Demolition begins at Fayetteville hotel

FAYETTEVILLE — Men and women going for walks on Centre Street east of the downtown square 40 yrs in the past may perhaps have listened to the faint sounds of music coming from an underground bar entire of business people, legal professionals and politicos.

At present men and women have to continue to be conscious of prospective slipping debris coming from the setting up that as soon as served as an annex to the previous Mountain Inn resort. A contractor commenced function past week to get down the construction, which has lain dormant for more than two decades.

The internet site of the Mountain Inn and its adjoining properties has a storied historical past. The original resort shut in 1994, but the making however stands, housing corporations such as Damgoode Pies, Taste of Thai and Petra Cafe.

The piece getting demolished, farther east in the vicinity of Center Street and School Avenue, was created in 1930 and was regarded as the industrial finance setting up or the arcade constructing, according to “The Square Ebook: An Illustrated Background of the Fayetteville Sq., 1828-2016,” by Anthony Wappel and Jerry Hogan. The Mountain Inn took the top rated two floors of the annex, offering the spot much more than 100 rooms. The annex has a wall abutting the first lodge, making it all appear like one particular setting up from the exterior.

A third growth in 1961 was recognized as the Motor Lodge. That piece was demolished in 2005 in anticipation of a 12-story lodge and condominium growth with stores and dining places. That hardly ever transpired.


Maybe the most nicely-recognized aspect of the arcade making was below. Regarded as the Gaslight Club in the 1960s, the location grew to become the Brass Monkey in 1975, in accordance to “Fantastic Moments: A Historical past of Evening Spots and Reside New music In Fayetteville, Arkansas,” by Denele Campbell.

Previous President Monthly bill Clinton, Tyson Meals founder Don Tyson and former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers frequented the location.

The venue did not advertise.

Proprietor Billie Schneider served as a important figure of the state’s Democrat celebration at the time, and the place became a who’s who of up-and-coming political figures. The Brass Monkey shut immediately after Schneider’s demise in 1985 and became a few other shorter-lived clubs all through the many years till it went dormant for superior by the early 2000s.

Jim Blair, philanthropist and former normal counsel for Tyson Foods, explained the Brass Monkey underneath Schneider had the truly feel of a non-public club where the booze and conversations flowed freely. A ton of the state’s politics advanced from the location, he mentioned.

“Late at night, things may perhaps have gotten really wild at instances,” Blair explained. “But that is a person of the pressure-cooker ventilators that modern society has to depend on.”

Archie Schaffer III served as an aide for Clinton and Bumpers, and reported the Brass Monkey was not really a spot for the faculty crowd. Schaffer was quite a great deal the youthful guy in the location.

Musical acts these kinds of as Levon Helm, Dr. John, the Leaving Trains and the Charles Tuberville Band brought crowds to the dance flooring. Schaffer mentioned he remembered the place was chilly and dark and loud. Schneider served as the glue that kept the scene afloat, he stated.

“It was the position men and women wished to be and understood they could discover other people they could want to discuss to about enterprise or politics or whichever,” Schaffer claimed.

Woody Bassett, partner at Bassett Legislation Firm, had an office inside the arcade developing and would from time to time saunter into the underground bar during its heyday. A prolonged corridor led from the office to the resort and dining room at the Mountain Inn, as well as the Town Club, which operated over the Brass Monkey, he said.

The making when served an significant role in the neighborhood and provided a accumulating spot for a great deal of people today to join and share concepts, Bassett reported. The time is prolonged overdue for the rest of the shuttered structure to come down, he said.

“Hopefully one thing good can arrive in there and take its spot. It is just a genuinely obvious position in downtown Fayetteville, and it really is right there on Faculty Avenue,” Bassett reported. “We have a stunning downtown and this is just one of the couple items lacking.”


Motor vehicle-Son Design in North Little Rock was granted a allow from the metropolis to demolish what is actually left of the arcade creating of the Mountain Inn. Justin Stewart with Car or truck-Son explained you will find no timetable on the demolition get the job done, but it will take a whilst.

The creating has become an open up basic safety violation, said Jonathan Curth, the city’s development products and services director. You can find a prospective for pieces of the exterior to tumble down onto the general public sidewalk down below. City personnel have labored with the house owner for far more than a yr on a answer, he stated.

The metropolis has authority to assure a vacant making is secure and poses no threat to the general public, Curth reported. But that is about exactly where the city’s authority ends, he noted.

The home would have to become section of a district secured under the city’s preservation ordinance to implement any measures outdoors of structural integrity and security, Curth stated. A greater part of home proprietors in just the district would have to concur to be portion of it.

The home is owned by NWAP LLC in Mountain Property, which bought it in 2014 for $1.1 million, in accordance to Washington County property records. The firm is registered to Mountain Household attorney Mark Carney, who died in December.

Developers John Nock and Richard Alexander had ideas in the early 2000s to develop a large-rise luxurious hotel and condominium task termed the Renaissance Tower in location of the Motor Lodge. The developers partially demolished the framework in 2005 and a crane loomed above the web-site for a few of several years in advance of a community parking good deal went in.

The Renaissance Tower project in no way arrived to fruition, and Nock and Alexander defaulted on a $3.9 million personal loan for the assets. The Bank of Fayetteville paid out $1.25 million for the foreclosed property in 2013 right before NWAP LLC purchased it.

Around the time Nock and Alexander bought the assets, the Town Council made a tax increment finance district to spend for demolition of the previous construction. The district authorized a portion of assets taxes produced by houses inside of its borders to go towards eradicating the blight.

Funding on the project fell by, and Nock and Alexander had to make excellent on a lot more than $300,000 in liquidated damages to the town. They pledged to spend that amount if the lodge wasn’t completed by September 2007.

  photo  Work continues Wednesday, April 20, 2022, to demolish the former Mountain Inn annex making in downtown Fayetteville. The city has issued Car or truck-Son Construction in North Little Rock a allow to demolish the former space that has remained vacant and in disrepair for much more than two decades. Go to for present-day photograph gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
  photo  Fayetteville Sq. and Mountain Inn, 12 March 1979 (Northwest Arkansas Times)
  photo  Fayetteville Square and Mountain Inn, 12 March 1979 (Northwest Arkansas Moments)
  photo  Fayetteville Square and Mountain Inn, 12 March 1979 (Northwest Arkansas Moments)
  photo  Richard Greer celebrates his 80th birthday at Mountain Inn, in the home he was born in 1 March 1994 (Northwest Arkansas Occasions)
  photo  Richard Greer celebrates his 80th birthday at Mountain Inn, in the place he was born in 1 March 1994 (Northwest Arkansas Situations)
  photo  Richard Greer celebrates his 80th birthday at Mountain Inn, in the space he was born in 1 March 1994 (Northwest Arkansas Moments)
  photo  Mother-daughter banquet at Mountain Inn, Could 1961, Pat Donat, photographer (Northwest Arkansas Periods)
  photo  A postcard shows what the former Mountain Inn building and its annex to the east close to Middle Road and Higher education Avenue in Fayetteville seemed like circa 1957. The annex portion of the making is in the middle of demolition. (Courtesy/Charles Alison)