Tucked under the Illinois River bluffs in eastern Calhoun County is Meppen, an unincorporated town of about 50 people. Founded by German settlers in the 1800's, Meppen is probably named after the German city of the same name, which is located in the northwestern portion of the country.
Like much of Calhoun County, Meppen almost seems to be frozen in America's agricultural past. Pictured to the left in the partial shade is the old St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Built of stone quarried locally, St. Joseph's occasionally holds services.
In 2008 Calhoun County began began a barn quilt project to "promote and preserve the agricultural and rural heritage of Calhoun County." There are more than 80 quilt barns scattered throughout the county, including the two pictured below. The first one, the white barn, is located a little more than a mile north of Meppen on the Illinois River Road and features a "Log Cabin Diamond" quilt pattern created by Jill Rulon and Kathy Ellis. The second one, the red barn, is located in Meppen and features the "Sprong Crest," a design which features four butterflies surrounding an arrowhead. The pattern itself was created by Jerome & Lois Sprong and the barn quilt was created by Carole and Charlie Casey along with Jane Wilhelms.
Meppen is a small agricultural town surrounded by fields, barns, and trees. Below are pictures of an old stone building, a calf in spring, and two abandoned homes melting back into the bluffs.