Discover a piece of Arkansas history and a unique venue for your next event.
A pioneer businessman, lawyer, father of nine, and the first native Arkansan elected to the United States Congress, Colonel Samuel West Peel built this extraordinary Italianate mansion on the outskirts of beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas in 1875. This idyllic home once stood as a working farmstead surrounded by 180 acres of apple orchards, as well as a large vegetable garden, and now serves as an immaculate display of the era in which it was built.
The Peel Mansion is not only a historical museum, but a magnificent event venue as well. The interior, featuring the Front Hall, Ladies Parlor, and Colonel Peel’s Library, is furnished with authentic antiquities and artifacts of the early Victorian period. These items are generously loaned to The Peel Compton Foundation by the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Old State House. The Mansion is also the site of an outdoor museum that hosts heritage roses, perennials, and other native plants, making the property even more stunning.
According to local legend there was an arrangement made by Samuel West Peel to Mary Emaline on their engagement. Samuel promised to build his fiancé a mansion like the ones she remembered from her childhood. With the success of his law practice, Peel finally fulfilled that promise 22 years later. The Peel’s named the mansion “The Oaks” for the large oak trees found throughout the property. One of those majestic trees remains near the icehouse on the property.
The Oaks, or what we know today as The Peel Mansion, has 14 rooms, originally housed 8 fireplaces, and is crowned by a tower on the 3rd floor. It was initially a brick residence (the stucco was added by another owner later in its history) built in the Italianate style. The interior and exterior walls are 18” to 24” thick and the ceilings are 12 ½ feet high throughout the house. An icehouse was built near the home. The 1-foot thick walls of the structure ensured that the Peel’s had ice well into the summer months.
The property where the mansion sits has a story of its own. Before European settlers moved in, the land was part of the Osage Tribe’s ancestral territory. The Osage Tribe was semi-nomadic, which means that they depended on hunting and gathering as well as gardening to thrive as a people. Each year, hunting season brought the Osage to what is now called Northwest Arkansas, and the men hunted deer, bison, elk, bear, and other game to bring back home to their families. The United States government forcibly removed the Osage from their lands in Arkansas and Missouri in the early 1800s forcing the tribe to move to a reservation in southeastern Kansas.
Samuel W. Peel House, built in 1875 in Bentonville (Benton County); circa 1900. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville