In 1974, members of the local women’s club formed a committee to investigate the possibility of opening a library in the Benton County town of Atkins. The club sponsored a number of fundraisers to purchase equipment and materials, while residents stepped up to donate books for the new library. The first library officially opened on March 25, 1975, in the basement of the Atkins Telephone Company. After 14 years, the library moved across the street to a standalone location; it remains there today.
The first courthouse in Benton County was made of logs and lacked both a roof and floor, making court sessions extremely difficult during rainy weather. A local log home served as a backup location before a second courthouse was completed in 1852. Within a year, the new facility was destroyed by fire, and a third courthouse was dedicated in December 1856. The current courthouse was constructed in 1906 at a cost of $105,000. The sandstone building is highlighted by its 112-foot high clock and bell tower. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Postal service was established in the Benton County community of Van Horne in April 1882, several months before the town was officially incorporated. Van Horne was named for William C. Van Horne, a former officer of the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Until December 1, 1924, the U.S. Postal Service’s official name for the office was Van Horn, without the final e.
The first Catholic Church in the Benton County town of Watkins was constructed in 1880 as a place of worship for the area’s Irish settlers. The church served the community for 26 years before it was destroyed by fire in 1906. The next year, a new facility was built; an adjacent residence was built in 1912 when a full-time pastor was appointed. As membership grew, the church size was doubled in 1918, while additional improvements were made in 1949 and 1962.
The history of the United Methodist Church in the Benton County town of Mt. Auburn can be traced to 1863, when revival meetings were conducted by Rev. Faucet in the local schoolhouse. The school served as a meeting place for nearly a decade before articles of incorporation were formalized for the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt. Auburn in 1872 with the first church built the following year.
The first church was destroyed by tornado in 1888, so another church was constructed and dedicated in 1889. As the congregation grew, more space was required, so the second church was torn down to make way for a new building. The cornerstone was laid Sunday, October 12, 1913, with a dedication ceremony helped May 5, 1914. Constructed at a cost of $13,100, the church was built with donated labor and some materials from the prior church building. The brick building features impressive stained glass windows, given as gifts and memorials at the time of church construction.
The Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church has approximately 65 members with an average weekly attendance around 20. Services are held weekly at 10:00 a.m.