Arkansas September 18, 2019
The Underwater Ruins At Monte Ne Are A Strange Sight In Arkansas
If you’re in Northwest Arkansas than you may already be familiar but the Monte Ne ruins are a strange sight indeed. The history surrounding the ruins at Monte Ne is downright bizarre. Built by William Hope “Coin” Harvey, the area was suppose to be an Arkansas haven. Instead, this failed project sits beneath the water of Beaver Lake. Let’s head there and see what lies above and below the surface.
The Monte Ne ruins is just a shadow of what had been a planned community.
Monte Ne was originally suppose to be multiple hotels around Big Spring Lake. The creator of this community had planned for the hotels, dug the canal to create the lake, tried to organize a railroad, and even created a bank with his own form of currency. The big ideas were never fully realized but the ruins of the community still remain.
William Hope "Coin" Harvey was the mastermind behind the community. He was rather eccentric but did lead Monte Ne to quite a few "firsts."
Two of the constructed hotels held the title as the largest log buildings in the world. The Hotel Monte Ne was three stories with two wings. The bathhouse built around the lake brought the first indoor pool to Arkansas. Towards the end of the community's reign, the site also served as the first (and still only) presidential convention.
The project went under and then some after the damming of the White River.
Folks stopped frequenting the retreat which caused Harvey to lose his investors. Paired with the stock market crash that commenced the Great Depression, Monte Ne never developed beyond it's "phase one." Harvey died soon after in 1936 and the resort was sold off in lots. After the damming of the White River, Beaver Lake devoured the abandoned ghost town.
Some of the ruins stay above the lake.
The Oklahoma Row Hotel is partially submerged in the lake but when the water is super low you can step inside the hotel's basement. The wooden part of the hotel is long gone but the concrete tower is one of the earliest constructions with multi-story concrete floors.
Depending on water levels, a number of sites can be seen just beneath the surface.
The amphitheater is the most prominent piece of the ruins. Back in the day Harvey used to rally his supporters in the Liberty Party. The presidential convention lead to Harvey becoming the first Arkansas candidate to run for president (he came in 5th during the 1932 election).
When the water is especially low even more treasures begin to surface.
Partial construction ruins are still intact and can be viewed if Beaver Lake is very low. If you don't want to wait for the next dry spell, consider scuba diving in this area. This portion of the lake doesn't have the best visibility but many of the ruins are close to the surface.
After you've spent the afternoon exploring, head to the nearby Monte Ne Inn.
It's an odd thought but the best chicken in the state is next to abandoned ruins. The family-style chicken with fixin's will leave you unbelievably full. It's a great place to refuel after walking around the ruins. For more details about the eatery, read our full article
The ruins of Monte Ne are interesting to read about but even better in person. This unique underwater ghost town is certainly worth a day trip.
If you’d like to learn more about Harvey and his failed project, watch this interview:
Have you visited these ruins before? We would love to see your photos (both above and below the surface) in our Facebook group,
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