Two of them celebrate the life and times of a great Congressman from the village. Another celebrates the history of an institution. Two mark reposes for relics from the Victorian era.
The barn quilts of Jefferson Village, the county seat, are part of the Ashtabula County Barn Quilts Trail. But they have become a walkable miniature barn quilt trail in themselves. The quilts are along a roughly four-by-four-block stretch that begins at Jefferson Depot Village and ends at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds.
Giddings Law Office:
Begin your tour at the Giddings Law office, 102 East Jefferson St. Free parking is available at the law office, the small, frame, white building marked by an Ohio State Historical Marker.
Joshua R. Giddings (1800-1864) was among the founders of the Republican Party, and it is said that a plank of that party’s 1856 platform was penned in this former law office. Giddings was a very successful lawyer who grew up splitting wood and doing a man’s work on the family farm in southeast Ashtabula County. He hung out his law shingle in 1823 in Jefferson, and practiced out of this simple building until he was elected to Congress in 1838.
Giddings, and many of those who sent him to Washington as their representative, had strong anti-slavery sentiments. The congressman soon found himself in trouble among his legislative peers for arguing that the same “inalienable rights” guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution for the white population also applied to the enslaved, black population. He was despised in the South, a price was put on his head. But Giddings persisted in his convictions and predicted that the issue would be settled by much bloodshed. He died while the outcome was still uncertain.
The barn quilt at this site, No. 66 on the Barn Quilt Trail, is sponsored by John Patterson, the 99th-District’s State Representative, a Democrat! Gary Tabor of Williamsfield Township painted the 4-by-4-foot block, which is displayed on posts.
The pattern is Star and Crescent.
The Ashtabula County Historical Society owns the law office building. It formerly stood on North Chestnut, where the McDonald’s restaurant is now. The building was relocated to make way for the restaurant, and the society did a major restoration on the project over a three-year period. Work on the building and grounds continues.
Tours of the law office are offered. Call 440-576-3768 for information.
Jefferson Depot Village
Jefferson Depot Village, 147 East Jefferson St., is down the street, on the opposite side, toward the railroad crossing. The grounds are closed to foot traffic except during events and the weekend tours of the living history museum. An admission is charged to tour the village. However, the barn quilt is visible without entering the property.
The Royal Star of Ohio pattern barn quilt is 4-by-4 feet. It is affixed to the back side of the white barn next to the “church in the wildwood.” The barn quilt is best viewed from the parking lot of the Jefferson United Methodist Church.
Jefferson Depot Village is a collection of historical buildings from the 19th century. It includes the former passenger/freight railroad depot, next to which operates a short-line railroad (commercial traffic only). In 1902 15 passenger trains stopped in this little village each day. The last scheduled passenger train came through in August 1956; the freight office closed in 1961.
Visit the website for tour times, special events and more.
Side trip: Yellow House Urban Farm
You can do your fresh produce shopping while looking at barn quilts in Jefferson Village. Across from the Giddings Law Office is a private residence with a “urban farm.” Just look for the tall corn stalks, rather out of place, even in a rural village!
Herbs, cherry tomatoes, garlic, hot peppers – the selection varies daily at the little stand. For an even greater variety of fresh produce, visit the village’s barn quilt trail on a Saturday morning, when the farmer’s market sets up in the parking lot of the Henderson Memorial Public Library, the next stop on this trail as you walk west (toward the village) from Giddings Law Office.
Henderson Memorial Public Library
In the next block to the west of the Giddings Law Office, are three barn quilts on public buildings.
The first is at 54 East Jefferson St., on the Henderson Memorial Public Library.
Established in 1817, this library is a community hub where books, entertainment media and electronic access blend with small-town friendliness and accessibility. The library’s board of directors commissioned a barn quilt to commemorate the library’s 200th anniversary. The Puzzle pattern, No. 92 on the trail, was painted by Jeff and Rachel Scribben of Artistic Woodworks, Pierpont. It can be seen in the peak of the front of the building, which faces East Jefferson.
Jefferson Historical Society
Immediately to the west is the white, spire-topped building of the Jefferson Historical Society, 42 East Jefferson. This building was formerly an Episcopal Church. The society holds a number of events at the building spring through Christmas. A research room provides researchers information on the Jefferson area, as well as greater Ashtabula County.
Gary Tabor of Williamsfield Township and the late Chris Angerman painted the complex design, “Cathedral Windows,” for the free-standing barn quilt. The 4-by-4-foot barn quilt pays homage to the building’s ecclesiastical roots.
Jefferson Village Hall
Down the street, toward the center of town, and on the opposite side is the Jefferson Village Hall, 27 East Jefferson St., which has a 4-by-4-foot barn quilt on posts in front of the white stucco building.
The pattern is Dresden Plate. Gary Tabor was the artist of this quilt, dedicated June 18, 2016, Jefferson Village Day. The society has a monthly event April through December and is open for research most Fridays and Saturdays.
Victorian Perambulator Museum
Behold the perambulator in all its glorious incarnations from the golden age of the conveyance at this unusual museum, the world’s largest dedicated to the topic.
Located at 26 E. Cedar St., behind the Great Lakes Auto Network dealership (look for the sign on the right-hand side as you walk south on South Market Street (Route 46). Twins Judith Kaminski and Janet Palo are retired teachers who started collecting Victorian perambulators decades ago. Their collection eventually became a museum, which has diversified into other collectibles, including toys and art work featuring perambulators.
This is a privately held collection and museum; an admission charge applies. Visit the website for details, special event notices and hours.
Bissell Maple Farm
A farm in the middle of a village? The maple leaf-pattern quilt on the industrial building at 82 W. Ashtabula St. marks the Bissell Maple Farm’s processing plant and retail shop, but the trees from which the sap comes are all over the county and beyond.
This large maple syrup operation is owned by the Bissell family, which has been making syrup in Ashtabula County since the late 1800s. Step inside and indulge yourself in maple syrup flavored with bourbon or rum (no alcohol present) or one of the many other maple syrup specialties.
Ashtabula County Fairgrounds (six barn quilts)
On both the east and west sides of this historical fairgrounds are collections of 4-by-4-foot barn quilts that celebrate both the land’s history and agricultural heritage. The fairgrounds is between Poplar and Elm streets, on the village’s west side, one block from the Courthouse campus.
On the west side, at the main entrance off Poplar Street, is a quartet of barn quilts sponsored by organizations that promote agriculture in Ashtabula County. The Ohio State University Extension Service and 4-H each have a quilt, as does the Future Farmers of America and the Farm Bureau.
On the opposite side of the Fairgrounds, at the corner of Walnut and Elm, is an unusual octagonal frame building that has stood at the fairgrounds for more than a century. This building sports a Mariner’s Compass barn quilt that was painted and donated by the late Chris Angerman, a trail co-founder.
On an east-side panel of the building is a Giddings regiment barn quilt. This meticulously painted barn quilt is the work of Rachel and Jeff Scribben of Artistic Woodworks, Pierpont. It is based on the regiment flag of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which camped at the Fairgrounds before marching to many battles during the Civil War.
A metal marker set in a stone is a the intersection of Elm and Walnut, just outside the fence. It tells the story of Camp Giddings, as the fairgrounds was known during those months of 1862 when hundreds of men drilled and awaited their orders.
The marker and Giddings Regiment barn quilt thus bring full circle this village barn quilt trail. Head back to your vehicle along West Walnut Street and pick up some refreshment, sweets or a meal in the downtown section. Several cuisine options are available, including Chinese, American, deli and fast food, as well as a bakery. A thrift store and upcycled/rustic décor shop are among the shopping options.
For information on Ashtabula County’s Barn Quilt Trail, visit the group’s website.