The concept of barn quilts began with Donna Sue Groves and her wish to honor her mother, Maxine, and her Appalachian heritage by having a painted quilt hung on her barn in Adams County, Ohio.
Her work with the Ohio Arts Council and other community organizations inspired Donna Sue to alter her plan. Rather than creating a personal tribute, she suggested that a “sampler” of twenty quilt squares could be created along a driving trail that would invite visitors to travel through the countryside. A committee of volunteers worked together to both plan the trail and to formulate guidelines as to how the project would be managed. Several barn owners signed on, and the work began.
This simple idea has spread to 48 states and to Canada, and the trail continues to grow. Over 7000 quilts are part of organized trails; dozens more are scattered through the countryside waiting to be discovered.