Quilt Barns – of Old Mission Peninsula.

Yesterday, I decided to take a drive along the Old Mission Peninsula which extends in a long finger traveling  north from  Traverse city.


There is water either side of the narrow land mass and at times you drive very close to the shore, first, one side,  and then the next.

Yesterday, was a sunny day and the water was glistening turquoise by the shore.

I think its about 15 miles from Traverse City to the old light house at the very tip. You feel that you are on an Island. An idilic island, green, lush and stunningly beautiful.  Fields of hops, and vineyards remind me of home.


It was when I was at the Light house that I found a pamphlet


Quilt Barn Trail of Old Mission Peninsula.

It states, “Quilts have been made for centuries using cast off clothing, scraps of material, anything that could be sewn together to form a bed-size blanket top. The filler was often an old blanket for warmth. Pioneer women were creative, imaginative  and the original re-cyclers They made patterns with interesting names like Flying Gees, Bear Paw, or  Trip around the World. The Quilting Bee was a community project where women gathered to piece together the quilt.

The Quilts you see on Old Mission barns are chosen and are paid for by the barn owners. They have historical, meaningful and personal significance”

I finished walking around the point where the old light house was situated and then  decided to find some of the barns.

The images below are in and around the light house.


I’m a quilter, I guess it was my responsibility for the afternoon.

The first one I found was the Chown Quilt Barn. It was built in 1870 and is a landmark on the farm. The design from the modified Bears Paw pattern, was taken from a quilt made by the owner’s great grandmother and her sister-in-law.


Its rather difficult to photograph the barns, some of them are a distance off the road and then of course there really isn’t anywhere to safely park the car. This barn was set on a hill of white spring daisies. I stopped by the mailboxes and walked to the road to get my shot. In the mean time, I was observed by a group of goats on the  opposite side of the road, they ran up to the fence and gave me a ‘goat stare’ and an occasional bleat. I talked to them.

The next barn was the 1920 Kroupa family barn. It was purchased by the O’Keefe’s of Chateau Grand traverse. The quilt square represents the strings that fly about the vineyard every fall.

The sun was behind the barn so it was a little difficult to get a good shot.

The Johnson 1909 barn. The quilt is on the South side of the barn and its a Le Moyne star.

In 1699… The first permanent European settlers in the Southeast US were French. The LeMoyne brothers, Pierre LeMoyne, the Sieur d’Iberville, and Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, the Sieur de Bienville, sailed into Mobile Bay in 1699. By 1711, Fort Louis (on the present site of Mobile, Alabama) had been settled as the capital of the French colony known as Louisiana.
“The earliest published date of the LeMoyne star is in a collection of patterns attributed to Joseph Doyle in 1911, according to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. The configuration falls into the category of “Eight-pointed/45 degree Diamond Stars”. Doyle called this pattern “Puritan Star”.”in 1699…

The next barn was the M Johnson Quilt Barn is a saltbox style barn. The quilt square  has a windmill pattern displaying cherries in the middle, the farms primary crop. The barn was built in 1880.


These are only a few of the barns, but the traffic was getting heavier and it was dangerous going slow, watching for the barns out the window so I called it a day. However, I was really happy with what I was able to find.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharon Lee says:

    I love seeing places I’ve never been through your eyes.
    Sharon Lee
    PS: I DID get your Portrait Class at Asilomar in 2016! YEA
    I entered my wolf from the 2015 class at a local show that is currently in progress.

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Sharon, how super… thats great. Hope you get a prize for the wolf. It will be so nice to have you in class again. You guys were a lot of fun.l

  2. Roslyn Holmes says:

    Hello Pam, So glad you decided to do some exploring just fascinating the history behind the barns. Have been looking forward to each post wondering what places and events you capture. Thank you so much for sharing your days. Enjoy the adventure. Best wishes, Ros H

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Pam Holland says:

      Hi Ros, thanks so much… I can’t write every day, but I must admit, I love sharing the wonderful things I see and do each day whether its quilting or photographing.
      Today was amazing, I hope you enjoy the images.

  3. Virginia Stutesman says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful pictures and also adding the comments of each quilt block on the barns you saw! I used to live in Northern Michigan, (50 miles south of the Mighty Mac.)
    I am too old and sickly to travel back to my homeland from Southern California where I had to move to because of my health. The computer has been wonderful to learn more about quilting and other crafts and also to keep in touch with my friends and family. Keep on capturing and creating!

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Virginia, so pleased you can travel with me.

  4. Wendy in Kennewick says:

    What a treat to see such well-kept barns on a glorious day.

  5. Pat Barnes says:

    That looks like an enjoyable drive. So much History along the way.

    1. Pam Holland says:

      It was fun to do and so unexpected so I think I enjoyed it even more.

  6. Diane Kaczmarczyk says:

    Hi Pam

    What a wonderful day you must have had and such lovely photos.
    Were they actually quilts on the barns, or paintings?


    1. Pam Holland says:

      Diane, they were paintings, or murals.

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