Barn Again

Several years ago, the Starke County Tourism Commission, with help from the Historical Society and the County Extension Office, received a grant from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. through the Indiana Humanities Council to photograph the barns in Starke County. Only a few of the 92 counties in Indiana received this type of grant. We probably didn’t find every barn, but, as I remember, we did photograph about 450 of the barns, corn cribs, windmills, and out-houses in Starke County. These can be seen on our website — — and then click on Barns Again in the center of the page.

Hundreds of people viewed the Smithsonian Barn Exhibit at the Schricker Library in Knox. The Calico Quilt Club had a display of Quilts about barns and school children made beautiful drawings of barns and displayed them in the libraries in the county.

Because of this effort by the Smithsonian, many of the old barns in the United States have been saved and restored. In many states, people have started putting quilt patterns on their barns. Indiana has several counties that are doing this. Marshall County has a tour of their barn quilts. So does Randolph County, with 22 quilts already installed on barns and 27 more ready to go.

I only know of three barns that have quilt patterns on them in Starke County. I have attached a photo of mine. Grandfather built our barn in 1902. He died a month before I was born, so I never knew him except in articles and what was passed down from my father. So, this fall, with the help of my children, we put his name on the old barn, then we also added a quilt pattern. If you know of other barns (or other buildings) in the county with quilt patterns, please let me know. Maybe Starke County could have a barn quilt tour, also.

Jim Shilling
Starke County Historical Society