Remember the “Ohio’s Bicentennial 1803 ♥ 2003” emblem that was painted on the side of 88 historic Ohio barns — one in every county of the state — to commemorate Ohio’s bicentennial in 2003?
A similarly creative campaign was established in 2006 to celebrate Champaign County’s agricultural heritage, its history, and the art of quilting. Over 80 different large patchwork quilt block designs were designed, painted and hung on the sides of barns and other buildings in the county. The barn quilts used to be featured in an annual tour hosted by the Champaign County Chamber & Visitors Bureau, but now visitors can see the quilts year-round on a self-guided driving tour.
Some of the locations for the barn quilts are a 200-year-old family farm where maple syrup and sugar are made from 20 acres of maple trees; a 100-year-old Holstein dairy farm; the state’s largest indoor fish hatchery; Piatt Castles, the two historic limestone mansions known as Mac-A-Cheek and Mac-O-Chee; and the Robert Rothschild Farm, the 170-acre working raspberry farm and production facility on U.S. Route 36 where award-winning gourmet preserves, mustards, dips, sauces and sweet toppings are produced.
The quilt designs aren’t just limited to barns. You can also find them on the sides of the Rosewood Grocery and Deli on S.R. 29, the Champaign Family YMCA and the Champaign County Fairgrounds. “Flying Geese” marks the corporate office of Champaign Residential Services, an organization helping people with challenges to develop their independence.
Some of the featured quilt patterns include “Corn & Beans,” “Hens & Chicks,” “Windmill,” “Carpenter’s Wheel,” “Liberty Star,” “Ohio Star,” “Martha Washington,” “Gentleman’s Fancy,” “Maple Leaf,” “Lone Star,” “Mariner’s Compass,” “Williamsburg Circle,” “Log Cabin” and “Ohio Rose Star,” at the High Street Manor Bed & Breakfast in Urbana.
There’s also a “Chapman’s Apple” barn quilt at Urbana University, but that’s a story for another blog post.
Information and maps for locations of the barn quilts are available at the Champaign County Chamber & Visitors Bureau’s office at 107 N. Main St. in Urbana. Contact the office at 937-653-5764 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a map of the quilts and a list of other things to do in Champaign County while you’re visiting.
If you have children, or if you’re an adult following the trend of coloring for relaxation, coloring pages of four barn quilt designs are also available on the photos section of the Barn Quilt Tour Facebook page.