Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pioneer Bluffs joins the American Barn Quilt Trail

As Printed in the Emporia Gazette, June 15, 2012

The largest public art project in the nation has arrived in Chase County with the creation of “Pioneer Star,” a barn quilt at Pioneer Bluffs near Matfield Green.

The American Barn Quilt Trail includes more than 3,000 barn quilts, inviting visitors to travel the countryside to enjoy barn quilt art. With “Pioneer Star” at Pioneer Bluffs, Chase County joins Franklin County as the only two Kansas counties to feature barn quilts.

“Pioneer Star” is the dream of two Pioneer Bluffs volunteers, Susan Sauble Hague, board president, and Elaine Jones, advisory board member. “Pioneer Bluffs was a natural choice for the project,” said Jones. “The barn quilt will introduce people to the rural traditions of this ranch.”

“I’ve known about the barn quilt trail for several years, and since I’m a quilter I was curious about it,” said Hague. “A good friend and I talked often about taking a trip to see some parts of the quilt trail in the East since there were none (at that time) in Kansas.” Hague said when she shared her dream with Jones, “things just sort of snowballed, and Elaine and I made it happen. We named our block ‘Pioneer Star’ in honor of the pioneers who settled here.”

“Selecting the colors was great fun,” said Jones about the design process. “Susan thinks in fabric and I in paint, so she made a fabric square and I made about 14 little watercolor examples which we taped up on a wall. Susan then translated the small design we selected to the large-scale panels.” When it came time to position the 8-foot-square quilt on the barn, “we chose the side that was the best view, coming from the south on Kansas Scenic Byway 177 overlooking a long stone wall, historic to the property.”

The iconic barn at Pioneer Bluffs was built in 1915 by Henry and Maud Sauble Rogler and is part of Pioneer Bluffs Historic District, a classic early 1900s ranch headquarters on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Pioneer Star” can be viewed during daylight hours. Pioneer Bluffs, including The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. For information, contact Lynn Smith, executive director, at (620) 753-3484 or lynn@pioneerbluffs.org.

Pioneer Bluffs is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve history, respect the land, and engage community. Pioneer Bluffs is located one mile north of Matfield Green or 15 miles south of Cottonwood Falls on Flint Hills National Scenic Byway K-177.


Lazy T - Barn Quilt Unveiled

Riley County’s First Barn Quilt to be unveiled Friday, Schoolchildren Invited Free

On Friday, October 19, 2012 at 10 a.m., the Lazy T Ranch near Manhattan will unveil the first-ever barn quilt in Riley County. Barn quilts are quilt square designs which are painted on wooden sheets and then affixed to barns. “There is growing interest in barn quilts across the country,” said Chris Wilson, co-owner of the Lazy T Ranch. “Our barn quilt design is taken from a quilt that was quilted by my great-great-grandmother.” This barn quilt will be attached to the ranch's historic stone and wood barn. The painting of the barn quilt was done by Ralph Fontenot, an art teacher at Lee Elementary School in Manhattan, to support creation of a Flint Hills barn quilt trail. “In appreciation of this work done by a Manhattan art teacher, we are opening the ranch a day early for our Fall Festival and inviting Manhattan-area school students to come in free,” Wilson said. Admission to the Fall Festival is free from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. In the afternoon, Manhattan-area students will be admitted free with a paid adult.

The Lazy T Ranch Fall Festival will be open for regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Cheryl Collins of the Riley County Historical Society will be speaking about the Forces Shaping Riley County. For more information, go to www.lazytfallfestival.com.

Ag Heritage Park Joins The American Barn Quilt Trail

Ag Heritage Park has been added to The American Barn Quilt Trail, with a pair of barn
quilt blocks displayed on the main museum building in Alta Vista. The blocks, “Home
Treasure” pattern, were painted by quilt artist Susan Kesl of Milford, who not only
loves painting quilt block art, but loves quilting as well. Susan chose the pattern and the
red, white and blue color theme especially for Ag Heritage Park to be truly Americana,
depicting true rural heritage. Ag Heritage Park is all about preserving rural Kansas
heritage. The pair of barn quilt blocks were donated to honor ag heritage by Chase Kesl,
Grantville, Friend of Ag Heritage Park.

Dedication of the Ag Heritage Park Barn Quilt Blocks
Barn quilt blocks, the largest public art project in the nation was introduced to
Wabaunsee County, Kansas, September 22, 2012, during Alta Vista’s Old Settler’s Day
celebration at Ag Heritage Park, 103 South Main. Wabaunsee County joins Chase and
Franklin counties as the only three Kansas counties to feature barn quilt blocks on Suzi
Parron’s, American Barn Quilt Trail at www.barnquiltinfo.com.

The American Barn Quilt Trail includes more than 3,000 barn quilts, covering 27 states,
inviting visitors to travel the countryside to enjoy barn quilt art.

Ag Heritage Park becomes the forerunner, introducing a trail that showcases rural areas
of the Flint Hills of Kansas, highlighting farms, ranches, crops and livestock while
educating the public of the importance of agriculture economically and historically to the
area. You may find more information about barn quilt blocks and Ag Heritage Park at

Ag Heritage Park’s barn quilt block artist, Susan Kesl, also painted and installed a barn
quilt block on her family farm near Palmer, in Washington County, Kansas, this past
March. This block also is scheduled to be added to the American Barn Quilt Trail, and
become part of the proposed Kansas Flint Hills Barn Quilt Trail.

The “Home Treasure” barn quilt blocks may be viewed during daylight hours. Ag
Heritage Park is open to the public mostly by appointment, by calling 785-482-
3865, 620-767-2715 or 620-767-2714. You may follow the Park’s activities at
AgHeritagePark.com and Facebook.

Ag Heritage Park is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve history, and
educate the public with a complete rendition display of early ag life. Ag Heritage Park is
located on the southern edge of Alta Vista, just 15 miles south of Manhattan or 12 miles
north of Council Grove.

Quilt Trail Now Being Organized

Kansas Flint Hills Barn Quilt Trail 

Drive through the countryside anywhere in Rural America and you will most likely come across many barns. They drape the landscape in many designs, colors and architecture.  Some barns are painted to display advertisements. Years ago a woman named Donna Sue Groves, from Adams County, Ohio wanted to honor her mother by hanging a colorful painted quilt block on her barn. She soon began a community project in which twenty quilt blocks were displayed along a driving trail to encourage visitors to travel through the countryside. This was the start of the first quilt trail in America. 

According to Suzi Parron who authored Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement, quilt trails are now being organized all across the country.  Quilt blocks are displayed on barns around the countryside and then mapped out for tourists to follow these amazing works of art.  The quilt trails draw visitors into our rural communities as well as promote county-wide pride and showcase agriculture.

Traditional stars and various quilt patterns are now being displayed on barns, homes, sheds and sides of buildings throughout the Flint Hills. They are also put on posts and displayed in yards and parks. The Flint Hills Tourism Coalition is currently developing a Flint Hills Quilt Trail. New participants are welcome to join the trail. If you have a quilt block on a barn or building, or you are interested in displaying a quilt block on a barn or building, and want to become part of the Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail, please contact Connie Larson, Alta Vista Ag Heritage Park, President, at 785-532-8393.