Old barn gets facelift

Mary Atkinson · Friday, June 28, 2013
The 93-year-old barn located at the West Liberty depot and museum received a colorful face lift last week when a couple volunteers put up a barn quilt design picked by the Bob and Geri Owen family of West Liberty.

Geri Owen said the idea originated from her daily bike rides to work on the Hoover Nature Trail which runs from the depot to Highway 6.

"I loved that they moved that barn on that property and I always thought it would just make me smile if I could see a barn quilt on that barn," she said. "So I talked to my family to see if we could do that as a family project and everybody thought that was a good idea."

Gwen said she talked to Ken Ruegsegger who gave her some designs from which to choose.

Barn quilts are becoming a trend in the Midwest. Donna Sue Groves of Ohio has a goal of creating a National Quilt Barn Trail, a project that started years ago when her mom, an avid quilter, passed away.

The practice began over 300 years ago when immigrants from Germany, such as the Amish and the Mennonites, settled in Pennsylvania and began decorating their barns with geometrical patterns from quilt squares. Many had special meanings like success, wealth and happiness.

Owen said her design symbolizes several things about the community.

"I liked it because we use the primary colors - blue, red and yellow and then the green corners to me mean agriculture. I was thinking all the primary colors for all the children in community and the green is for a lot of us who make our living off the land."

Owen said she read that if you are going to do your first barn quilt it is best not to use a pattern with curves.

"So we were trying to find a pattern that was pretty basic and had a lot of straight lines," she said. "We settled on that one and then we took several weekends and the family came together and just painted it."

Although her family has no personal connection to the barn, she still thought the barn quilt would be a nice addition.

"I just like that it's there," Owen said.

The barn quilt and the North Point Cabin sign are the latest additions to the depot and museum grounds.

"The rest will be a surprise for the community," Ken Ruegsegger said.

Ruegsegger is on the board of the West Liberty Heritage Foundation and West Liberty's 175 Anniversary Committee.
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