During the election of 1896, Harvey
traveled the nation campaigning for William Jennings Bryan. But the Free
Silver candidate lost to William McKinley. The Democratic Party reacted
to the defeat by abandoning the Free Silver cause in 1899. Discouraged
by Bryan’s defeat and disillusioned by the Democratic Party’s
abandonment of Free Silver, Harvey decided to quit politics.
One of the places that Harvey had
visited during the 1896 campaign was Northwest Arkansas. In 1900 he
returned. On arriving in Rogers, Harvey told the Rogers Democrat that he
had chosen Northwest Arkansas to make a new start because it had no
large cities nor any really rich people. Harvey purchased over 300 acres
around a large spring southeast of Rogers.
Harvey changed the name of the
community from Silver Springs to Monte Ne (which he said was Spanish and
Native American for “mountain water”), and began to create a luxurious
resort. In May of 1901 the first hotel opened and Harvey commissioned a
song, “Beautiful Monte Ne,” to promote the resort.
The Hotel Monte Ne about 1905, and the cover
for the sheet music for “Beautiful Monte Ne."
Above, guests relax on the porch of Hotel Monte Ne. Below, visitors to
Monte Ne enjoy the covered pool, said to be the first of its sort in
Soon Hotel Monte Ne, with its
ballroom, was joined by an indoor swimming pool and a two-story theater
with a bowling alley and meeting room. Harvey even built a lagoon
and a series of canals in front of the hotel and imported a gondola from
Italy. In 1902 he built a railroad spur from the St. Louis and San
Francisco Railroad line to Monte Ne and began to bill the resort as the
“only place in America where a gondola meets the trains.”
Harvey imported this gondola from Italy in 1901. He brought the Gondola's
Monte Ne to train Vern Ingersoll to operate it.
But while his
resort was thriving, Harvey’s personal life was
not. For a decade Harvey had lived apart from
his family and quarreled with his wife Anna by
post about money and the lack of a permanent
planned to continue to live on his own, he
established a home for Anna at Monte Ne. After
that house burned in 1902, Anna and their
daughters returned to Chicago. It seems she
never returned to Monte Ne again except for the
funeral of their son Hal, who was killed in a
railroad accident in 1903.
was probably the greatest tragedy of Harvey’s
life. He built a concrete mausoleum near the
lagoon at Monte Ne for his son’s remains. Then
he returned to developing his resort.
An early plat map of Monte Ne.
For a report on the grand opening of
the Hotel Monte Ne,
To view Harvey’s letter of
December 26, 1900, to his wife Anna, click
Part I. ( 1.7 meg pdf )
Part II. ( .6 meg pdf )
To view his letter of December 26, 1900, to
his daughter Marie, click here.
Part I. ( 1.7 meg pdf )
Part II. ( 1.7 meg pdf )
Part III. ( .8 meg pdf )
Part IV. ( .3 meg pdf )
To hear “Beautiful Monte
( 1.5 meg mp3)