Take a Walk: The Quilt Barn Trail

The historic barn at the O'Reilley homestead in Missoula's Orchard Homes neighborhood.By SILKE JAUCK

I enjoy the rural character of Target Range neighborhood and like walking its quiet streets. I find always something new to discover, like a path I have never taken and the changing views throughout the seasons, or homeowners turning a lawn into a garden or adding green improvements to their homes.

A few summers ago, I noticed murals on old barns in our neighborhood and as I ventured further, there were more. Each one displayed different colors and patterns. I have always liked the charm of these old buildings and could them practically hear telling stories of people and times long gone.

I started wondering, who was mystery painter of this art work?

I did not take me long to find out that Kris Platz-Crawford was the woman behind the “Threads of Montana History” and I was walking the “Quilt Barn Trail”.

For me, it was the logic step to invite Kris to include our barn, even though not as old as the weather-beaten homestead ones. But even our barn has to tell a story of the people who built it and the horses who ones lived in it.

Silke's own quilt on her barn.

Kris sat down with me do find the right colors and pattern for our mural; she does not accept money for her work but donations to Threads of Mntana History, a Target Range, Orchard Homes, and O’Brien Creek historic community research group.

All I had to do to purchase the paint and watch how our quilt came to life. When finished, each quilt gets a unique quote telling about the building’s story.

If you have any old photos, documents or stories of Target Range, Orchard Homes, and O’Brien Creek to share, please share.

Kris is always curious to learn more about the history of our neighborhood and helps preserve it. She can be reached at kc@mthistory.us. A map of the “Quilt Barn Trail” can be found on the Threads of Montana History website.

Happy exploring,



Silke Jauck is a German native and Missoulian by choice. She and her family have packed and unpacked their suitcases and moving boxes in four continents and have finally settled in Missoula and called it home.

She lives with her husband, three daughters, and a dwarf rabbit in the Target Range neighborhood. Silke is the publisher of Friendship Book, a made-in-Montana keepsake and activity book for children ages 6-12. She also has a blog about life hacks at Silke Good Ideas, and you can visit her Make it Missoula blog archive.