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: Franklin, Wake, Vance, Granville, Nash, Pitt, and Martin. The number of quilt blocks is at 66 and counting. 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 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 Youngsville, North Carolina.
Quilt Trail Town Spotlight: Youngsville NC
In the Town of Youngsville, located north of Wake Forest NC, the Franklin County Arts Council has three quilt blocks. Drive the Quilt Trail to visit these locations:
- Steps to The Alter: Town of Youngsville Women’s (Old Christian Church), 120 W Franklin Street, Youngsville NC
- Morning Sun: Bill and Rose Bullen, 111 Patterson Drive, Youngsville NC
- Friendship and Love: Pat and Patty McCrary, 70 Kristopher Woods Drive, Youngsville NC
There’s a story that goes along with the “Steps to the Alter” quilt block at the Old Christian Church:
The two-toned blue and white-colored quilt block, titled “Steps to the Alter” mounted on the Old Christian Church in Youngsville is representative of the religious support provided to a community that saw many changes through the years. Youngsville emerged in a prosperous era that saw many enterprises established around the railroad.
This town was originally named “Pacific” in 1848, but was later changed to “Youngsville” in 1875, in honor of John “Jack” Young who donated land for the railroad depot. The Raleigh/Gaston RR, running through this town, was completed in 1840 and was important to many Youngsville businesses: the huge tobacco markets, a cotton gin, the Youngsville Cola bottling Co., some livery stables, a hotel, grocery and mercantile stores.
The Youngsville Christian Church was organized in 1886 by 15 members and the building erected in 1889 on land conveyed to them from W.T. Young. The parsonage is located across the street from the church. The first pastor was the Rev. P.T. Klapp and he was paid $75/ yr. The census of 1880 recorded 24 households, and a population of 114. In 1926 Rev. Emory Carter became its pastor and served for 50 years. The beautiful stained glass windows (8 large and 4 small) were purchased in 1957. By 1998-2000 the little church sadly had to close its doors and the property was returned to the Church of Christ organization in Elon, NC. By 2007 it had a new owner, the Women’s club of Youngsville. Their goal is to protect and renovate the property for future generations and have the church serve as a museum of historical pictorial memorabilia.
Places to Stop
While traveling to view the quilt blocks, travelers may enjoy each community’s art, history, agriculture, and scenic byways.
Grab a cup of coffee at the Packhouse Coffee Company downtown. For those interested in grabbing a bite to eat, Youngsville’s downtown offerings includes Charron’s, Griffin’s Restaurant, and Diamond Pizza and Grill, along with fast food choices along nearby US-1.
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