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By Shari Pierce
Special to The PREVIEW
Our town’s water needs were served in years past by the water plant that is now a part of the historical society museum.
A Work’s Progress Administration (WPA) project was to construct the beautiful rock building, which now serves as the back portion of the museum. A water wheel was located there to push the water up to the reservoir on Reservoir Hill. The water wheel was in the open air and became a place where young people played. The town was able to arrange with the WPA to construct this building around the wheel for safety.
The stone walls form the perfect back drop for displaying quilts, which are part of the “Star Spangled Quilts” display at the museum this summer.
It was 200 years ago that Francis Scott Keyes was inspired to write “In Defence of Fort McHenry” as he was detained by British forces when they began a 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md. In the early morning light, Keyes saw the U.S. flag flying over Fort McHenry and knew the fort had not surrendered.
Keyes instructed the poem to be sung to the melody of “Anacreon in Heaven” and it later became known as “The Star Spangled Banner.” President Herbert Hoover signed a bill into law in 1931 naming this song as our national anthem.
The historical society museum honors this time in our history with a special “Star Spangled Quilts” display.
One quilt that is featured as part of this exhibit is “Lincoln’s Logs.” This quilt, honoring President Abraham Lincoln, was constructed by Cindy Vermillion Hamilton in 2010.
Hamilton is a nationally recognized quilter and author. When you see her exquisite works, you will certainly understand why. Her quilts are hand-pieced and hand-quilted and the work is superb. When guests walk into the museum, they are in awe of these works.
Hamilton used commemorative fabrics that were designed to honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. She also used the Courthouse Steps setting of a traditional Log Cabin block in designing the quilt. — the Log Cabin block representing that Lincoln was born in a log cabin and the Courthouse Steps setting to honor Lincoln being a lawyer. The quilt is constructed of reproduction fabrics of the era. This quilt is simply beautiful and is only one of many of Hamilton’s works that are on display.
The gift shop offers a selection of regional history books, along with 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. Donations are much appreciated.
The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is located at 96 Pagosa St., the corner of U.S. 160 and 1st Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.