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Then & Now


Our Story


Welcome to a Fair Barn. My name is Mistie. My husband and I reside in Salem, IL. We lived here since 2004. When we purchased our property to build our home it had a beautiful barn sitting on it. The barn was originally the old Marion County Fair Barn. At the time we purchased our property we were told it was over 100 years old. That was over ten years ago. It was used for livestock at the fairgrounds. Sometime around 1950 it was moved to our location on S. Hotze Rd. It was put on the block foundation that it still sits on today. It looked pretty good on the outside, but wow when you went inside it was a mess. Hay was stacked to the ceiling. There was no electricity. Concrete feeding troughs went from one end to the other. We couldn’t see how bad of a condition it was in until we scooped out hay for days. My husband even fell through the loft floor it was that bad. Luckily the old lofts were not very high from the dirt floor. We debated on tearing it down once we saw the condition of all the wood. Posts were rotting out and the lofts were very unsafe. We called a company to come out and give us an estimate on tearing it down and building us a new one. Thank goodness we had a very honest man talking to us. He said “I would love to build you a new barn, but you can build five new barns and see them fall and this one will be still standing.” So with that said we decided it would be a fun project and a great place to store stuff in. With the help of family and friends we began what we thought was going to be a two year project. Well we slightly underestimated the work we were going to do. Five years later we are almost done. We jacked up and replaced the main poles. Jackhammered out all the concrete troughs. The lofts were removed board by board. Let me tell you that old oak is heavy and nails were put there to stay. Once all that was done we started trying to make it look the way it did in its glory days. We build a two tier loft completely around the barn with railing to make it safe. Added stairways so you could make a complete circle from either side. New windows and doors were installed. And a concrete floor was added. Finally we insulated the entire barn, ceiling and all to help keep drafts and birds out. Once that was done we hung knotty pine tongue and groove in the entire upper area. We stained it dark green so that it could blend with the country side. The lower block level was painted and we have rustic style lighting and electrical outlets all throughout. Recently we added a high efficiency wood stove to make it cozy in the winter. Within the next few months we will have the south side completed with bathrooms, kitchen and storage. Not too long ago we had a family inquire about holding weddings in it. I was excited. That was never in the plan, but I liked the idea. So next thing you knew we were hosting our very first wedding. I always thought it would be great to have an event planning business, but living in a small community I never thought it would go over good. I still can’t believe it never crossed my mind to turn it into a venue for celebration of all types. Especially since we have had our annual Halloween party out there for several years. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. What started out as a fun project and an excuse to buy tools and play outside turned into a dream come true that I never thought would happen. It is also a great way to meet new people and work at a job you really enjoy doing. Most people are never that lucky, and we feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to share our barn with you and help make your celebration one you will remember for years to come. We are just getting started so we can only imagine what the future of our barn holds. We get new ideas every day. Please call us so that we can be a part of your special day. Whether it be a wedding, shower, or family reunion. We will do our best to make yours the best it can be!!!


Thank you for stopping in!!

Al and Mistie Urdaneta

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