“I have never seen or heard of a quilt show like ours,” said Jane Clark, a member of the West Gadsden Historical Society.
On Saturday, March 25, the historical society opened the doors of one of Greensboro’s historic landmarks, the Dezell House, and put out the quilts.
Relics of another time, the quilts within the Dezell House are testaments of an old fashioned kind of community; Clark says nearly all the quilts are made by local women in West Gadsden County’s past.
Some are slightly newer, like a quilt that the society displayed in one of the Dezell House bedrooms – recently completed by a 91-year-old resident of Sycamore, Eva Mae Peters, the quilt was added to the collection to do its homage to the old fashioned art of hand quilting.
Clark said that Peters still quilts entirely by hand – foregoing using any machine to stitch, bind, or piece her quilts of art.
Another quilt on display was a friendship quilt (a quilt worked on by multiple women) that dates back to the 1930s.
While the blocks had been completed for decades, the blocks had not yet been pieced together into a proper quilt – but had recently been officially joined together into a quilt by a member of the historical society…making whole a project that started nearly 100 years ago.
Clark said the Spring Quilt Show at the Dezell House (an annual affair) was incredibly well attended this year.
“It was a fabulous attendance,” she adds.
Despite concerns over stormy weather, the society resisted postponing or canceling the show, and reaped the benefits of keeping their doors open.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Clark, adding that she estimates at least 200 people, many with young children, came to the Dezell House that Saturday.
The showcase was open from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., and Clark said the house had a steady flow of people for that whole time block; several vendors set up booths on the front lawn, and Clark said she heard nothing but good sales reports back from the vendors.
A lot of the people attending this weekend’s quilt show were also first-time visitors to the Dezell House, with some coming from as far away as Bonifay and Tallahassee.
“Everybody loved the quilts, and everyone enjoyed the house. They liked how we have it staged…it’s a pretty little old house,” said Clark.
Around 50 quilts were on display that weekend, and while Greensboro did occasionally experience a bit of drizzling weather, for the most part of the day, the quilts flapped and swung contentedly in the cool breeze.
While most quilts were displayed on the porch or lining the road, several others were placed indoors throughout the Dezell House’s various rooms.
A mason jar quilt hung in the kitchen, a patriotic quilt hung in the war memorial room, and friendship quilts lined the living room.
Located at 328 East 8th Street in downtown Greensboro, the Dezell House itself is a time capsul of Gadsden County history.
Each room encapsulates a different aspect of Gadsden County’s heritage – from the once-booming tobacco industry, to the loss of life during World War II, to bygone businesses in Gadsden County, and the home demonstration clubs led by women.
The house pays homage to some of Gadsden County’s early medical professionals, such as Taylor Wood Griffin, Sr., and Otho Winton Gardner, among others, who kept West Gadsden County happy and healthy.
Everything has a place in the Dezell House – whether it is forgotten schools, athletes of the past, or deserted country churches.
History is at the core of the Dezell House’s decor, and the West Gadsden Historical Society keeps the building safe as a promise to remember the past and build towards Gadsden County’s future.
But on Saturday, quilts were the focus, and Clark says that this event is one of the society’s highlights of the year.
“We always look forward to our Spring Quilt Show,” says Jane Clark, a member of the West Gadsden Historical Society. “And obviously, other people do too.”
For more information about the West Gadsden Historical Society and other upcoming events and historical projects, visit their Facebook page.
Ashley Hunter – Gadsden County News Service