When Max Horton bought his 82-acre tract outside Hasty, he did not pay that much attention to a dilapidated barn located down the hill from where an old homeplace once stood before it burned to the ground. In fact, he originally thought the barn might be used to store firewood or supplies — and even considered converting it into a man cave he could rent to hunters.

Then he talked with builder and contractor Chris Burris, who has years of experience dealing with Ozark structures, and asked Burris to look into renovating the barn into a rental unit for visitors to the Buffalo National River area. Now, after a full year of work, the ancient outbuilding is the latest addition to the ever-growing list of Airbnb properties available in northern Arkansas.

If you are looking for a bit of geographic orientation, Hasty is in northeastern Newton County, flanked by Yardelle and Piercetown for those who are familiar with the area. For the rest of us, Hasty is located on Arkansas 123 between Western Grove and Jasper. The unincorporated community was originally called Gum Tavern or Agee when the region was settled back in the late nineteenth century. In fact, the local graveyard is still known as the Agee Cemetery and dates from 1878. It was about that time when a grist mill and sawmill were established in the vicinity, resulting in a sizable influx of new residents. Noticing the settlement’s rapid growth, the local postmistress, one Joanna Morrison, suggested the name “Hasty” to federal postal officials, and that is what it has been called since 1902.

As for Horton’s property, it had been owned by the Garner family since the 1920s. Joe Garner, the family patriarch, was a carpenter during the week and a preacher on Sundays. Using oak lumber that was milled locally, he built the barn in the early 1940s.

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The transformation from a barn to “The Barn,” as it is now called, was nothing short of miraculous. First, Burris and his local crew had to dig out the dirt floors to accommodate the eight-foot ceilings. They next strengthened the exterior walls and added several inches of insulation.

 

Then they got to work on the interior, using salvaged barn wood wherever they could. There is now a modern kitchen that has every convenience (including a microwave under the island), two baths, a master bedroom, a second bedroom with bunkbeds, a great room with gas-fired logs in the fireplace, and high-speed internet service. Burris’ wife, Becky Jo, provided some interior decorating skills, adding touches of the Ozarks throughout the cabin.

Builder Chris Burris transformed the ancient barn from a rotting shell to a beautiful sanctuary in the picturesque Hasty countryside.

Outside, the place looks like a barn, of course, but it is probably the most inviting barn passersby will ever see. The graveled driveway is lined with a split rail fence, and there is an enormous oak tree with a pair of swings standing guard at the entrance. Original to the barn, the front door is a classic example of Ozark design. The back porch features a nice sitting area, a gas grill and an eight-person hot tub. Beyond the porch is a firepit and a horseshoe pit, along with views of the distant mountains to the north. Both Horton and Burris said the nighttime skies are phenomenal and filled with stars. The wildlife sightings have been pretty amazing, too, with foxes, bobcats, deer, owls, armadillos and even black bears appearing on occasion. Believe it or not, there is even a charging station for electric vehicles.

 

If you have ever had a hankering to spend a night in an Ozark barn, this may be your best chance. Visit www.airbnb.com to make reservations. The middle section of the Buffalo National River is only a few miles away.

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