Day 133 brought us into Arkansas, and a visit to Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s hometown of Bentonville.
Bentonville is of course home to the World Headquarters of Wal-Mart. The publicly traded conglomerate now operates 11,200 stores in 27 countries around the world.
But long before there was ever a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, there was Sam Walton’s original Five & Dime store in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.
And little did anyone know the future it would hold for this community when Sam first opened the doors back in 1951.
The Town of Bentonville, Arkansas
Sam loved his hometown. And he stayed true to it right up until his death in 1992. This community, and many of the communities around it owe much of their growth to his belief in keeping the core of his operations in the town and state he loved so much.
Whatever your views are of the massive chain, one thing is for sure, Wal-Mart is a big part of America’s retail history.
Sam’s original Five & Dime and the museum are actually quite well done. Both are free to visit for the public, and it is like taking a step back in time as you walk through the decade exhibits. (See: Wal-Mart Museum)
Of all of the displays, two really stood out as favorites. The first of which was Sam’s office.
The exhibit, with an all-glass front, lets you peer in at his desk and surroundings exactly as they were at the time of his death in 1992.
To keep it all intact, the entire office was photographed, documented and stored. And when the museum was built, it was relocated and installed to its identical state.
It was interesting to see the files, magazines and other “paper” that simply doesn’t exist in today’s offices. And not a single computer to be found. In fact, the only “technology” to speak of was a VHS player and tapes!
Sam’s 1979 Ford 150
The other popular exhibit is Sam’s beloved 1979 Ford F-150 truck.
He purchased it new in 79, and drove it up right up until the time of his death. Sam definitely stayed simple in his ways, and his well-worn truck with 65,000 miles suited him just fine.
He is famous for telling people who questioned why he drove an old truck that “how else was he supposed to take his dogs around, in a Rolls Royce?”
It is easy to see why the community and so many people in Bentonville, Arkansas were so fond of him.
Both of us were certainly impressed at just how beautiful Bentonville and the communities that surround it are. Tomorrow, it will be on to Little Rock to take in a little more of Arkansas. Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary.
CURRENT TRIP STATUS TO DATE:
- Day 133 of 365
- States : 17/50
- National Parks / Monuments : 19
- Stayed In : Conway, AR
- Miles Driven : 168
- Total Trip Miles To Date : 14,989.2
- Total Gallons Used : 1,078.36
- Biking Miles : 0.0
- Biking Miles To Date : 158.4
- Hiking Miles : 0.0
- Hiking Miles To Date : 295.2