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Kirker Covered Bridge gets a ‘Brown Goose’ facelift

Allen Miller and his son, Marcus, placing the quilt square on Kirker Covered Bridge
Allen Miller and his son, Marcus, placing the quilt square on Kirker Covered Bridge

By Tom Cross, Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau –

The Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau (ACTVB) recently had the Kirker Covered Bridge repainted and added a quilt square to the historic covered bridge. Built in 1890, the Kirker Bridge on St. Rt. 136, south of West Union, was restored in 2010 by the ACTVB. The bridge, while still structurally sound, needed a fresh coat of paint and some dressing up.
“The Travel and Visitors Bureau has always recognized the tourism value in Adams County’s covered bridges and feels strongly that, in the best interest of tourism and the community, these historic bridges need to be maintained and kept in good repair,” said Tom Cross, Director of Tourism.
Charles Kirker, a descendant of Governor Thomas Kirker, whom the bridge is named after, picked out the quilt square, the “Brown Goose”, which was one of the original quilt squares featured in Adams County’s “Clothesline of Quilts” but had since been taken down. Neil Miller painted the quilt square, while Allen and Marcus Miller painted the bridge. The colors of the quilt are as close to the original as possible. The original was once hanging on the side of a barn on Eckmansville Road.
Donna Sue Groves, whose quilt idea sparked a nation-wide phenomenon, when informed of the plans to place the Brown Goose quilt square on the Kirker Bridge, said in an email to the ACTVB, “I am thrilled to hear about Brown Goose. The covered bridge is a perfect spot.  Mother would be pleased. The colors are perfect for the bridge, too.”
According to history the Brown Goose is an old pattern used for everyday quilts. It was also known as the Gray Goose, Double Z, or Devil’s Claws. A family heirloom Brown Goose quilt signed in 1895 was once owned by Niles and Martha Bennett of Manchester. An ancestor went to medical college in Philadelphia where he met and married a young woman. Among her possessions was a quilt top with her maiden initials and date embroidered on it. It came to Adams County with her and remained un-quilted until 1998. The brown calicoes of the period from which it was pieced remain as fresh today as when it was made more than 100 years ago.
On Oct. 2, the National Society of Preservation of Covered Bridges will be in Adams County to view the Kirker and  Harshaville Covered Bridges. Funding for this project was made possible by the Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau and the Adams County Commissioners.

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