By Kay Whatley, Editor
Quilt Trails showcasing patterns used in quilting are springing up across the United States. Painted wooden blocks depicting quilt styles are hung outdoors on barns, old buildings, and private locations — often in remembrance of a loved one or a time in history — and maps are created for tourists to follow the trail. Two such trails are available in Eastern North Carolina.
The Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers encompasses seven counties.
“What started out as Quilt Blocks in one county has grown to seven counties: Franklin, Wake, Vance, Granville, Nash, Pitt, and Martin and the number of blocks have grown from 6 to 66.”
The Franklin County Arts Council (FCAC) captures the history of the area through the display of quilt blocks on historic buildings and structures in Franklin and surrounding counties. What began as a Franklin County endeavor has spread east to Martin County. FCAC’s plan is to install quilt blocks along the route of the Tar River all the way to Beaufort County — where the Tar River empties into Pamlico Sound.
The Quilt Trails map available from FCAC shows where these ornate, wooden blocks may be found. Maps are broken down into the Roanoke River Trail and the Tar River Trail.
One of the communities visitors will find is Franklinton, North Carolina.
Quilt Trail Town Spotlight: Franklinton NC
In the Town of Franklinton, located north of Raleigh and Wake Forest NC, the Franklin County Arts Council has three quilt blocks installed. As you drive the Quilt Trail, you can visit these locations in and around town:
- Friendship Star — Leslie Martin Pottery Studio, 22 S Main Street, Franklinton NC
- Wheel of Fortune — One Franklinton Old Bank Building, 1 N Main Street, Franklinton NC
- “Wolf Nation” – Night and Day — John & Monica Slebboda, 30 Ridgemont Drive, Franklinton NC
There’s a story that goes along with the “Wheel of Fortune” quilt block at the Old Bank Building:
This old three-story bank building was built in 1901 and was occupied by First Citizens Bank and Trust until 1975. First Citizens purchased land nearby at 101 North Main Street in 1972 and built their current bank facility in 1975.
The Franklinton City School District purchased the old bank building from First Citizens in September 1975 and used it as the Superintendent’s Office. It remained in use for this purpose until June 30, 1994 when Franklinton City Schools merged into Franklin County Schools.
Since that time, the building has been used as a Technology Center and Computer Lab for the former Franklinton High School and the school district.
Places to See
While traveling to view the quilt blocks, travelers may enjoy each community’s art, history, agriculture, and scenic byways. Following the quilt trail in Franklinton, tourists may pass
Town restaurants include:
- City Lunch Cafe, 5 S Main Street, Franklinton NC
- HomeTown Cafe, Franklinton Square Shopping Center, 3370 US Hwy 1, Franklinton NC (near intersection of NC 56 and US 1 North)
- Chen’s Kitchen, Franklinton Square Shopping Center
- Roma Pizza, Franklinton Square Shopping Center
Where the town runs along US Hwy 1, there are chain restaurants including Domino’s Pizza and Hardee’s.
Looking for a haunted house or scary attraction? Take the short ride to Youngsville NC, during the Fall/Halloween season, and stop at the Haunted Forest at Panic Point, a haunted theme park. (Ed. Note: The next Quilt Blocks article will cover Youngsville in more detail.)
Quilt Blocks Just Down the Road…
Note that nearby Wake Forest NC, in adjacent Wake County, hosts two quilt blocks:
- Hidden Pin Wheels — Joanne Wilson, 1134 Corrina Road, Wake Forest NC
- Joey’s Note — Scott & Angela DeMattos, 7820 Melcombe Way, Wake Forest NC
Hosting a Quilt Block
Quilt blocks continue to be installed, with new locations added each year. For those with property along the Tar or Roanoke River basins who are interested in hosting a quilt block, see frequently-asked questions and contact information here.
To find out more about the the Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers, visit the Franklin County Arts Council’s website.
COMING NEXT: The Quilt Trail articles will continue every few weeks, so come back and visit The Grey Area News to learn about the towns and cities along the Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers.
Source: Ellen Queen, Franklin County Arts Council