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Topeka’s first barn quilt honors Doris Haggard

The Topeka Area Historical Society (TAHS) made a little history of its own when local quilter Doris Haggard was presented with a barn quilt on Aug. 10. The barn quilt, painted by local artist Cindy Bontrager, is of the Topeka Rose and hangs on the north side of the historical society’s Depot Museum. It is the first barn quilt to be displayed in Topeka.

“No one deserves this more than Doris,” stated TAHS President Harold Gingerich. “She had really wanted us to buy the barn quilt which was exhibited at the Topeka Quilt Show and Sale this year and put it on the outside of the depot. But the more we thought about it, the more we wanted something that was truly Topeka.” Since Haggard is the vice president of the historical society, Gingerich and the rest of the TAHS Board decided to keep the secret, and keep the secret they did. Haggard was totally surprised at the unveiling.

It was Haggard who found, adopted, and then adapted the Topeka Rose quilt block pattern as the symbol for the Topeka Quilt Show and Sale which is held annually in late June. Haggard and Genevieve Lehman, along with quilt show founder Sue Christner, were the driving force behind the quilt show which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in the coming year.

“Things couldn’t have worked out better,” observed Gingerich. “Doris was honored, we have the first barn quilt in Topeka, and Cindy Bontrager painted it…making it something that is truly Topeka.”