Tourism in Washington County

May 6, 2014

Washington, Iowa


To the Editor:


As co-chairman of the Washington County Barn Quilt Committee, I have been asked many times since beginning the project in 2007, if we have any idea of the increase in visitors to our county due to the Barn Quilt Project. Unfortunately this is something hard to determine. We have seen several bus tours visit our county in the past but we have no way of knowing how many people just visit on their own. I want to share a recent incident where this happened.

We live on Highway 92 just east of West Chester. We own a herd of Belted Buelingo Cattle or what some people like to call Oreo Cookie Cows. We also have a barn quilt on our machine shed designed to represent our cattle out in the pasture. Coming home one afternoon last week I noticed a pickup parked along the road next to where the cattle and calves were grazing. Two couples were in it. As I got closer, it turned around and parked in front of the machine shed. Being curious I stopped and asked if they were lost. The reply was, ?Oh, no, we are on a barn quilt tour.? When I asked where they were from they said Hazelton, Minn.

How do people find us? Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we produce a countywide brochure which shows the location, name of block and address of all the blocks. It is available at the Chamber and the brochure rack in the Library. We also have a Facebook page and a Web site which is currently under reconstruction ? www.barnquiltsiowa.com. And most importantly we have word of mouth.

If you haven?t already done so, I urge you to take the tour yourself. It is a great way to entertain family and out-of-town guests.

Contrary to the belief of some, we do have tourism in Washington County. It may not be big and flashy, but it is there. Ask any barn quilt owner and I bet they will tell a similar tale. As for the numbers ? who knows?

Julie Mangold


Washington County Barn Quilt