Thanks to the skill of upstate quilters, volunteers, and a local manufacturing company, a painted copy of a century plus old heirloom now graces the side of the historic Belton Train Depot.
The quilt block was erected earlier last week by employees of Darby Metalworks, Inc., of Anderson and Belton Area Museum Association board member Walter Smith. The “Carolina Lily” quilt joins 113 other examples located in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties as part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The blocks can usually be found on historic buildings, fusing an interest in quilts with heritage tourism.
“It took almost a year to complete the work on the block,” said BAMA Quilt Block Project Coordinator LuAnne Foster, “because it is such an intricate pattern.”
Members of the Prickly Fingers Quilters Guild of Anderson transformed their skill as quilters into one-dimensional artwork. Quilters who completed this block for BAMA included Diane Schonauer, Stamie Cline, Marcia Whaley, Debby Stone, Joan Korth, Lou Russell, Robin Kaja, Wendy Wolff, and Teri Walker.
“We experienced a learning curve as we became painters,” said one of the quilters turned artist Diane Schonauer, “but we have been very eager to see the finished work mounted at the depot.”
Her group has become the Anderson Production Team of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail and has produced several blocks for display since their first effort in 2011.
“The Board of the Belton Area Museum Association chose the ‘Carolina Lily’ quilt because it is among the oldest in the local area and is owned by one of the board members, LuAnne Childress Foster,” said BAMA President Tim Drake.
The “Carolina Lily” pattern, which has numerous pseudonyms, dates back to the 19th Century. Barbara Brackman’s reference book shows many examples of the pattern under different names, but none contains a corner stem cluster of flowers as found on the one that is recreated on this quilt block.
“This particular lightweight summer coverlet is unusual not only for the corner cluster, but also for the detailed red and green vine border. It is also much larger than the average quilt made during that time period,” said quilt historian Robin Kaja.
The original quilt was started in 1851 and finished in 1854. It was made by Elizabeth B. Worsham to prove her worthiness to become the second wife of John H. Worsham of Jackson County, Georgia. His children’s initials and handprints are located in each corner and throughout the squares on the quilt.
Elizabeth was born between 1819 and 1821 and died in April 1887, leaving this family heirloom to their daughter, Parthenia Worsham Shirley. The quilt was passed down from mother to daughter for three generations until sold at auction. It now rests in translated art form on the side of the historic Belton Train Depot.
The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail (UHQT) was begun in 2009 when Oconee County became the first to embrace the quilt trail concept. Since then, Oconee has been joined by Pickens and Anderson counties along with four other quilt trails in South Carolina: York County Quilt Trail, Foothills Quilt Trail-Landrum, McCormick County Quilt Trail, and Ridge Heritage Quilt Trail. Information and interactive maps of all the SC trails can be found at www.uhqt.org.
In recognition of the numerous hands that helped to craft this piece of art history, a dedication ceremony for the quilt block will be held on Sunday afternoon, June 23, at 3 PM. Light refreshments will be served.
The painted quilt block will be displayed at the historic Belton Train Depot, located at 100 N. Main Street, Belton, SC, at the North entrance (Breazeale Street). It is sponsored by the Belton Area Museum Association.
The Belton Area Museum Association oversees the Ruth Drake Museum, the SC Tennis Hall of Fame, the Center Section, the North End Gallery, and Whistle Stop Gifts, all located in the historic Belton Train Depot.
Hours of operation are Wednesday and Thursday, 9 AM – 2 PM, Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM, and Saturday 9 AM – 1 PM. For more information on upcoming programs, please call 864-338-7400 or visit www.beltonsc.com or check us out on Facebook.
“The quilt block can be viewed at any time since it is located on the outside of the building. We’re so pleased to preserve this important art form for the public to see,” said BAMA Executive Director Shirah Smith.
Steve Black, Steve Ricketts, and Joseph Locklear of Darby Metalworks, Inc., erect the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail “Carolina Lily” quilt square on the outside of the historic Belton Train Depot last Wednesday. Dedication of the quilt block will be held on Sunday, June 23, at 3 PM.
BAMA Quilt Dedication Program