Year In Review 2016: Red Barn Antiques In Minden Offers Pieces Of Local History

Posted By on December 28, 2016

Editor’s Note: As part of our Year In Review 2016 series, we’re re-publishing a few stories that were among our very favorite to write (and/or read) during the past year.

We’ll close out on Friday with our favorite photos from 2016.

Family-Run Red Barn Antiques In Minden Offers Pieces Of Northern Nevada History

by Joey Crandall, · 3 min read, Published on Sept. 19, 2016

MINDEN, Nev. — Barry Simpson recalls the adventures of a Carson Valley childhood played out in treasure hunts through the community dump that used to sit near the Sand Pits down past the end of Tillman Road.

It was the early 70s and Simpson would spend his days exploring out in the miles of wilderness before the Gardnerville Ranchos was the Gardnerville Ranchos.

“I’d go out there and find bottles, cans, and pieces of cars,” Simpson said. “For a kid, it was awesome. My mom would throw most of it away.”

He managed to stash some of it, though, and over time the stash began to grow into a collection.

Fast forward a little more than 40 years, and that collection has grown into Red Barn Antiques, located at 1578 Highway 395 in Minden.

The shop, located in the 100-plus-year-old Minden Blacksmith shop, has much of what one would expect from an antique shop – vintage signs and the like.

There is a locally historic flavor that sets the inventory apart.

Custom-made furniture wrought out of locally sourced barn wood. Railroad ties and sign posts from the V&T Railway that used to run into town along Heybourne Road. An apothecary’s cabinet. A blacksmith’s workbench.

Lamp covers from Main Street in Yerington. Nevada license plates. Dairy pumps. Farm equipment.

Railroad jacks and wagon wheels and barrels.

There’s even a bed from the Gardnerville Jail.

Simpson has stories for all of it – casually listing names like Chichester, Dangberg and the Ruhenstroth mansion.

“Living here your whole life, you just kind of run into things,” Simpson said. “Some of these things I’ve had since I was a kid. People will have things in their yards for years and years and end up saying, ‘Take whatever you’d like.’ I’ve just always hung onto this stuff, and now vintage and repurposed work has become such a trend.”

Simpson is not new to local business. He has been roofing in the Valley for 30 years with his business, BGS Builders/Roofing LLC. Over time, he began taking on work tearing down old barns that had become structurally unsound.

The work brought with it an influx of barn wood, which began to accumulate along with Simpson’s lifelong collection of antiques.

He explains how Red Barn Antiques became a reality. “I drove by this shop every day for years, just praying that it would become available,” he said. “I had all my antiques accumulating in about three different areas. I had to find a spot for them.

“Over time, the building was purchased by someone else and we ended up working out an agreement to fix the building up in return for being able to rent the space.

Simpson and his sons, who run the roofing business with him, began working on the building in October of 2015 – reroofing it, installing electrical, adding a porch and bringing the building up to code.

“It was just dirty and empty when we got in here,” Simpson said. “We were busy roofing all day with our other company, and then we’d come over and put in a few hours at night working on it.”

They opened their doors in February.

Now the entire family, Barry and his wife Cindy along with the kids and the kids’ spouses – 13 in all – share the work of running the shop.

Barn wood is stocked in neat racks and piles in the back of the shop, available for purchase. Simpson and his sons create furniture pieces out of the barn wood and also take custom orders.

A grand opening celebration will be held Sept. 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular business hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information, call Red Barn Antiques at 775-392-1328, check them out on Facebook or visit their Web site at