BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
There are special splashes of color all around Ottawa County these days, with 27 original barn quilts adorning rural barns. They are the result of local artists and sponsors, as well as appreciative barn owners, who have teamed up to present the unique Ottawa County Barn Quilt Trail.
Some of the barn quilts are easy to find. The “Sunbonnet Sue” barn quilt was attached to Norma Kihlken’s barn at 1450 S. Danbury Road in Danbury Township last Saturday. It is a road that receives a great deal of Vacationla
nd traffic from the Route 269 exit of Route 2 all year round, but especially during the warm weather months.
“Sunbonnet Sue” was painted by Rhonda Biedlingmaier, a very prolific artist who is back in her home town of Oak Harbor. Biedlingmaier is one of the driving forces of the Ottawa County Barn Quilt Trail, a partnership of the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council (GPCAAC) and the Ohio StateUniversity Extension’s Ottawa County 4-H.
Many of the 27 barn quilts are on rural barns, and to encourage people to tour Ottawa County’s rural highways and byways, the Ottawa County Barn Quilt Trail will publish a brochure this year that will list all of the quilt locations, and information about the trail.
Biedlingmaier deserves a lot of the credit for the success of the quilt trail, said Chair Carol Morgan and Marcia Jess of GPCAAC. Biedlingmaier has rounded up volunteers, help to find sponsors and, most importantly, has a special crew and equipment available to hang the big, wood barn quilts.
The two men and a machine that were hanging the quilts on Saturday morning were extremely efficient, and had a sleek cherry picker lift truck to place the barn quilt quickly under the direction of the group’s volunteers. They took pride in their work, but did not want to give their names.
“We’re so lucky to have them,” said Biedlingmaier, revealing they lived near her Oak Harbor family farm. “We also have generous sponsors, who donate $250 or more for each quilt, which covers the cost of materials, paint and other supplies.”
Biedlingmaier has created 16 of the 27 quilts. One of her most recent, “Sunbonnet Sue,” is also a favorite.
“Marcia Jess and I got the ball rolling in June 2017,” said Biedlingmaier. “It’s really been a labor of love.”
The first barn quilt was “Stars in the Attic,” created by the 4-H Junior Leadership Club and sponsored by Ottawa County 4-H. The quilt still hangs on the Damschroder Barn at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds on Route 163, just north of Oak Harbor.
The Barn Quilt Trail is designed to beautify rural area barns, increase tourism in those areas, and pay homage to farmers and farmers wives, said Biedlingmaier.
“Farmers wives are the people who actually created unique cloth quilts, a very time consuming task passed down from grandmothers to mothers and daughters over the years,” she said.
A former farm girl who returned to Oak Harbor to care for elderly parents, Biedlingmaier graduated from Oak Harbor High School and is still an avid Rockets sports fan.
The Ottawa County Barn Quilt Trail will soon have its brochure and listing of barn quilts around the county available, said Jess, printed through the courtesy of Real Living Morgan Realty Group. It will be available around the county, at Chambers of Commerce and at the Lake Erie Shores & Islands tourism offices.
Ottawa County Barn Quilt Trail
- Quilt: Stars in the Attic
Painter/Sponsor: 4-H Leadership Club/Ottawa County 4-H
Location: Ottawa County Fairgrounds/Damschroder Barn, Oak Harbor
- Quilt: Rings and Things
Painter/Sponsor: Ohio Star Quilters/Greater Port Clinton Area Artists
Location: Alan & Kim Diefenthaler Barn, 5805 N. Elliston Trowbridge Rd., Martin
- Quilt: Wedding Ring
Painter/Sponsor: Carroll 4-H Club & Mensing Family/Ottawa County 4-H
Location: Mark & Amy Apple Barn, 2325 N. Benton Carroll Rd., Oak Harbor
- Quilt: Voiliers
Painter/Sponsor: Country Slickers 4-H/Chet’s Place-Mary Provonsha
Location: Chet’s Place Barn, 7150 W. Harbor Rd., Port Clinton
- Quilt: Four Winds
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Jim & Molly Sass
Location: Jim & Molly Sass Barn, 7150 W. Harbor Rd., Port Clinton
- Quilt: Star of Many Colors
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Paul & Connie Sandwisch
Location: Paul & Connie Sandwisch Barn, 17402 Rt. 163, Graytown
- Quilt: Wild Irish
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Port Clinton Artist Club
Location: Art (Bill) & Nancy Kihlken, 72785 E. Bayshore Rd., Marblehead
- Quilt: Egg Basket
Painter/Sponsor: Andrea Castillo Wells, Shannon Castillo, Art Castilloe/Gloria Castillo
Location: Art Castillo Barn, 5791 W. Fremont Rd., Port Clinton
- Quilt: Ohio Star
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/PortageMohawks 4-H Club
Location: Randy Miller Barn, 2794 Rt. 19, Oak Harbor
- Quilt: My Four Sons
Painter/Sponsor: Mary Wood/Richard & Mary Wood
- Quilt: Mariner’s Compass
Painter/Sponsor: Mary Wood/Richzrd & Mary Wood
Location: Richard & Mary Wood Barn, 17405 W. Elliston Rd., Graytown
- Quilt: Compass Rose
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/R.J. Runge Co., Rick Runge
Location: NEC Properties Inc., 3539 NE Catawba Rd/. Port Clinton
Quilt: Sampler Square
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Whipple Farms
Location: Jerry Whipple Farm, 3988 N. Lickert Harder Rd., Graytown
- Quilt: Harvest Star
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Mary Caracci
Location: Blakely Barn, 2608 N. Toussaint Portage Rd., Oak Harbor
- Quilt: 54-40 or Fight
Painter/Sponsor: OSU Extension Ottawa County/OSU Extension
Location: Rob Booher Barn, 3320 N. Lickert Harder Rd., Graytown
- Quilt: The Four Sisters
Painter/Sponsor: West End Bunch 4-H Club/Robert Textor Family
Location: Bob & Ann Textor Barn, 6725 N. Gillman Rd., Curtice
- Quilt: Ohio Star with Geese
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Ron &n Jan Overmyer
Location: Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Barn, 14000 Rt. 2, Oak Harbor
- Quilt: Labrynth Star
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Port Clinton Rotary
Location: Ann & Jeff Scott Barn, 1355 N. Carroll Erie Rd., Port Clinton
- Quilt: Friendship Star
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Brough Family
Location: Ed & Judy Dewitz, 10375 W. Gensman Rd., Oak Harbor
- Quilt: Double Square
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Shirley Beck
Location: Shirley Beck Barn, 8601 W. Mudcreek Rd., Pak Harbor
- Quilt: Three in One
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Shirley Beck
Location: Shirley Beck Barn, 2375 Rt. 19, Oak Harbor
- Quilt: Morning Blossom
Painter/Sponsor: Mary Wood/Tony & Ann Valasek
Location: Tony & Ann Valasek Barn, 2100 N. Opfer-Lentz Rd., Martin
- Quilt: Mariner’s Compasas
Painter/Sponsor: Emma Trainer/Trainer Family
Location: Jeff & Andrea Trainer Family, 21267 W. Holts East Rd., Genoa
- Quilt: Floating Point
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Doug & Linda Huber
Location: Bernard Knoble Barn, 469 Church Rd., Danbury Twp.
- Quilt: Tree of Life
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Elaine Gardner
Location: Darry & Diane Traver Barn, 24091 Rt. 579 Millbury
- Quilt: Star Mariner
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Tom & Marilyn Reidman
Location: Tom & Marilyn Reidman, Reiman Road, Genoa
- Quilt: Sunbonnet Sue
Painter/Sponsor: Rhonda Biedlingmaier/Norma Kihlken
Location: Norma Kihlken Barn, 1450 S. Danbury Rd., Port Clinton