Once upon a time in the Ozarks there was a resort called Monte Ne, which was founded by a man who was famous in his time, though nearly forgotten today. His name was William Hope Harvey, and he was an important advisor on economic matters to William Jennings Bryan during Bryan’s presidential bid in 1896. Harvey had visited Rogers during that campaign and was impressed with the beauty of the area, which reminded him of his native West Virginia.
In 1900 he returned and bought up some of those hills and valleys and springs, specifically a place called “Silver Springs.” It was around this cluster of springs that he built Monte Ne, which was to become variously a health resort, a political headquarters, a publishing house, a think tank for philosophical luminaries, a place for the education and improvement of civilization itself and finally a time capsule, a phoenix egg from which a new civilization would arise after the demise of the present one.
Harvey, like practically everybody who tries to make things better, was just frustrated as all get-out that other people didn’t see the self-evident truth of his ideas and the corruption and hypocrisy of the status quo. Despite his message of integrity, honesty, service and compassion, people found him to be a pretty cold fish, hard to please, difficult to work for and hard to approach personally.
He originally established Coin Publishing Company in Chicago to publish Coin Magazine to get his message to the world. That message was pretty much a list of what was wrong with western civilization. The magazine failed, but Harvey still had his message to get out, so he put some of the most important points in one book, called “Coin’s Financial School.” This book was a fictionalized debate between a young genius named “Coin” and others representing bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, newspapermen and the various aspects of the prevailing political and economic reality. In these monkeyed-up debates, Coin always runs rings around the opposition and makes them look like stooges. Thereafter, Coin became Harvey’s nickname.
“Coin’s Financial School” sold over 1.5 million copies, but it’s hard to find today. To make his theories more available to the masses the books were made of the cheapest materials, and 125 years later they’ve mostly crumbled to dust. I read “Coin’s Financial School” in the Butler Center of the LRPL, and after returning it to the librararian and returning to the table to collect my things I found a dusting of yellowed pulp, the price paid by the book for being read one more time.
Monte Ne was not his first big project. Before Coin Publishing and before Monte Ne, and with no training in geology, he moved to Colorado and started mining. His mine, “The Silver Bell,” failed, but he promoted the industry by ramroddiing the construction of an ostentatious “Palace of Minerals” in Pueblo. He left Colorado under unpleasant circumstances. He had promised to contribute $5000 of his own money to the project, and other investors felt he might have held back. He moved to Ogden, UT and went into real estate. While there he concieved and staged a wild west version of Mardi Gras, even importing parade royalty from New Orleans.
After Utah he formulated his social theories and became a famous guy and people listened to what he said, and he debated other famous guys in public on matters pertaining to the economy and what was wrong with it. I’m going to try to distill Harvey’s financial thoughts as much as possible. This is pretty dry stuff, but I’m including it because all the other sources I read had practically nothing to say about the ideas he espoused. This comes from “The Book,” which was published in 1930 and from “Coin’s Financial School,” published in 1896.
**This article is excerpted from Russell T. Johnson’s article on Monte Ne from The Arkansas Roadside Travelogue. You can find the original located at http://arkansasroadsidestories.com/history/montene.html
This article is Copyrighted – Russell T. Johnson , reprinted with thanks.