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Know Your Wisconsin: Barn Quilt Tours

(WKOW) — 17 counties in central and southern Wisconsin offer Barn Quilt tours.

In Shawano county it all started when Jim and Irene Leuenberger saw their first barn quilt while taking day trips across the Midwest.

“In June of 2010, I came home one day and I told my wife, Irene, that I was going to see if I could get a barn quilt project going here in Shawano County,” Jim Leuenberger said.

Taking his idea to 4-H leaders in the county, Jim partnered with eight local chapters to create barn quilts for 4-H projects. Jim then shared his plan with the local Chamber of Commerce.

Those first few quilts gained a lot of interest and soon more and more people were clamoring for quilts.

“We’ve certainly seen a lot of traffic coming into our visitor center; lots of phone calls, lots of groups looking for quilts to view.”

The quilts have sparked tourism and most chambers have created maps showing the locations of the barn quilts.

“It’s very costly to maintain these old structures, and people have literally put on new roofs, have done new siding, painting and landscaping and cutting trees and all of these things just to really show off their quilt.”

From Shawano County down to Green County there are plenty barn quilts dotting the landscape.

“It’s just honoring agriculture and the heritage of the farmers, and maybe if their grandmothers or mothers were quilter just putting it all together, and it’s just an art form, and I guess we’re kind of advertising dairy.”

“I hope it brings some awareness to the AG community. I mean, people are so removed from it anymore; they don’t realize what it takes to do anymore and the things that we need to have happen in order to be profitable and be able to maintain our businesses.”

So, if you’re traveling through Wisconsin take some time to appreciate the view.


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