Bob Bartusch couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic as he looked out across a jam-packed parking lot of the former Stockyards Inn restaurant that he owned for more than three decades before being forced to shut down in June for lack of business.
“This looks like one of our Friday nights 15 or 20 years ago,” Bartusch said a bit wistfully.
But the crowd of more than 200 people weren’t there to dine. They were there to bid on the antiques, paintings, furnishings and sports memorabilia that Bartusch and his wife Jane were liquidating from inside the restaurant at 1065 Springfield St. in Dayton,which has housed a restaurant for 113 years, since 1900.
Bartusch summed up his feelings moments before the auction got started:
“A little bit of excitement, some anticipation, but also some regrets, too,” Bartusch said. “It’s kind of a sad day.”
Auctioneer Frank Lewis opened the auction by asking how many in the crowd had eaten at the Stockyards Inn. About 90 percent raised their hands.
Bidding was spirited. And for some, it was personal.
Wilson Bunger drove to the auction from New Madison in part because he knew a century-old painting of a hog that hung on the wall of the restaurant would go up for sale. The 82-year-old Darke County resident said the hog in the painting belonged to his grandfather, who sold breeding stock. His grandfather had commissioned an artist to paint the hog and to have it hung in the restaurant sometime between 1910 and 1920 as advertising of sorts for his business, since a working stockyards was located across Springfield Street from the restaurant for much of the 20th century.
Bidding on the painting reached $4,000. And Bunger outbid everybody.
“I wanted to keep it in the family,” he said.