Known as “The Potato House”, the building tucked in a corner behind the intersection of Phoenix and Rogers avenues, has seen its share of stories.
Built circa 1910, the original property was thirty-five acres and included a blacksmith shop, a potato house (now Black Bison), and a two-story farmhouse between the barn and Rogers Avenue. Part of the original property the three story barn just up the hill from Black Bison is now home to The Barn by Two Brothers, a hay barn built in 1910 that has been updated and converted into a breathtaking venue for weddings and special occasions.
“The property was the old Sharum place,” says Frank Sharp, who’s seventy-seven, lives in Fayetteville, and bought the property (including the hay barn, blacksmith shop, and potato house) in 1977. “They sold produce, had a large greenhouse, and stored potatoes for their neighbors. I understand that the main house was destroyed by a fire in the 1940s.”
When Frank bought the property, he converted the potato house into the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse, selling smoked meats, bakery items, and jellies and jams until he retired from the business in 2007 and leased the company to a friend who kept it open for a couple more years. In 2010, Scott’s Bike Shop moved in.
“The potato house has a strange history,” says Frank. “There is a very shallow natural gas formation under the area. When the Sharums leased the natural gas on their property, they were given free, unlimited access to it, which they used to heat the potato house where they stored their neighbors’ potatoes for the winter. Farmers used to camp on the banks of Massard Creek before going into Fort Smith to sell their produce and purchase supplies. There was a water well by the campground that would fill with gas and occasionally catch fire if someone dropped a match.