May 10) to sell at their resale shop.

Property records tie the property to former Walmart CEO Lee Scott's family.

Documents show the area between Southwest A Street and Southwest G Street, which makes up the Bentonville West Central Avenue Historic District, was put on the national register in 1992. The historic district is made up of 22 so-called "contributing" structures, which contribute to the historic designation, and 18 "non-contributing" structures, which do not.

The home at 703 W. Central Ave. is one of the structures listed as contributing. It is also set to be demolished by the property owner, according to protesters.

The National Register of Historic Places registration form, which got the neighborhood on the register, states "the Bentonville West Central Avenue Historic District is the oldest intact ensemble of historic residential structures within the city limits of Bentonville." According to the document, all the homes were built between 1885 and 1935.

The home at 703 W. Central Ave. is called the Begg House and was built in the plain traditional style, according to the registration form. The document describes it as "a two-story, wood frame building with an intersecting, gable roof plan. It is simply ornamented, as its single-story, wrap-around porch is the only detail of note."

To view the entire registration form, click here.

According to Benton County property records, the property at 703 W. Central Ave. is listed as belonging to Cottage Home XNA LLC with a listed address on Oxford Drive in Rogers. That property in Rogers is listed as belonging to Eric and Elda Scott.

In an article from 2007, the Wall Street Journal mentions Eric Scott as Lee Scott's son and in a press release from the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville, which is named after the Scott family for their financial support of the project, Elda Scott is mentioned as Lee Scott's daughter-in-law.

Multiple sources have also confirmed to 5NEWS that the historic property belongs to the Scott family.

Lee Scott was Walmart's CEO from 2000 to 2009.

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Debby Wieneke said the organization got permission from the property owner to salvage what they could from the home at 703 W. Central Ave., including the doors and windows, to sell at their resale shop.

"It had history and nobody is arguing that," she said. "The thing right now is that the home is so far gone in the ruins that it's not liveable. The foundation is not good, the walls are not good. And so that's why it's better to take it down, because it could be a liability."

Wieneke said the organization also got permission from the property owner to go into the other homes owned by Cottage Home XNA LLC to start salvaging what they could from those properties.

Property records show the home at 701 W. Central Ave. is also listed as belonging to Cottage Home XNA LLC and is also included as a contributing structure in the historic district.

According to Randy McCrory, who is a Benton County historian and organizer of the protest against the demolition, the home at 703 W. Central Ave. once belong to the parents of famous female aviator Louise Thaden. However, that has not yet been independently verified by 5NEWS.

Thaden was born in Bentonville in 1905 and held several speed and endurance records in the early years of competitive flying. According to McCrory, she was the best-known female pilot of the 1930s after Amelia Earhart and the Bentonville Municipal Airport is named in her honor.

"It would be a major loss to the city of Bentonville to see [the home] gone," he said. "We're losing the historical charm of Bentonville day by day. You need to look and see what's happening to your community and you need to stand up and take a stand."

According to McCrory, the home at 701 W. Central Ave. had been a parsonage to a local church and he believes both homes were built in the 1880s.

According to the city of Bentonville, they issued a permit for demolition of the 703 W. Central Ave. property on April 25 and the permit is good for six months. The city does not oversee a demolition on private property.

Property records show Cottage Home XNA LLC bought the property at 703 W. Central Ave. for $635,000 on April 15, 2016. The property at 701 W. Central Ave. was purchased by the company for $678,000 on November 10, 2015.

Cottage Home XNA LLC also owns the properties at 106 SW F St. and 108 SW F St, according to property records. The company bought the home at 106 SW F St. for $233,000 on October 29, 2015 and the home at 108 SW F St. for $245,000 on November 10, 2015.

SW F Street is adjacent to Central Avenue.

The two homes on SW F Street are not included in the Bentonville West Central Avenue Historic District.

Properties marked in red belong to Cottage Home XNA LLC. (Courtesy: Google Maps)

According to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a National Register listing alone cannot prevent the owner of a property to tear down a structure.

The registered agent on Cottage Home XNA LLC is listed as Randall Wakefield of Wilkinson Law Firm in Bentonville. The law firm said Tuesday, they could not comment on what would be built on the demolished property.

2 comments

  • David Cracraft

    “The thing right now is that the home is so far gone in the ruins that it’s not liveable. <—- I find this statement laughable because before April 25th there were people living there. The house was very "liveable".

  • truthreporter4u

    “We’re losing the historical charm of Bentonville day by day.” Brother, we’re losing our country too. “Progress”

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