‘Star Spangled Quilts’ featured at museum this summer

By Shari Pierce
Special to The PREVIEW

preview-coverThe San Juan Historical Society Museum has been vacuumed, dusted and shined and is open for visitors to enjoy.

History is the focus, with displays ranging from household items to ranching, railroad and business.

“Star Spangled Quilts” — a display of patriotic quilts — is featured this summer at the museum.

Among the thousands of artifacts, you’ll find treasures like the cash register from the Hatcher Mercantile Company and the teller’s cage and safe from Citizens Bank. Today’s cooks will appreciate their modern conveniences after perusing the antique food chopper and wood-fired cook stove. A glance at the early switchboards from Pagosa Springs’ telephone office serve as a reminder of how convenient communications have become over the past 100 years.

Art by Worthe Crouse is also featured. Crouse was a family man, businessman, welder and author and is remembered by many as a teacher of welding and auto mechanics. He was also one of the founding members of the historical society and museum.

‘Star Spangled Quilts’

This summer’s quilt display theme is patriotic quilts. The show has quilts from six different makers and many different styles. Visitors will enjoy an antique quilt featuring the state flowers from 48 states, the quilt being constructed before the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union. You’ll see functional quilts celebrating the bicentennial and a quilt honoring President Abraham Lincoln, among others.

The quilt featured on the cover of this week’s Preview is titled “Honoring Mr. Lincoln.” It was hand pieced in 2008 by local quilter Cindy Vermillion Hamilton. She has won national quilt competitions for her exquisite work and has published a quilting book about how to create medallion quilts, for which she is well-known.

Hamilton shares about her quilt, “Abraham Lincoln’s life and achievements have always held special fascination for me. For many years I have wanted to make a quilt in his honor. When I shared this desire with a friend who lives in Springfield, Illinois, the town where Lincoln lived for many years, she sent me an image of Lincoln printed on fabric. Thus began the idea for this quilt, which is one of three I made inspired by President Lincoln’s life.

“Quilters will recognize the symbolism of the blocks surrounding the center, which include Lincoln’s Platform, Log Cabin and Log House patterns, historic American quilt designs. In the corners are four Union blocks, paying tribute to Abraham Lincoln’s amazing feat of keeping the United States together during incredibly difficult times.”

Gift shop

The gift shop offers an expanded selection of regional history books, locally handcrafted tote bags and purses, historic playing cards, old photographs from this area and much more.


Admission to the museum is free. Expenses for operation of the museum, utilities, insurance and payroll are covered through donations and gift shop sales.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

It is located at 96 Pagosa St., the corner of U.S. 160 and 1st Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

This story was posted on May 22, 2014.