If you thought quilts only belonged on beds, you’d be surprised by the barns of Calhoun County.
More than 90 “quilts” are painted on the sides of barns in Calhoun County north of Alton, and this weekend a self-guided driving tour can offer some unusual sights.
The tour will include stops at historic farms featuring old barns and quilts painted on the structures. At least two farms will also host tours, with food and craft vendors, exhibits and a “barn quilt in progress” on display.
Barn quilts have been increasingly popular since the turn of this century, according to the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, but their history goes back to the 1800s when paint became readily available and affordable. Some quilt blocks have a particular meaning and history, according to the bureau, and since the popularity of barn quilts has begun to rise, there are now quilt trails throughout the U.S., according to the bureau.
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The tour includes the village of Hamburg, where two barn quilts can be seen; the Shaw Homestead, which has a log home dating back to 1822 that is currently under restoration; and more.
The Barn Quilt Trail map is available for sale at the Calhoun Visitor Center in Brussels; the Calhoun Historical Society in Hardin; and the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call the Calhoun Visitor Center at 883-2032.