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Historic Bentonville Home To Be Moved Instead Of Demolished

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- A historic Bentonville home is going to be moved and preserved instead of demolished, according to the owners of the property.

The home at 703 W. Central Ave. was built in the 1880s and was one of the places where famous female aviator Louise Thaden grew up. Her parents continued living there after she moved out.

Thaden became famous in the 1930s when she raced planes with another famous female aviator, Amelia Earhart.

Thaden's daughter, Patricia Thaden Webb, told 5NEWS on Friday (May 20) that she would like to see the home moved to Bentonville Municipal Airport, which is named after her mother.

Property records show the home was purchased by Eric Scott and his wife and had previously been slated for demolition. Scott is the son of Lee Scott, former Walmart CEO.

In an email, Eric Scott writes that there has been a change of plan.

"For some time now we've been exploring the feasibility of preserving and relocating the house to a different location in the community," the email states.

Scott writes that he is not able to release specific details about where the home will be moved, but he will announce more about the plan in the coming weeks.

The Scott family also bought a property at 701 W. Central Ave., which has already been demolished. They also purchased two more properties on SW F Street, which is adjacent to W. Central Avenue.

Cherie Clark is one of the residents who started protesting the demolition on Mother's Day.

"My reaction was emotional, but on the record, I was very happy," Clark said about the announcement. "I think we all were."

Clark said the response from the Scott family was exactly what the protesters were hoping for.

"It accomplishes what we've said from the very beginning, which is preserving Bentonville history, preserving local history and putting importance on it that's very much needed," Clark said.

But, Randy McCrory, who started the first protest wasn't nearly as happy with the announcement.

"[I'm] very apprehensive," McCrory said. "There's a lot of things that have to happen, and they're not easy things."

McCrory said moving the house will be costly and take time. He said whoever moves it will have to avoid the power lines nearby and possibly remove the roof.

"We're not celebrating quite yet," McCrory said. "I think we'll celebrate when we actually see the house moved."

There have been numerous protests outside the Thaden home since local residents found out it was slated for demolition. Bentonville Alderman James Smith has also proposed finding a way to preserve other historic homes in the city in the future. He is holding a public meeting at the Bentonville Community Center at 7 p.m. Monday (May 23), and the group of protesters plan to present a petition to the city council to try to get a historical commission created in Bentonville.

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