“It seems like everyone who passes by either honks or waves or stops in,” said western artist Doug Hall speaking about the log cabin that he and his friends are building along Highway 59, south of Neosho.
In 1987 Hall built what he called the log cabin store on the site. He sold black powder guns and accessories. He also had his art there to show and sell. And, of course, there was a potbellied stove and several rocking chairs for his friends.
But on Easter morning 2001, a tornado took the log cabin and cast it to the winds.
For more than 13 years, the spot where the cabin was sitting was empty. People still came around because Doug and his black powder friends come there to have a shooting match each Sunday afternoon. The black powder shoot has been going on for almost 30 years.
This spring the thought of replacing the log cabin formed in Doug’s mind and, in late May, he and a few friends started.
The first cabin took more than two years two years to build as Doug and his friends worked on it at a slower pace. But this cabin is going up very quickly. Already there are the four sides, two porches, and several windows and doors.
Doug hopes to have it fully enclosed when cold weather hits.
“I want to be in there by the stove, drinking coffee, when the cold winds blow,” he said. “It won’t be fully built by then, but we can at least be in it.”
Hundreds of hands have helped build this cabin, as people come and work a little while. Some even came with their own draw knife and skinned logs. Doug says most just did one log because they wanted to try it.
Now Doug works every day on the cabin from 5 p.m. until dark. Four friends, Randy Wilson, Michael Dees, Ron Barkley and Larry Dickson, are there almost every afternoon. The men work and then eat supper which Doug provides or one of the other men bring.
The after-work traffic on Highway 59 is heavy and many drivers honk as they pass.
Besides the four regular helpers, many people have done special things such as cut the logs on Doug’s mother’s place in McDonald County. Others have done a little cement work. People peeled the logs and helped lift them in place. Still others have brought a tractor or pickup to deal with the heavy logs.
“Building a log cabin is one of the most labor intensive jobs in the world, and I couldn’t have done it without all the help,” Doug says.
When the cabin is complete, Doug will have an art gallery for his work, black powder accessories for sale (no guns), a gathering place for his friends and a loft bedroom when he wants to stay there overnight.
So when you pass by the cabin site, give the guys a honk, or better yet, stop and have a real look. But be careful, you might find yourself wanting to help.