As it turns out, sitting alone in the lab taking data requires paying just enough attention to the equipment to make sure that any glitches get finished immediately, which is not conducive to doing homework, but works extremely well for writing blog entries. Consider yourselves warned.

And now, for the topic at hand: recent nostalgia inspired me to fool around on Flickr looking for pictures of my old home town, when I started to come across pictures of a spot that holds a special semi-mythic status back in Northwest Arkansas: Monte Ne. First, some background, courtesy of a) what I remember from my mother’s days at the Rogers Historical Museum and b) the Internet (duh):

Harvey's Amphitheater Being Reclaimed By Beaver Lake

William Hope Harvey, known better as “Coin” Harvey, was born in Buffalo, West Virginia in 1851. He started out as a lawyer and teacher, settling for awhile in Huntington, WV, before heading to Colorado to join the real estate business there in 1884. His keen interest in finance led him to writing about the subject, and he was perhaps best known for his “free silver” idea, which gained prominence when he was involved in William Jennings Bryan’s presidential campaign against McKinley in 1896. Although Harvey was involved in national politics several times in his life, one cannot really say that he had any success with it.

The story reaches Arkansas at the turn of the century, when, impressed by the area’s beauty and similarity to his native West Virginia, Harvey relocated to Northwest Arkansas and the White River Valley. He founded a resort there, called Monte Ne, and ran it for thirty or so years. He was also heavily involved in the establishment of the Ozark Trails Association and the marking and improving of roads in the region (most especially those leading to Monte Ne). Toward the end of his life, however, Harvey grew increasingly frustrated with the world and was convinced that mankind would destroy itself. He decided to build a pyramid some 130 ft. high that would serve as a time capsule that would contain materials that would help the survivors of the dark days ahead. By this time, the Great Depression had nearly reduced Monte Ne to its end, and much of Harvey’s own money had been spent. He ran into financial difficulties and died in 1936 with the pyramid incomplete.

Today, most of Monte Ne lies under Beaver Lake, which was built in the 1960s after flooding devastated the region. Every once in awhile, though, the lake level drops and parts of Monte Ne resurface. The photo above shows the very top of Monte Ne’s amphitheater; this is what it looks like with the water lower. Last year a drought left Beaver Lake at record lows, and many people flocked to Monte Ne to explore the ruins and to look for the rumored secret entrance to a chamber Harvey filled with treasures of the early 20th century. Even when Monte Ne is out of sight, it’s never out of mind: locals are always looking for the tip of the legendary pyramid and Coin Harvey, if for no reason other than his eccentricity, is never forgotten.

5 Responses to “Relics”

  • All that effort and he didn’t put pontoons on the freakin’ pyramid?? 😛

    It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if mankind did manage to destroy itself, but I’m not sure I see a time-capsule pyramid as the logical solution. ‘Course, if I’d settled in Huntington I’d probably have moved to Colorado and gone a little batty too. (No, no, I kid, I kid, Huntington has the Calamity Café. Also one of the world’s finest violin teachers. No, but seriously, I’d be building floating pyramids… Nah, I’m just messing with you. Seriously though, I got the blueprints right here.)

  • As soon as I saw the bit about Huntington, I knew I had to mention that. For your sake. 😉

  • I appreciate your thinking of me 😉

  • I found your blog during a Google search about Monte Ne. I like to check occasionally to see how many of my pages show up on the first search page.

    This is a great shot of the upper wall of the amphitheater and the big retaining wall behind it. I don’t think I’ve ever been there at just that lake level.

    Jim Skipper

  • It is a lovely picture, however, I cannot take credit for it. It’s from Flickr and belongs to MRHSfan. Despite living in NW Arkansas for most of my childhood, I never actually made it to Monte Ne during any of the droughts. Someday, maybe.

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