FORT SMITH (KFSM) – The StoneHouse restaurant opened Tuesday (Dec. 15) at Chaffee Crossing, making what was once a place for learning, now a place for eating.
The farm-to-table style restaurant is serving fresh food, with a little bit of history. It was originally the Maness Schoolhouse, built in 1937, and the last class was in 1941.
“It was for all ages, and so it was just a one room schoolhouse,” Chaffee Crossing Historic District Historian Rod Williamson said.
Williamson said it is the only building the United States Army kept on the property when the land was purchased to build Camp Chaffee, but the history of the building doesn't end in 1941.
"German POWs that were here during the second world war between 1943 and 1946 built this porch, and several other features around Fort Chaffee,” Williamson said.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Joseph Meadows with Meadows Construction said the restaurant kept the floors, doors and windows, and added the kitchen.
Head chef Memo Vaca, who is originally from Rogers, said the old schoolhouse is the perfect size.
"I like that it's small. It's just the right size that we can provide for all the people in town, but not too big that it just feels too overwhelming,” he said. “I love this old building. It has a lot of character; a lot of people are familiar with it.”
Williamson said a man who had first grade at the schoolhouse in 1941 donated the bell to the restaurant.
The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and plans to make lunch available in early January.
Click here for the restaurant’s website.