ARKANSAS: Confederate Monument Stays on Historic List During Transition
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The National Register of Historic Places has approved moving the Confederate monument to its new home at James H. Berry Park, according to a news release.
The announcement came Tuesday, said Joey McCutchen, who represents the Arkansas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy. The monument will remain listed in the National Register during the move, McCutchen said in the news release.
“The United Daughters of the Confederacy is very pleased by the announcement and approval by the National Park Service to keep the monument listed on the National Register of Historic Places during the transition to the world-class James H. Berry Park. We look forward to receiving final approval when the monument is relocated in the near future,” McCutchen said in the release.
The monument has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996.
“This was the big hurdle, for them to approve the historical designation during the transition,” McCutchen said Wednesday.
The statue will be the centerpiece of a new, private park adjacent to the Bentonville Cemetery, where the former Arkansas governor is buried.
The statue is at an undisclosed location and is being refurbished. That work should be done in May, McCutchen said. The park is in the schematic design phase and construction could start in late June or early July, he said.
The Confederate statue stood on the Bentonville downtown square for more than 100 years before it was removed Sept. 2. The Daughters of the Confederacy own the monument and announced June 1 it would move the statue to the park.
The monument, which consists of a pedestal and a statue of a bearded Confederate soldier, had been on the downtown square since 1908. It was on property owned by the county, Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said. Bentonville maintained the property, including beautification. The Bentonville Parks Department has since landscaped where the monument stood.
Berry served as a Civil War officer, lawyer, Arkansas legislator, speaker of the state House of Representatives and circuit judge for the 4th Judicial District. He was elected Arkansas’s 14th governor and then served as a U.S. senator from 1885 to 1907, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
The Arkansas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Benton County Historical Society unveiled plans for James H. Berry Park on Sept. 15.
The park will be at the corner of Southwest Fifth and Southwest F streets, adjacent to the Bentonville Cemetery where Berry is buried.
The new park will be privately funded and no taxpayer money will be used, McCutchen said. A cost hasn’t yet been determined, he said.
The park will be laid out in the form of a Maltese cross, Ann Rossi, monuments chairwoman for the state Daughters of the Confederacy, previously said.
The new park’s entrance will be on Southwest Fifth Street. Visitors will be able to see the monument and a memorial wall behind it as they enter. The monument will be surrounded by a circular reflecting pool with benches. The park also will hold three educational areas.
The memorial wall will have the names of Confederate and Union soldiers from Benton County who died in the Civil War. The Confederate and Union regiments raised in the county also will be recognized, Rossi said. The wall be 9 feet tall and 102 feet long, she said.
The agreement to remove the statue will allow the Daughters of the Confederacy to display and preserve the historical significance of the monument and its connection to the history of Benton County in perpetuity, according to the group’s June 1 announcement.
The Historical Society will own and operate the park and display the monument, according to the release.