Winthrop Rockefeller Institute
The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in the University of Arkansas System is located atop Petit Jean Mountain in rural Conway County. The Institute was originally a ranch complex established by Winthrop Rockefeller. The Institute has been extensively renovated in recent years and now serves primarily as a corporate retreat and education center.
History of Winrock Enterprises and Winrock Farms
Winthrop Rockefeller moved to Arkansas in 1953 and establish a model farm for raising cattle atop Petit Jean Mountain. The farm was sited near the original farmstead of Tena and A.B. Westphal. Rockefeller hosted more than two hundred conferences and other events over twenty years to address all sorts of challenges facing Arkansas. Winthrop Rockefeller died in 1973, leaving behind Winrock International to fund ongoing operations. Winrock International moved its headquarters to Little Rock around 2003. The Petit Jean operate fell into the hands of the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. The Trust partnered with the University of Arkansas to create the UA Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in 2005 and initiate a multi-million dollar renovation of the mountaintop facilities for corporate retreats, education, dining, and lodging.
The UA Winthrop Rockefeller Institute
The current program areas of the Winrock Institute are in archaeology, the fine and culinary arts, the environment, health and wellness, Arkansas heritage, language instruction, and public affairs. Each year since 2006 the Institute has played host to an open-air professional art exhibit and sale called the Petit Jean Easel.
The grounds of the Winrock Institute are extensive. At the center of the operation is The Silos, a landmark which jut above the main conference center. The two silos were originally constructed for the farm in 1954, and stood between two barns. The east barn is now home to the Legacy Gallery, Legacy Theater, and Winrock Gift Shop. The west barn now houses the River Rock Grill. The older wing of the conference center holds Winthrop Rockefeller's old business office, the Show Barn Hall now used for dining, and the Tack Room & Stables now converted into a meeting room. Other buildings on site include a ceramics studio, a fitness center, a boathouse on Lake Abby, an historic auction stand, various gardens, and an early twentieth-century reconstructed farmstead.
The Institute today offers a wide variety of lodging options from deluxe king and queen rooms with flat panel satellite television, minifridges, and wireless internet in the President's Lodge, The Meadows, and The Orchard, to more private apartment accommodations in The Grove, all the way to the detached housing of The Pines.