The history of barn decoration dates back to the mid 1800's.
Painting symbols on barns originated from traditional folk art passed along from the German and Swiss immigrants who settled the Pennsylvania Dutch region in southeastern Pennsylvania. Once these groups including Lutherans, Moravians, Mennonites and other Christian reformists, built their family farms and communities, they would paint small patterns on their barns to celebrate their heritage and bring good fortune. Originally these patterns were simple stars, compass roses, or stylized birds from traditional folk art.
Today's barn decorating revival became popular with a woman named Donna Sue Groves, from Adams County, Ohio. She wanted to honor her mother by hanging a colorful painted quilt square on her barn. Instead of just one quilt square, she began a community project with twenty quilts being displayed along a driving trail to encourage visitors to travel through the countryside. This was the start of our first quilt trail in America. Quilt trails are now being organized all across the country. Barn quilts are displayed around communities and then mapped out for tourist to follow these amazing works of art. They promote tourism and help draw visitors into our rural communities. Traditional stars and various quilt patterns are now being displayed on barns, homes, sheds and sides of buildings. They are also put on posts and displayed in yards and parks.