MINEOLA - An 8-foot by 8-foot quilt painted on two sheets of professional sign board is bringing new life and attention to a century-old barn on a rural Mineola farmstead owned by Randy and Lisa Tallman.
The quilt was painted by Lisa Tallman’s mother, Gloria Plumer Ross.
“This was the first barn quilt she’s painted,” Tallman said. “She said the hardest part was taking a 7-inch square pattern and converting it to 8 feet by 8 feet. My husband, Randy, attached the quilt to the barn. He then painted over all the screws so you don’t notice them.
“We’ve received numerous compliments. What is kind of funny is that when people ask who painted it and I say Mom did, they think she crawled up there and painted it on the barn.”
Barn quilts, Tallman said, have become somewhat of a trend in rural America in recent years. The first barn quilt was displayed in Ohio a few years ago and interest has grown from there.
“In Iowa, many barns are falling into disrepair and they are very expensive to repair,” Tallman said. “This is a way to showcase those magnificent structures and add a little art. Many of the quilt block patterns are as old or older than the barns. I think Mills County could easily get a barn quilt project started. We are close to the Omaha-Council Bluffs area and it could possibly add tourism dollars to our county.”
The LeMoyne Star hanging on the Tallman’s barn is among the oldest known quilt patterns, dating back to the early 17th Century. It’s named after Paris artist Jean-Louise LeMoyne, whose cousins, Pierre and Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, founded the city of New Orleans. The LeMoyne Star pattern was for the inlays in the palace of Versailles, Tallman pointed out.
“From the palace of Versailles to an Iowa barn,” she added. “Who would have thought that was possible?”
The barn and farm has been in Tallman’s family since near the end of the Great Depression, originally purchased by her great-grandfather Joe Roenfeldt. Her father, Elwood Plumer, along with his parents and sister, moved onto the farm in 1939. The barn holds sentimental meaning to Tallman and her family.
“My father and mother were married in 1961 and moved here, so, my brother, sister and I were all raised here,” she said. “The barn is significant because of great memories. It’s where we all learned to work with livestock. It is where we raised our 4-H hogs. It is where I witnessed my first live swine birth (12 piglets). It is where my son raised his 4-H lambs and poultry.
“I received a basketball hoop and backboard for my 10th birthday and we spent numerous hours shooting hoops in the hay mow.”
The barn is located approximately one mile east of Mineola on Barrus Road and is visible to passing motorists.