In 2001, a quilter named Donna Sue Groves painted a quilt on her barn in Ohio to honor her mother, also a quilter. Next, she persuaded others in her town to paint quilt squares on their barns. People began to drive around to see them, and a tourist project was born.
The idea spread, and by 2014 reached the North Country. A grassroots effort in the town of Hammond to establish a barn quilt trail has inspired other North Country towns to develop their own barn quilt projects.
For the organizers of these projects, heritage tourism projects are a natural economic development tool for challenged rural communities.
A documentary about this movement was produced by TAUNY in 2016.
The barn quilts shown here are painted on wood squares designed for outdoor use.