If you've read some of my other travel journals from Wisconsin, you might know that I have become fascinated with the large 8' x 8' painted quilt squares found hanging on rural barns and buildings throughout Monroe County and other communities that have been organized by the local University of Wisconsin Extension Office.
While driving into Shipshewana, I happened upon a barn quilt or two. What I didn't realize until that evening back at the hotel, LaGrange County (where Shipshewana is located) has an organized Barn Quilt Trail.
According to their marketing brochure (found on the "attractions" rack inside my hotel lobby), there are 37 hand-painted quilt squares or murals to be found in LaGrange County. They boast being one of the largest in the United States, the pamphlet includes a map (with GPS coordinates) and information on each of the quilts found along the trail.
LaGrange County is comprised of seven towns: Howe, LaGrange, Middlebury, Mongo, Topeka, Wolcottville and of course Shipshewana. With several of the quilts being located in Shipshewana or its neighboring towns, I kept my search for quilts limited to the western side of the county.
I found and photographed 12 quilts found at eight different locations. I am sure there were more that I should have been able to locate (like the one in the Yoder Shopping Center in Shipshewana) but I must not have had my quilt radar up when in those areas. In fact, according to the map, there are 14 quilt locations in Shipshewana . . . and I only got to 5 of them!
One of the more interesting barns along the LaGrange Trail is at the Prough Farm. It is also known as the Brown Swiss Dairy Barn, and if you check out the photo posted with this story, you'll know why. As for the barn, it was built more than 100 years ago and is the only polygonal barn built in Indiana out of something other than wood as the walls of the barn were made out of hand-poured cement. As the cement hardened, the interior wooden boards were placed. Considering this was done without the use of machines or other equipment, you can imagine just how labor intensive the construction of this barn was. Today, it stands in great shape and is a photo op for visitors traveling east out of Shipshewana.
Attached to this story are photos of the following quilts:
LaGrange: "Air Castle"
LaGrange: "Belgian Draft Horse"
Shipshewana: "8 Pointed Star" & "Flower Basket"
Shipshewana: "Center Diamond in the Square"
Shipshewana: "Autumn Splendor"
Shipshewana: "Mariners Compass" & "Big Dipper"
Shipshewana: "Dutchman's Puzzle" & "Yankee's Puzzle"
Topeka: "Mexican Star" & "Night & Noon"
So if you find yourself out driving around the Amish communities of LaGrange County Indiana, I'd encourage you to be on the look out for these wonderful expressions of creativity and art.