3 agriculture-themed quilts going up

Three new barn quilts that honor organizations that support agriculture in Ashtabula County will be installed at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds July 29.

The three quilts will join the Farm Bureau barn quilt, installed last year, on the concrete wall at the main entrance and facing the large parking lot for the fairgrounds.

Each quilt is 4-by-4 feet. Future Farmers of America, the Ashtabula County 4-H program and Ohio State University will be honored by the quilts. The 4-H quilt’s design is by a club member. Peers selected the design from a slate of options presented by other 4-H members in Ashtabula County.

Three more barn quilts will be added to this area of the fairgrounds, where a Farm Bureau barn quilt was installed in 2014,


Second covered bridge gets barn quilt

The Mechanicsville covered bridge became the second in Ashtabula County to sport a barn quilt.

Installation of an 8-by-8-foot BQ was completed the morning of July 16. Jeff Scribben of Artistic Woodworks along with workers from the Ashtabula County Highway Department and volunteers from the steering committee installed the quilt.

Ashtabula_County MechBQ4The barn quilt was painted by Jim and Donna Kujanpaa of Austinburg Township. The Four Winds pattern was selected for the quilt.

The committee plans to place barn quilts on at least three more covered bridges this summer. Next up in South Denmark Road; installation of that quilt has been delayed due to high water levels in Mill Creek this spring and summer.

To learn more about this quilt, please read The Ashtabula Wave.

Ocean Waves promote BQ’s at GOTL

A 6-by-6-foot barn quilt has been installed on the refurbished restroom complex at Chestnut Grove, Geneva-on-the-Lake.

Placement of the quilt was approved by the Barn Quilt Steering Committee as a way to promote the trail to tourists who stay at the lodge or visit GOTL. Visible from routes 531 and 534, the quilt hangs on the east wall of the public restroom facility in Chestnut Grove, part of the Geneva State Park complex. It is located near the very popular bike/walking trail along the lake shore.

Ashtabula County Commissioners secured a grant to have the restroom facility rehabilitated and re-opened. Commissioners granted permission to have the barn quilt installed as a way to both dress up the building and promote the barn quilt.

Jeff Scribben of Artistic Woodworks built, painted and installed the quilt.

Ocean waves site

Blueberry Knoll Quilt dedicated


Kathy McCarty, Barn Quilt Trail co-founder, "says a few words" during the dedication while Karla Gadley looks on.
Kathy McCarty, Barn Quilt Trail co-founder, “says a few words” during the dedication while Karla Gadley looks on.

The barn quilt installed at Blueberry Knoll Farm in Sheffield Township was dedicated June 24, 2015.

Karla Gadley painted the barn quilt to promote the blueberry farm that she and her husband, Dennis, own.
Karla Gadley painted the barn quilt to promote the blueberry farm that she and her husband, Dennis, own.

The quilt is dedicated to the memory of Vernon and Gladys Fuchs, whose farm is now owned by their daughter, Karla Gadley, and her husband, Dennis.

The 4×4-foot barn quilt features a bluebird and was painted by Karla. The farm they live on was once part of a large orchard that spread along this section of Plymouth-Gageville Road. A few of the old trees stand here and there.

The dedication of the quilt was attended by about two dozen guests.
The dedication of the quilt was attended by about two dozen guests.

The Gadleys have a blueberry farm and served blueberry  muffins, cheesecake with blueberry sauce, blueberry dessert pudding and blueberry smoothies to the 25 guests who attended the dedication.

The U-pick berry farm will have blueberries for approximately six weeks this summer. To find out what kind of blueberry is ripe at this time, email Karla.

Thanks to Jim Kujanpaa for sharing his photos of the dedication.

Seven new barn quilts approved under grant

Seven new barn quilts were approved for the Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Trail under a grant program funded by the Civic Development Corporation (CDC).

The purpose of the grant program is to make funds available for 8-by-8-foot quilts on heritage barns. A call for grant applications went out earlier this year and approximately one dozen applications were received. Members of a review subcommittee met May 11 to review the applications and score them according to grant criteria. Businesses were not eligible for the grants, and heritage farms were given priority in the scoring process.

The awards include a Howe Truss covered bridge and six barns.

The quilts must be 8-by-8 feet and installed by September in order to qualify. Specifics will be announced after the successful candidates have been notified. An informational meeting will be held for the successful candidates later this month.

Another round of grant applications will be accepted as not all of the CDC’s grant funds were awarded in this initial offering. Applications can be downloaded here.

The Barn Quilt Steering Committee wishes to thank the CDC’s recognition of the tourism potential of barn quilts and the group’s willingness to fund these grants. We also thank those who made application and congratulates our soon-to-be barn quilt trail members.

Seifert quilt based on great-grandmother’s

Seifert 4A new barn quilt was raised the evening of April 28, but the pattern of the quilt was far from new.

The quilt, raised on the barn of Ted and Virginia “Ginny” Seifert in Austinburg Township, is based upon a fabric quilt that was made by Ginny’s great-grandmother, Emily Cowles.

Barn Quilt Trail co-founder Chris Angerman adapted a section of the quilt to the barn quilt block that was installed on the couple’s Lampson Road barn. Angerman also painted the quilt.

Seifert 2

The installation was done by Ted and his neighbor, Harry Gelding.

The quilt is visible from Lampson Road and also Route 45 as one heads north. It is 4-by-4 feet.

For more information on the quilt and the family, follow this link.

Rack cards are in, distributed

Handsome, colorful rack cards Rack card001that promote Ashtabula County’s Barn Quilt Trail are showing up all over northeast Ohio this spring.

The cards, which feature photographs of several barn quilts and their hosts, were funded by a grant from the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CDC of Ashtabula County provided additional funding for marketing.

A professional distribution company will make sure the cards are always in stock at their card racks that are located inside restaurants, motels, lodges and other tourist attractions in Ashtabula County.

Additionally, the committee is making cards and holders available to businesses that do not have the subscription service’s rack card displays in their businesses. If you are interested in having a card display, please call the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 275-3202, and ask for Jackie.

Nature Conservancy raises two quilts on vintage barns

The Nature Conservancy has raised two new barn quilts on its Morgan Swamp properties near Rock Creek.

A quilt with an original “Lake Effect” design was raised on a snowy day last winter and graces the barn at the conservancy’s campus along the Grand River and accessed from Callender Road.  The most recent of the quilts to be raised went up March 25 on a barn on Footville-Richmond Road. It features a beaver design.

The conservancy purchased the farm because it would expand their holdings in the Morgan Swamp Preserve. The farm was previously owned by the late Eva Heidecker and had been in that family for decades.

Karen Adair of the TNC said the group plans to keep the primary barn, which has the quilt on it, and restore the balance of the property to “a natural condition.”

Adair designed the quilts with input from TNC staff.

Beaver Lodge pattern on The Nature Conservancy's Footville-Richmond Road barn quilt acknowledges the animal's role in creating the Morgan Swamp.
Beaver Lodge pattern on The Nature Conservancy’s Footville-Richmond Road barn quilt acknowledges the animal’s role in creating the Morgan Swamp.
Lake Effect is the name of the barn quilt on The Nature Conservancy’s Grand River Campus.


“The images were based on two of the most iconic characteristics of the Morgan Swamp Preserve,” she said in an email. “The beaver design was inspired by (a) picture I took at the overlook deck platform on Footville Richmond Road, just to the west of the (barn) quilt. Beaver have played and continue to play an important role in shaping the swamps of the Grand River lowlands.

“Similarly, the lake effect snow that Ashtabula receives has an impact on the types of forest communities found in the Grand River lowlands. Many of them, like some found in Morgan Swamp, are more typical of northern climates, so Morgan Swamp represents the southern edge of these more boreal communities’ range,” she wrote.

The quilts were painted by Adair and Nathan Randolph.

The large, former dairy barn, on the Callander Road property was adorned with a barn quilt last winter.
The large, former dairy barn, on the Callander Road property was adorned with a barn quilt last winter.

Adair says TNC was an early adopter of the barn quilt movement in Ohio, starting with the conservancy’s Edge of Appalachia preserve in Adams County, birthplace of the barn quilt movement.

“We see these quilt tours as a great way to participate in our local tourism and get people to know who we are and what we do,” Adair says. “…we do plan to do more all over the state as opportunities arise. If we acquire more barns in Ashtabula County along public roads, I’m sure we’ll try to do more quilts. They are a lot of work, but they’re really fun, too.”


The Moses barn

The Ohio Farmer magazine of May 18, 1907, printed a story about what was then the largest barn in Ashtabula County, built on the farm of William N. Moses of Dorset. If any reader knows what became of this barn, please contact the steering committee.
The following is what Mr. Moses wrote about his barn.

Last fall I finished building a new barn which has attracted a great deal of attention. It as built differently from any barn in the county and perhaps in the state. It is 40 x 60 ft., 9-ft. basement, 18 ft. to plate, and 23 ft. from the top of plate to peak, making the total height 50 ft. It is 41 ft. from hay floor to peak. The barn is only 40 ft. wide but it takes an 18 and a 16 ft. rafter to reach one side of the curb roof. The rafters are the same length except the lower ones have 2 ft. projections. The lower pitch of roof is 2/3, and the upper is between 1/3 and 1/2. Thus, it will be seen why the barn holds so much above the plate.

The truss is the part that is different from other barns. The bottom of truss is only between 3 and 4 ft. wide, so is not out in the way. The whole barn is open, open from peak to floor and from side to side with the exception of a truss 3 or 4 ft. wide and about 4 in. thick. The steel hay track is fastened on collar beams 2×5 spiked to each pair of rafters to about 3 ft. from peak, so the hay falls about 38 ft. to floor.

My floor is matched maple. The barn is all floored except 1/2 of driveways 14×20. I drive in on a level and let the hay fork take the hay up, as it is better than pulling a load up a hill to top of basement. This is where you gain by building on level ground. After haying, I put temporary joists in and rough boards, and run straw in so I have no waste room. The large doors are 14 ft. high so I can run straw carrier on floor easily.

There is a granary in one corner, up above. 14 1/2 x 17 ft., grain spouted below. There are 33 windows and two shutters. The eight transom windows and 15 basement windows are hung so as to swing open for ventilation. The siding is No. 1 yellow pine, matched, and planed on both sides. The roof is red cedar shingles. I made a mistake in not using slate, as I paid $3.60 for shingles and the work of laying them would bring it up to about the price of slate.

The basement is cement under all stock. I also made the bottom of manger in front of cattle rounding so I can pump water in and water them in bad weather. When they are through drinking, I pull out the plug and the water runs through a tile under the wall. The wall is stone up to the top of ground then two rows of barn tile. They are larger than house tile, and have a partition in center.

My fed boxes for cattle are made on side of manger. The manger is hung on iron pins set in 4×4 in. posts and swings up over to feed grain and swings back to form side of manger. No chickens to roost on our feed boxes this way. This barn was built by S. Mellinger of Ashtabula County, who has built several barns after the Shawver plan, and he says it is far ahead of any other truss he ever built.

The estimated cost of the barn, including labor of myself and team, board, etc., was $3,300.00. I also wired the barn after the cage plan for lightning protection, using 70 rods of twisted wire the size of barbed wire, but without the barbs. I used 1/2-in. iron rods, 6 ft. long, for ground rods, 12 in number: also 1/2 in. rods for points, sharpened at the blacksmith shop, four in number. The wire is stapled to the building, no glass being used.

What’s it all about?

An old barn holds many stories; the Barn Quilt Trail is designed to preserve them and honor the heritage of our county.
An old barn holds many stories; the Barn Quilt Trail is designed to preserve them and honor the heritage of our county.

At the heart of Ashtabula County’s Barn Quilt Trail is a celebration of our county’s great agricultural heritage and the farm families who have worked so hard to feed our nation.

For example, did you know that in 1849, Ashtabula County led the state in cheese production. Our cows and dozens of little cheese factories turned out about 25 percent to of the cheese made that year.

We also made a lot of butter here. There was a time the butter from Ohio was so bad it was called “Ohio grease.” But the farmers, fair board and agriculturalists at the state level worked together to raise the quality of our product.

Barns and silos are all we have left of those days when small farms, 10 to 30 milking cows, provided their contribution to the county’s fame. The Barn Quilt Trail Steering Committee is committed to saving these heritage barns by offering grants of up to $500 per barn for new, 8-by-8-foot barn quilts. Steering committee members will soon be fanning out across the county in search of these barns and talking to owners. We want to add at least a dozen heritage barns to our trail this year. Will you help by nominating a barn? Simply send us an email and we’ll make the contact.



Ashtabula County, Ohio, barn quilt trail with more than 100 quilts