Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail

preserve's windmill quilt design
The preserve's quilt trail block welcomes you to learn more.


Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail - Follow this link for a downloadable map to all the tour stops as you enjoy the bright, painted quilt patterns displayed on barns and other outdoor structures, along the scenic countryside of the Flint Hills region. The Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail is linked to The American Quilt Trail.

The preserve's quilt block design represents the historic windmill that was once a part of the 1882 barn. Since the historic newspapers do not say the exact colors used on the windmill slats, just variously colored, we chose these colors to represent the fireworks as stated in the historic newspapers.

The triangles on the perimeter of the quilt block represent the historic limestone fences that Mr. Jones built to encompass his 7,000 acres of land. The triangles specifically represent the coping stones found at the top of each fence used for weight to keep the stones in place.
Lithograph of the Spring Hill Ranch - take note of the windmill on the barn
The lithograph of the Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch - take notice of the windmill on the barn

Kansas Atlas, 1887

Enjoy the cultural history found along the Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is one of the stops.

The three-story limestone barn was built in 1882 by Stephen F. Jones. During the time of his ownership, a giant windmill was placed on the middle portion of the north side of the barn. Not long after its installation, the windmill was damaged in 1884 during a storm. Whether it was repaired and replaced is uncertain. It was removed sometime in the early to mid 1880s. However, it was thought that the constant blowing winds turning the windmill may cause vibrations in the barn that could potentially damage the structure. An exact date of its removal is unknown. The 1887 lithograph shows the windmill on the barn, but artistic license may be the reason for its presence in the drawing. We do however know from the following quotes that a windmill was indeed installed on the barn and a little about its appearance.

  • "Hildebrand Brothers are placing a windmill in the barn, having thirty foot wings, with a power equal to that of a twelve horse power engine." (Strong City Independent, December 24, 1881).
  • "The 'double-header' windmill of Mr. S.F. Jones'--the largest in the state--will be expected, when it gets down to business, to furnish motive power for a pair of corn burrs, a corn sheller, hay-chopper, root-cutter, and an oil-cake crusher." (Strong City Independent, February 4, 1882).
  • "The barn, the pride of the stockman, is 60 x 110 feet, three stories, built of stone, with tin roof, surmounted by a windmill of wonderful construction and power, composed of four wheels, all revolving at once but in different directions with various colored slats, presenting much the appearance of an immense piece of Chinese fire-works." (Chase County Leader, April 13, 1882).

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2480B KS Hwy 177
Strong City, KS 66869


(620) 273-8494 xhit 0

Contact Us