Barn quilt hoisted at Kansas historical museum |

Barn quilt hoisted at Kansas historical museum

Amy Hadachek
For the Republic County Historical Society Museum
Swedish Bloom quilt block pattern, just painted by Karen Lewis of Belleville, Kan., is readied to be hoisted on July 6. Before he climbed aboard his hoist truck, Brian Isaacson of Apple One Media, left, and Peter Dahl prepared the enormous quilt block board to be lifted on a crane to the top of the recently restored bright red barn at the Republic County Historical Society Museum in Belleville.
Fence Post courtesy photo |

It was no easy feat hoisting a barn quilt atop a large, restored barn on the grounds of a historical museum.

But the barn quilt was successfully added to the Republic County Historical Society Museum in Belleville, Kan., on July 6. It took two staggering bucket trucks to get the job done. A crowd of museum supporters and members lined up in their vehicles to watch Apple One Media’s 65-foot bucket truck and its 50-foot crane/digger truck, equipped with a portable torch and welder, hoist the hand-painted barn quilt. Apple One Media is a printing business in Belleville that used its trucks to hoist the barn quilt.

After attaching the crane to the quilt that lay on a flatbed truck, Brian Isaacson and Peter Dahl prepared it for the lift. Dahl was responsible for the coats of finish to protect the barn quilt from weathering. Operating the crane digger truck, Isaacson, the owner of Apple One, glided the crane which lifted the barn quilt. Meanwhile, inside the truck’s bucket, Travis Weatherhead and Jake Williams, both Apple One employees, synchronized their ascent to the top of the barn with the crane, and secured the barn quilt to the bright red-tinned barn.

The quilt pattern is “Swedish Bloom” with a Dala horse in the center. It was painted by Karen Lewis of Belleville, Kan., who volunteered to paint the barn quilt. Lewis enjoyed working on the 8-by-8 foot barn quilt

“Painting the barn quilt gives me a different media for quilting. I was excited for the opportunity to contribute to the museum and the community,” Lewis said. “I think the museum is such a great asset to the community.”

The pattern was selected by the Langston family of Courtland, Kan., in honor of the Swedish background of their grandfather, Arvid Larson and his family who owned the barn. Later, the barn was owned by Paul and Beverly Freeman of Courtland, Kan., who donated it to the museum three years ago. The barn was subsequently relocated and moved almost 30 miles across U.S. 36 from Courtland to the museum grounds in Belleville.

Earlier this year, the barn’s rustic exterior was restored with a bright red tin overlay by Jack Gritten of Scandia, Kan. The barn retained its original rustic wood interior.

“The history of quilt blocks on barns is centuries old. Our quilt block reflecting the Swedish heritage of the donors of the barn to our museum site plays homage to the impact of immigration in our county,” said Nancy Holt, president of the Republic County Historical Society Museum. “We hope this block will bring good luck and prosperity to our property.” In addition to the barn, the museum grounds also offers a log cabin, railroad motor car and caboose, one-room schoolhouse, 1904 restored church, smokehouse, massive agriculture implement building, blacksmith shop and the main museum building, which features numerous historical artifacts and a genealogy library to help people trace their Republic County roots.

— Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in north central Kansas and is also a meteorologist and storm chaser. She can be reached at


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