Driving up to KC last week and I noticed that Barney (the large horse head) that was attached to the former Carpet Barn is gone! Where did he go? — Kevin Rapp, of Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Barney is still on the premises, Kevin.
He’s behind the building that looks down on Highway 13, north of Springfield, and believe me he is far more imposing at ground level.
Barney in full is about 7½ feet tall. And that’s just a head, which is all there is of Barney.
For decades, this massive pate looked down from high on the wall of the Carpet Barn. It was positioned as if head and neck were extending from a stall in a barn.
It didn’t look so gigantic up there.
Most say he’s a horse. Some say a mule.
Upon closer examination, I’d say he’s a horse.
At least I’m hoping he’s a horse because mules, after all, are sterile. I like to think of Barney as having children.
The original owner and builder of the Springfield Carpet Barn was Eugene Hunt.
In March of 2017 I spoke to him. He was 75 and lived next to the Carpet Barn. It was his idea to create Barney.
It’s a horse head, he told me.
Why did you want a horse head on your carpet business? I asked.
“A barn needs a horse.”
Why the hat?
“So he doesn’t get his head wet.”
In writing this story on Tuesday, it occurred to me that I never asked Hunt in 2017 why the name is “Barney.”
I was going to call him back and, instead, discovered Hunt passed away later in 2017.
I mentioned the name question to colleague Jackie Rehwald.
Will probably be auctioned for charity
Carpet Barn closed in 2017 after 44 years of business.
Midwest Archery took over. It had sold products online for eight years before buying the building. The company focuses on items for bow hunters and fishermen, featuring crossbows and hunting accessories, such as tree stands.
In fact, there is a tree stand outside the building.
Inside the building is an archery range.
The Williams family, including mom and dad, bought the approximately 6,000-square-foot building in July 2018.
They bought Barney separately at a Carpet Barn liquidation sale.
Jason Williams tells me he doesn’t want the purchase price made public because the family might want to have Barney auctioned off to raise funds for a charity.
When Barney was taken down in December, the owners asked followers via Facebook what they should do with him.
Suggestions included putting antlers on him; donating Barney to charity; having him greet people at the door; selling him to the Democratic party (whose symbol is a donkey); or selling him to someone who’d love to have Barney adorn a man cave.
Keep those questions coming. Send them to The Answer Man at 417-836-1253, email@example.com, on Twitter @stevepokinNL or by mail to 651 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65806.