Monte Ne Townsite - 1910
I've marked this old postcard image to show some of the structures I think I can identify. The front of Oklahoma Row faces this way. Other old postcards show a very large open area in front of the hotel. News reports of that time say that Oklahoma Row and Missouri Row were on opposite sides of the large landscaped lawn. Perhaps Missouri Row is somewhere between the bank block and Oklahoma Row; perhaps a little to the left in the trees. The town was in the valley east of the lodges. The area of the town seems to be at least twenty feet lower than the foundation of Oklahoma Row.
|Map of Monte Ne Area|
as it may have looked over the years.
Monte Ne is in the Silver Springs Township of Benton County in Arkansas. The were several springs in this valley and the biggest was called Big Spring and it was the site of the amphitheater. This map is based on my memory and my best guess of how the old maps and photographs fit together to show Monte Ne over the years. The blue area indicates the area now covered by the waters of Beaver Lake The road coming in from top center is old S.H. 94 (now Spur 94 which ends at the lake). The old road went on through Monte Ne, swung more to the northeast, and then went around the big hairpin turn where the White River turns back south for a ways. The area was all grown up in trees and bushes by 1961. I remember that in 1961 there was a narrow gravel road running down the steep hill from Oklahoma Row and then across the flat area beside the lagoon to the amphitheater. A steep paved driveway went up hill between the amphitheater and the high wall behind it. I don't remember whether I ever tried to drive up that steep road though. It may have originally been part of the road from Lowell. Somewhere along the road from the lodge to the amphitheater another narrow road led east and that's where I found the old Bank Block. I don't show that road on the map, because I may have it confused with 94.
You can see from the old postcard at the top of the page that the Bank Block was down in that low area east of Oklahoma Row. The old Monte Ne townsite was east of Oklahoma Row and about 20 feet lower. I've indicated the location of Missouri Row where the two story chimney is located east of and a little down the slope from Oklahoma Row. There are other foundation stones and evidence of former structures lower and further east which may be part of the Hotel Monte Ne, but most of the old town site is still under water when the lake is at 1106 feet. Some of the resort recreation area must have been located south and east of the lagoons. The was still a picnic area east of the amphitheater in 1961, but the railroad and depot had been removed long before that. Missouri Row burned sometime in the 1950s. The concrete shell of the Bank Block was still standing in 1961 and the store across the street and a little southeast of the bank block was operating until the area was cleared for the lake around 1965.
I talked to Clifton Hull today (January 17, 2006). He was with the Corps of Engineers in 1961 and went to Monte Ne to inspect the lake site to see what would be flooded. He found that all the remaining old building except Oklahoma Row would be under water. The buildings were demolished rather than leave them just below the surface as hazards to boating. He wrote a nice article with photos in the July 2005 issue of Arkansas RailroadingVol.36, No.7. The following is an excerpt from the article:
"... To serve travelers nationwide, the rails joined those of the Frisco at Lowell, five miles west of Monte Ne and the same distance south of Rogers. The track was 4' 8 ½” gauge with steel rail of 56 pounds per yard. The track followed the undulating terrain through Cross Hollows (two distinct ravines crossed) and Limedale, terminating at an impressive log depot above the big spring at Monte Ne. Service was provided by one locomotive and one passenger car leased from the Frisco.
The first train ran 19 June 1902. The ceremony featured William Jennings Bryan [the presidential canididate Harvey supported in 1896]. Passengers were met by gondoliers dressed in colorful costumes, ushered aboard a long gondola, and leisurely taken to the dwelling of their choice.
In 1904, the Monte Ne Club House, Hotel, and Cottage Company was formed to build a stone hotel and four log cottages (called rows) to be named Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri Rows. They were to be from 300-350 feet long. The first large foundation was under way when trouble developed between Harvey and labor organizations. All work ceased. One huge cottage finally was completed and named Oklahoma Row in honor of the booming oil fields. A similar Missouri Row was built later. ..."
This view to the west-southwest from a point about half-way to the boat ramp shows the area from Oklahomo Row over to the amphitheater. The blocks in the foregroud are the circle foundation and other features shown in photos on some of the other pages. I think I can see the tower through the highest trees just up from the bank. The two-story fireplace chimney is also visible in the distance. This is just speculation but Missouri Row, the indoor plunge bath or swimming pool and other resort features may have been in this area above the actual town site. The actual town site was probably in the area where the boat ramp goes into the lake. The Bank Block was at least ten feet further down but somewhere near the place from which I took this photograph.
This is the new location of the tomb of Coin Harvey and his son, Robert. It is north of the boat ramp and across a broad yard that's between 94 Spur and this little road. The east border of the yard is Corp of Engineers controlled federal property. 94 Spur goes by the tower and swings east for a short way and ends at the lake. A boat ramps leads south down into the water. The little road in this photo turns off Spur 94 near the tower and runs east parallel until it turns northeast at this corner where the tomb is located.
|See bottom of this page for LINKS TO OTHER WEB SITES RELATED TO MONTE NE AND COIN HARVEY|
|THE INDEX OF PAGES FOR THIS ARTICLE|
|PAGE 1 - The story of Coin Harvey and Monte Ne with photos of the amphitheater.|
|PAGE 2 - Concrete Bank Block Building and Views of the Lagoon|
|PAGE 3 - Lodge, Burial Vault, and Photos with the Lake at Three Levels|
|PAGE 4 - 1977 Lake Level marked on Old Photos, Views into the Water, Checking the Time Capsule, Related Links|
|PAGE 5 - Lissa Myer's Current photos of the ruins at Monte Ne: the Tower Windows, old foundations, and crowds at the amphitheater.|
|PAGE 6 - 2005 Views of Oklahoma Row foundation and tower with a new summary of the events of William Hope "Coin" Harvey's involvement with his Monte Ne Resort and the good roads movement. This page includes many links to other informative web sites related to Coin Harvey and Monte Ne.|
|PAGE 7 - Photo and map of the old townsite with a panoramic photo of some of the foundation ruins on the lake shore and across the lake to the amphitheater. There is a photo that shows the new location of Harvey's tomb. The text includes some comments from a U.S. Corps of Engineers employee who toured the Monte Ne site for the Corps in the early 60s.|
|PAGE 8 - Coin Harvey's Amphitheater around the Big Spring at Monte Ne. Harvey planned this to be the foyer for his pyramid or obelisk in which he planned to place a"time capsule" or museum room to hold all the important documents and marvels of civilization. However, that was never to be because he was unable to obtain financing. The photos on this page show the upper parts of the amphitheater now exposed by the dropping waters of Beaver Lake. Old photos from before the lake was built and at other times when the lake was low are included for comparison.|
|PAGE 9 - This page continues the amphitheater description with the south wall. Most of the south wall is under water even with the lake level at 1106 feet above sea level. The south wall may have been the planned entrance to the pyramid and time capsule that Coin Harvey wanted to build. In any case, he probably planned to build the pyramid, or obelisk, on the little hill behind the amphitheater. That little hill is an island when the lake level gets to the 1120 to 1125 range as shown in the photo posted on the previous page.|
|PAGE 10 - On the side of the hill behind the south wall is a tall retaining wall. The area was so covered in brush in 1961 and I was so hesitant about the possibility of trespassing that I didn't find that wall. There is a paved driveway leading from the east of the amphitheater up to the area above the wall where the railroad depot used to be. There are also panoramice photos of the view from the amphitheater back toward the old Monte Ne town site.|
|PAGE 11 - Selected Monte Ne Resort photos from the Rogers Historical Museum used by permission. Photo of old Monte Ne in great detail. Photos of the Bank Block when new and years later after it had been gutted by fire or weather. Photos of the amphitheater from its unfinished construction in 1928 and when that part of Beaver Lake was dry in the winter of 1977.|
|PAGE 12 - 2006 Wedding in the Monte Ne amphitheater. First wedding there in more than 40 years? Photo of Ann in the amphitheater in 2006 compared to a similar photo from 1977.|
|PAGE 13 - Photos comparing the low lake level in January 2006 with the same areas in January 2007 after the lake level rose about 20 feet.|
Friends of Monte Ne!
Can the Friends of Monte Ne be reorganized now that there is such great interest in the lost resort? With proper organization, planning, and fund raising, some nice things could be done in the area by the Lake at old Monte Ne.
It would help to have someone with connections to the local district of the Army Corps of Engineers, the State Parks Department, and maybe some of the local politicians.
If you're interested, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass it on to the interested people who live in the area.
|Skipper Family Magazine|
SITE INDEX PAGE
|For a definitive picture album/history of the resort at Monte Ne, purchase Allyn Lord's Historic Monte Ne published by Arcadia Publishing in its Images of America series.|