Bauxite building.

World's Only Building Made of Bauxite

Field review by the editors.

Benton, Arkansas

When the Benton patients of Dr. Dewell Gann couldn't afford to pay him, they went into the neighboring fields, sawed off pastel-colored blocks of the local rock -- bauxite -- and built him a building he could use as his office. That was in 1893. Gann and his son, also a doctor, used the building until 1946, when Dewell Jr. donated it to the town as a library. In 1980 it became the Gann Museum.

The Aluminum Era.

The most memorable exhibit in the museum is the fireplace poker of death, used to murder Hattie Staner and a neighbor in 1877. Staner's nephew later confessed to the crime, and then became Saline County's only legal execution when he was hanged on the courthouse lawn.

Despite its age, the Gann Museum remains the only building in the world ever built of bauxite. That's because bauxite is surprisingly soft for a rock -- a fact vividly illustrated inside the museum, where visitors can see an imprint of Dr. Gann's foot in one of the walls. He would rest it there as he sat in a rocking chair, waiting for patients.

World's Only Building Made of Bauxite

Gann Museum of Saline County

Address:
218 S. Market St., Benton, AR
Directions:
Gann Museum of Saline County. East side of S. Market St., just north of Smith St. Small and easy to miss, despite its pastel colors.
Hours:
Th-Sa 9-3 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
501-778-5513
Admission:
Free, donations welcome.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Bauxite Museum and TeethBauxite Museum and Teeth, Bauxite, AR - 4 mi.
Bauxite Miner Family StatueBauxite Miner Family Statue, Bauxite, AR - 4 mi.
Meals Served by Model TrainMeals Served by Model Train, Little Rock, AR - 20 mi.
In the region:
Monument: First Human Dissection in Arkansas, Little Rock, AR - 22 mi.

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