The Location


 Just west of Mena, Arkansas off the Talimena Scenic drive in the Oklahoma Ozarks is where Jack began his search for the location of the building. The area is remote and beautiful but ringed by towns with lumber yards and hardware stores.

After searching the web he identified two agencies with listed properties that appeared to suit his need. He made telephone calls to agents in Broken Bow and Poteau, Oklahoma. The lady in Poteau sounded alert and after he described what he was searching for said,

"I have just what you're looking for. A newer mountain top log cabin overlooking the National Park on 20 acres with no neighbors. It has a deep well and a solar panel electricity system. It's located five miles up a gravel road off a state highway and has a privacy gate for security. Asking price is $180,000."

The Broken Bow agent had a similar property, so Jack made arrangements to visit both properties. Next Jack contacted his architect friend and tentatively engaged his services for the project.

Two weeks later Jack arrived at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, locally know as Hillbilly, rented a car, and drove to the architect's office in downtown Little Rock. The two old friends visited for a while in the architect's office before moving to the walnut paneled conference room, with  an unobstructed view of the Arkansas river rolling its way to the Mississippi,

"What do you have for me?" the architect's eyes were sparkling and he was wearing a small grin.

"I want you to build a classical tholos near Mena."

The smile faded and he repeated Jack's words. "A-Classical-Tholos-in-Mena. Pray tell, of Pentelic marble with a chryselephantine statue of Zeus inside?"

"No wood will do and no cult statue. Let me show you what I have in mind."  Jack began to unload his briefcase and placed the images on the conference table.

epidarus "Epidaurus was site of the Asklepieion, 
the most famous healing center in ancient Greece. The Tholos is thought to be  where patients would sleep in the basement and the god would visit and proscribe a cure. Snakes may have been involved - no one is quite sure."
helio "Another theory has the building as a heliocentric astronomical calendar some 2,000 years before Nicolaus Copernicus. But the theory is difficult to credit from the available evidence.
But, not to worry, this one is much too elaborate for our needs."
Olympia "This is the  Philippeion in the Altis at Olympia. An Ionic circular memorial in limestone and marble, which contained  ivory and gold statues of Philip of Macedon and his family.
The building consisted of an outer colonnade of Ionic order with eighteen columns. Inside, it had nine engaged half-columns of the Corinthian order. It had a diameter of 15 meters and the naos had two windows.
This is more like what I have in mind. Maybe, not so large."
delphi "There is another famous tholos at Delphi, called the Athena Pronaia, that was constructed in the 4th century BC by an architect from Asia Minor. It was 13.50 meters in diameter, encircled by twenty Doric columns on the outer circle and ten Corinthian columns on the inner circle. The outer structure was constructed of Pentelic marble and the walls were set on a layer of stone The building was decorated with moldings and metopes."
drawing "This is an artist's concept of the building at Delphi. I like the floor pattern with a circle at the center of the floor and the opening in the roof.  I don't think an inner wall is necessary, but maybe an inner circle of columns."

The architect examined the images for a time then asked, "What is the function of the building?"

"It is to house a mensa - a table. It might also be considered an altar.  Here, I have a picture of one I like, but without the vase, please. It is commercially produced."


"What's your budget?" the architect asked without taking his eyes off the image of the altar.

"I have a three million dollar budget for the property, building, and the landscaping. The money is in cash, no bankers will be involved."

The architect looked at Jack, the smile returned and he said, "Soon, weather permitting, there will be a lovely tholos somewhere near Mena. I think we should adjourn to the Ouachitas and find a place to put it."

The architect and his wife graciously offered Jack their spare bedroom and Jack reciprocated by taking them out to dinner. The next morning the two old friends drove west a few hours until they reached Mena and slowly proceeded down Main street until they found a store front with a dangling sign, "Reed Reality Office". On the front window painted in red letters, 'There's No Place Like Home!' and a image of two sparkling ruby high heeled shoes. The Realtor was waiting inside and after introductions and cups of lukewarm coffee served in styrofoam cups they followed the realtor in his SUV further west. They were shown two places billed as "hunting lodges with acreage" and although both cabins were serviceable the locations lacked drama. They excused the realtor and drove on to Poteau, Oklahoma where they found what they wanted.

Jack 5