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Couple likes originality of their barn

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Neil and Janeen Hungate utilize their barn for their antique store, Brickyard Antiques. The couple has worked to keep the barn as original as they can.

OTHO — Neil and Janeen Hungate’s barn isn’t used for livestock, but rather antiques.

No matter the use, the couple works to ensure the barn remains as close to how it was built as they can.

The Hungates have done the usual maintenance to keep the barn up and fortunately, before they purchased the acreage and the barn, it had already been given a new roof.

“We probably wouldn’t have bought the place if it wasn’t for the roof,” said Neil Hungate. “We have done very little restoration. No one wants us to do that. They like it the way it is.”

The Hungates have replaced some windows, cleaned, added a wooden floor to a portion of the barn and also added a staircase to the hay loft, in order to have the structure ready for their business, Brickyard Antiques.

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
The Hungate barn is believed to have been built utilizing bricks from Lehigh Brick and Tile.

“We use it as a little antique shop,” said Neil Hungate. “We’re open about three or four times a year.”

By choosing to keep the barn as original as they can, it actually has worked out in their favor.

“When we first started talking about doing this (the antique shop), we talked about taking walls out, but Janeen’s brother said ‘leave it. Leave it the way it is. That’s what people want to see,’ so we did,” said Neil Hungate. “And we take advantage of those walls now — they are built in displays.”

Originally, Janeen Hungate said when they moved to their acreage in February of 2000, the original intentions for the barn were to make it into an event center.

“Neil was raised in the country. I wasn’t,” Janeen Hungate said. “But, we wanted to live in the country. We didn’t care what it had on it. A friend of mine said it would be fun to have a barn that you could turn into an event center for weddings, receptions and stuff like that. Neil wasn’t for it.”

Unfortunately, that dream didn’t pan out. In the meantime, the Hungates decided to keep the tradition of the barn of always being a livestock barn going, and they raised cattle in there for a few years — until about 15 years ago.

They soon found another purpose for the barn after some encouragement from Janeen Hungate’s brother.

“We got into antiques, it was her (Janeen) brother’s idea,” said Neil Hungate.

“We weren’t into antiques at all. He (my brother) and sister opened up an antique shop in Story City so we started doing a lot of garage saling and so we would pick up things and put in their shop. Finally, one day my brother says ‘you have a barn. Why don’t you open your own antique shop?’ I said in that old, stinky barn? He told me, I would be surprised and to trust him,” said Janeen Hungate.

And after two years of attending auctions and garage sales; buying up inventory, they had their first barn sale in 2016.

The couple held their first barn sale in 2016.

“Our first sale was just fantastic,” said Neil Hungate. “We did really well. People said they just loved coming here.”

“People were like ‘oh my gosh we love the barn,'” said Janeen Hungate. “I think a lot of people come just to see the barn.”

The Hungates aren’t exactly sure when their barn was built, but have had neighbors tell them they believe it is the second barn that has been built on the property.

Constructed out of brick, they also think there is a good possibility the brick came from Lehigh Brick and Tile, although there is no writing on the brick to tell for sure.