Exploring History via Quilt Art: Tualatin Valley’s Quilt Barn Trail
The nostalgia, heritage and history of Tualatin Valley is illustrated by the barns and buildings that make up the Quilt Barn Trail of Washington County. The trail is made up of nearly 60 hand-painted wood blocks affixed to barns and buildings in rural Tualatin Valley. Each block has been hand-painted in traditional quilt patterns, often telling a story about the farm where it’s located. The patterned blocks along the trail highlight the valley’s agricultural and historical heritage, while creating accessible public art and showcasing the art of quilting.
The Stories of the Quilt Barns
A 1940s-era barn serves as the ideal location for the “Crossed Canoes” quilt block, located at Browns Ferry Park (5855 SW Nyberg Lane, Tualatin). Behind the barn is the peaceful Tualatin River, and the boat launch is nearby.
In the early 1900s, the Sears catalog was the go-to place to order whatever you needed…including your home. This long-gone era is commemorated by the quilt block at Taghon Century Farm (1645 NW Cornelius-Shefflin Road, Cornelius). The property includes several buildings from the original farm, as well as the Sears Modern Home.
Blooming Junction Nursery (35105 NW Zion Church Road, Cornelius; bloomingjunction.com/ wp) celebrates the art of the flower with the “Black-Eyed Susan” block. Visit the nursery for an up-close look at the farm’s many colorful flowers.
The owners of A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery (5195 SW Hergert Road, Cornelius; abloominghillvineyard.com) celebrate their New York roots with a “New York Beauty” block. This colorful block is among the most unique on the trail, plus you can visit the tasting room and sample some of their Oregon wines.
Birds are given their due at Unger Place (10300 NW Gordon Road, Cornelius) with the quilt block “Tweet Sanctuary,” named for the site’s cedar trees that attract lots of birds, especially the red-winged blackbird, which is commemorated on the block.
Woodpeckers also get the quilt block treatment at the Davidson Farm (16511 NW Davidson Road, Banks). Designed by local artist Allison Rogers, the block, titled “Pileated Woodpeckers” adorns the barn on this century-old farm.
The bright “Sunflower” quilt block at Sun Gold Farm (9500 NW Evers Road, Forest Grove; sungoldfarm.com) perfectly illustrates the vibrancy of this farm, which grows and markets vegetables, fruits and nuts.
The “Double Wedding Ring” block is prominently displayed at Plum Hill Vineyards (6505 Sw Old Highway 47, Gaston; plumhillwine.com). This romantic pattern has been around since the 1920s, and is used here to commemorate the marriage of the property’s owners.
The Oregon Trail is an ongoing theme for some of the quilt blocks. The “Hovering Hawks” block at the Simpson Century Farm (31535 SW Simpson Road, Cornelius) pays homage to the pattern created by women crossing the Oregon Trail. The “Eight-Pointed Star” at 2476 SW Old Highway 47 in Forest Grove, also inspired by the Oregon Trail, as well as the “Covered Wagon” at 3150 NW Thatcher Road in Forest Grove, in honor of the farm’s owner’s great-grandfather who came westward along the Oregon Trail.