Latest Le Roy barn quilt celebrates upcoming eclipse
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Latest Le Roy barn quilt celebrates upcoming eclipse

by Ben Beagle, The Daily News

LE ROY — The Barn Quilt Trail of Le Roy has grown by one, just in time for the total solar eclipse on April 8.

An 8-foot-square, eclipse-inspired barn quilt has been added to the north face of Fort Hill Farm’s red barn at 8042 Lake Rd. Look for the “Total Solar Eclipse” barn quilt on the west side of Route 19. Fort Hill Farm is about a quarter-mile from Route 490 and 6 miles north of Route 5 in Le Roy.

“I thought it was a real great way to welcome people to Le Roy, but it also features the solar eclipse,” said Le Roy Municipal Historian Lynne Belluscio, who painted the quilt from a design by Andy Reddout.

The barn quilt — a large piece of wood painted to look like a quilt block — was originally featured in “Genny Sees the Eclipse,” a children’s book published by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Darren Brodie said the entire Brodie family is please to have the quilt adorn its barn.

“The farm has been sitting idle for a couple of years, following the passing of my grandmother in 2021,” Brodie said. “We hope that this quilt, and the rare total eclipse it commemorates, can symbolize the beginning of new life and new era for the Brodie Farm.”

The eclipse barn quilt, made from two pieces of plywood, was painted by Belluscio during the winter in the barn of Rochelle “Shelley” Stein, the Town of Le Roy supervisor and chair of the Genesee County Legislature.

The quilt was created in two pieces. Belluscio said the challenge was to get the pattern and yellow circle on each piece of the quilt to line up when the two pieces are assembled. She said Stein and her son set up the boards in their barn so that each piece could be painted next to each other.

Stafford Painters volunteered a crew to hang the barn quilt on the side of Fort Hill Farm ahead of the eclipse. The weather cooperated and a barn quilt raising took place on March 13.

The design of the quilt was developed by Andy Reddout in “Genny Sees the Eclipse.” In the story, Genny the cow tells her animal friends that they have to wear special glasses when they view the solar eclipse.

All of the animals live in a red barn decorated with a barn quilt.

Belluscio said when she saw the book and turned to the page with the red barn and the barn quilt, she knew that she would have to paint that barn quilt for the Trail. And, she knew that a red barn on Lake Road would be perfect.

“The pattern is wonderful. When I saw the quilt and that it was on a red barn, I said I’ve got to have that barn quilt on this barn,” she said.

Fort Hill Farm has been in the Brodie family for several generations.

It is unclear if a Brodie built the original farmhouse and barn, but the family began arriving from Scotland in the late 1830s and have been on the Route 19 property since not long after that, said Brodie, who is researching the history of the property and the Brodies in Le Roy.

“It is fascinating, and it makes me proud to be here,” he said.

The barn is original to the farm and was built at or around the same time as the house, about 1840. The barn was built with a gable roof and was transitioned to the current gambrel roof around 1940 in order to store more hay in the loft, Brodie said.

There was always a small herd of dairy cows in the bottom level of the barn until 1984 when Tom Brodie, Darren’s grandfather, got out of farming and the equipment and livestock was sold off. The property has been rented since, but has remained in the family for about 180 years, Brodie said.

More than 100 hand-painted barn quilts are featured along the four trails in and around Le Roy that make up the Barn Quilt Trail of Le Roy, one of the largest barn quilt exhibits in New York State. The quilts are found on barns, homes, fences and inside some of the town’s public locations.

The majority of barn quilts are typically made of solid colors and comprised of simple geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles and triangles.

The “Total Solar Eclipse” barn quilt is currently No. 35 on the Barn Quilt Trail. Fort Hill Farm also features the “Windmill” barn quilt on the opposite end of the barn from the “Total Solar Eclipse” barn quilt.

The “Windmill” barn quilt was painted in 2011 by Darren Brodie’s dad, Marty Brodie, for Darren’s grandparents in 2011.

“They had heard about and liked the idea of the barn quilt trail, and they wanted to take part in it, so asked my dad to paint it for them,” said Darren Brodie.

A free Barn Quilt Trail brochure is available from the Genesee County Visitor Center, 8276 Park Rd., Batavia. The website also features images of the quilts, the stories behind each pattern, and clues to where to find them along the trails.

“Genny Sees the Eclipse” was created under the art direction of Glenn Clark and Crafting A Brand. The book was written by Colleen Onuffer of Break the Ice Media, and illustrated by Reddout, who also designed Genesee County’s commemorative poster. All proceeds from sales of the limited-edition book are being donated to animal shelters within Genesee County. It can be purchased online or at the Genesee County Visitor Center.


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