By Sarah Richardson
A historic quilt made in honor of the town’s bicentennial celebration in 1982 has found its home in the downstairs of City Hall in Lewisburg.
Donated to the city by Mayor Phillip Gainer, the quilt was the second-place winner in Lewisburg’s Bicentennial Quilt Contest, but despite its high ranking in the competition, there is no information as to who made it.
Gainer was mayor from 1980 to 1995, and supported a year-long bicentennial celebration, complete with parades, open houses, a ball, and more. Quilts entered in the competition were judged on creativity, craftsmanship, fabric and color compatibility, and adherence to theme (which was Lewisburg – 200 Years!). The quilt that won first place was made by Dave’s Quilt Guild, which included local dentist, Dr. Dave McClung, and a team of his hygienists, including Jeanie Wyatt.
“The quilts were auctioned at the Bicentennial Ball that was held in the lobby of City National Bank,” said Wyatt. “Our quilt brought $1,200 and was purchased by Jeanne Hamilton. She gave it as a gift to Anne Moran, who was the chairperson of the Ball, as a gift of appreciation for all she had done. Half of the money went to the makers of the quilt, and the other half was used to build one of the mini-parks down Washington Street.” Years later, Moran gifted the quilt back to the McClungs, and it remains in the family to this day.
Despite the thorough history on the first-place quilt, there is no documentation on the one currently hanging at City Hall. It’s an extensive piece, and it features a multitude of important events, scenes, and pertinent information to Lewisburg’s history.
One square depicts the Lewisburg Fire of 1897, another honors the first newspaper in the county: the Virginia Palladium and Pacific Monitor, and a third features the first West Virginia State Fair in 1858. The list goes on, and includes the Lewis Spring, the Lewisburg Academy, the Old Stone Church, a depiction of General Andrew Lewis, and many more.
The fabric connecting the quilting squares inconspicuously honors prominent local families, with their names sewn in white thread throughout the whole piece.
“I’m excited for the history this quilt represents,” said Assistant City Administrator Misty Hill. “I love the history behind each square.”
In the future, the city hopes to install a plaque to highlight the quilt maker, or makers, if the information comes to light.
“I really hope that people will come forward with information so we can properly honor the makers,” said Recorder Shannon Beatty. “We want to install a plaque right in the frame so visitors can learn more about the town.”
If you know who made this quilt, please contact City Hall at 304-645-2080.