Photo: Bobak Ha’Eri
The Confederate statue that has stood on the Bentonville square for over 100 years will soon be moved to a private park, according to a statement from the Arkansas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The group said it’s been in dialogue with local community leaders for over a year about the future of the monument, which it owns.
The monument depicts a bearded Confederate soldier, and was erected on the square in 1908 through an agreement with Benton County. It has in the past been vandalized, most recently in September 2019.
The UDC said the new location is best for all parties.
“We believe today’s decision is in the best interest of preserving our state’s history, educating the public, and memorializing Benton County veterans,” said Joey McCutchen, an attorney representing the UDC. “The approach followed during this process could serve as a business model for other communities to follow and also a model of peace, civility, and respect.”
The statue will be moved to a permanent private park through a new agreement with the Benton County Historical Society. The park will be named “James H. Berry Park,” and located adjacent to the Bentonville Cemetery.
“This agreement will allow the UDC to continue to display and preserve the historical significance of the monument and its unique connection to the history of Benton County in perpetuity,” the group said.
The process to relocate the monument will begin in August after the UDC submits an application under the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to maintain the monument on the National Registry of Historic Places. After relocation, the UDC will maintain ownership of the monument, but the Benton County Historical Society will own and operate the park and display the monument as part of the Civil War history of the area.
“We appreciate the spirit of this decision of the UDC, and we are prepared to play an important role in preserving the monument in an appropriate way to commemorate Governor Berry as well as our State and county history,” said Leah Whitehead, chair of the Benton County Historical Society.