As it turns out, the first barn quilt was an Ohio Star, painted on a barn in 2001. You can read the story and see some pictures right here. Suzi's own website Barn Quilt Info goes into more history of the barn quilt movement. Quoting Suzi's website:
"I'm often told that barn quilts must be part of the wonderful Amish quilting heritage or that they came to America from some European tradition. Although both of those theories are interesting and have been published from time to time, they just are not based in fact.How can I be so certain? The answer is a rather simple one. No one has been able to document the location of a painted quilt square that existed prior to the Ohio Star that was painted in Adams County, Ohio in 2001. Donna Sue Groves' idea continues to inspire folks across the country to join what has become the largest grassroots public arts movement in our history."
Clicking on the link above will take you to Suzi's website, and you can see an interactive map that shows barn quilt trails all over the continental United States, including the one the Westside Guild has started. You can see our barn quilt progress right here. Suzi informed us that some 8,000 barn quilts now exist in the continental United States, including all 48 of the lower states, except Nevada. Nevada quilters: I think you have your work cut out for you.