A quilt-barn tourism trail has
bloomed in Old Mission Peninsula (Traverse City) in time for fall color season.
This project was conceived of and led by Evelyn Johnson, MBPN Board member and
author of Barns of Old Mission Peninsula (2006). Evie – and friends, during a
ladies-trip, discovered and were inspired by quilt barn tours in other states
and in Alcona Co.
Michigan. This grassroots project brought private, farming, and business barn
owners together to create another reason for a fall color tour –and express
their pride in this lovely place – Old Mission Peninsula.
Ten barns throughout the peninsula now sport painted
quilt block designs that add to the landscape and surprise folks as they drive
or bicycle. As you approach the crest of Carpenter Hill about 1.7 miles out Old
Mission Peninsula on Center Road you see a shiny metal roof of a barn gleaming
about 3 miles off. This is the first quilt barn visible on this twenty-mile long
Quilt Barn Tour.
The quilt designs you will see on Old Mission barns
have been chosen and financed by the barn owners themselves. These images have
historical and personal significance to the barn owners. Some choose traditional
quilt block designs and others created designs that reflect their lives, work,
Brothers Tree Service donated their assistance
lifting and placing quilt panels onto the barns. Eric Olsen, designer and
builder led that effort. In addition to barn owners, individuals, and businesses
within the community, donations and assistance were provided by Behr Paint Co.,
Michigan Barn Preservation Network leadership and staff of the Michigan State
University Museum. They were wonderful help.
Take the Tour
Grand Traverse Winery Barn (owned for many years by
the Kroupa/ Kniss family) now supports a vineyard. Sean O’Keefe selected “Red
Bird” as the quilt pattern because it reminded him of the birds that fly about
the vineyard every fall.
Walter and Mary Johnson’s barn (1880) is a part of a
working cherry farm. It is appropriate that cherries are at the center of the
pattern surrounded by a windmill quilt design. Their location has always been
known to be a windy hill.
Evelyn and Carl Johnson, project directors at: email@example.com
Evelyn is a
MI Barn Preservation Board Member