Bentonville, Arkansas, Home of the First Walmart

Sam Walton was a salesman for J. C. Penney. He leased a store from a man who had a Ben Franklin franchise. At the end of five years the owner declined to renew the lease, preferring to give the store to his own son. Walton searched for a new location and decided on a store on the square in Bentonville, Arkansas. He got a Ben Franklin franchise of his own and opened his first store.

Today, there are over 8000 Walmarts worldwide, with 2.1 million employees. The first Walmart is a museum and visitor center.  Bentonville is still the home of Walmart’s corporate office.

The list of Walton’s endowments to education and the arts in Arkansas is long. Crystal Bridges Museum of the Arts, the gift of Alice Walton, is the most recent.

This handsome complex is destined to be recognized as one of the premier Art Museums in the country.

Alice Walton offered a New York institution of higher learning $30,000,000 for a painting by a great master they owned. The institution, horrified at the notion the masterpiece would be moved to a state where “there was not a single resident, who could appreciate it,” thereby raising the bar for the definition of supreme arrogance.

They raised enough money to match the offer and keep the piece in New York.

4 Responses to Bentonville, Arkansas, Home of the First Walmart

  1. Dave L says:

    Good shots. The peak of ignorance often is found in the arrogance of snobbery IMO. Too bad they didn’t have to double itl. Once Crystal Bridges is discovered it will be the toast of mid-America if not the USA.

  2. bruce richardson says:

    bruce r says:
    Outstanding shots and review of chrystal bridges. will be following your trail across the us. bwr

  3. Linda Brown says:

    We need a trail from Joaquin Miller Park, the birthplace of the California Writers Club, to the many art spots in Oakland.

  4. Daniel says:

    Nice piece, but I felt I should point out a couple of things. First, there are about 3700 Walmarts in the US. Second, it is Alice Walton who is credited with building Crystal Bridges. That being said, I think it’s great when people write nice pieces about Walmart; after all, they’re the ones who make it possible for entire nations to enjoy better standards of living!

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