Monday, January 20, 2014

NY Times on 'renaissance' vision for Wilson, Ark.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 8:04 AM

SPRUCING UP: A new owner is bringing an infusion of ideas and money to the Tudor-inspired Delta town of Wilson. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • SPRUCING UP: A new owner is bringing an infusion of ideas and money to the Tudor-inspired Delta town of Wilson.

The New York Times today reports on a dream of a renaissance for the Delta town of Wilson, Ark., once the seat of the vast Wilson family plantation.

Plantation wealth built the company town with Tudor buildings and huge homes. Years passed and the holdings passed into other hands, sold by heirs for $110 million in 2010.

The new owner has plans to turn Wilson into what the Times' described as a "beacon of arts, culture and education."

It might seem a far-fetched notion, except that the man who bought it is Gaylon Lawrence Jr., 52, whose extensive financial holdings include more than 165,000 acres of farmland in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi; five banks; the world’s largest privately owned air conditioning distributor, USAir Conditioning Distributor; and a major citrus operation in Florida.

He's invested plenty in sprucing up Wilson, including luring a Memphis chef to open a fancy cafe with $14 hamburgers.

There are plans for a private academy in a former plantation home and a museum is to open in 2016 on the town square to showcase pottery from a pre-Columbian archaeological dig.

There are plans for concerts and British car shows and an artists’ co-op. And Mr. Faulkner is working with the family of Johnny Cash, hoping it will allow the town to rename its little theater in honor of the musician, whose childhood home is 13 miles away in Dyess.

All of it will be set amid a handful of stately mansions and Tudor buildings, most of which were built after one of Mr. Wilson’s sons came back from a honeymoon trip to England in the 1920s.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • The Arkansas Medicaid scandal: the state is purging the rolls of tens of thousands of eligible beneficiaries

    Tens of thousands of Arkansans have been kicked off of Medicaid for failure to respond to an income verification letter. Many of them are eligible for the program according to the very data that triggered the letter in the first place.
    • Aug 6, 2015
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation