Carmichaels Area Historical Society memorial quilt

Natasha Heinz

Carmichaels Area Historical Society president Shelley McMinn Anderson, left, and Joyce Modar, who made the top and is embroidering the names on it, show the memorial quilt top. The quilt will be on display during the Covered Bridge Festival in the Greene Academy.

The EQT Washington and Greene Counties’ Covered Bridge Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22. Arts and crafts, food vendors, demonstrations and other forms of entertainment are planned for the event.

For the Carmichaels Area Historical Society, it will be the first opportunity to display a project near and dear to the board members’ hearts: a memorial quilt.

The historical society is a nonprofit that helps residents with ancestry, conducts genealogical research for members, as well as works to preserve buildings and historic landmarks in the Carmichaels Area.

“We’re all about the memory of the people, we love dead people,” said Carmichaels Area Historical Society president Shelley McMinn Anderson. “We love finding the history of someone’s family and it’s amazing what people don’t know about their ancestors.”

She said that many residents find photos of their families from the 1800s and throw them out, thinking the images aren’t worth anything, “and we’re horrified – you know, give it to us, we’ll research it.”

To be able to work on all these projects, the organization offers memberships and does fundraisers. While brainstorming for a way to raise funds, the quilt idea came up as way to fuse the society’s historical foundation without having to ask for too much money.

“We’re trying to think of different fundraisers and this seemed like a great thing since we’re all about the history, memorials and remembering people who were here and a contribution to the town and what they did here,” Anderson said. “We try to make things as reasonable as possible.”

The historical society announced the quilt on its August newsletter and Anderson said the response has been great so far. Joyce Modar of Centerville sewed the top and is now embroidering the names.

Anderson approached Modar, who volunteers her time at the Greene Academy of Art and Carmichaels Area Historical Society, and asked if she wanted to help. The answer was yes, and Modar has completed over 14 hours of work so far. However, there is more to do before the quilt top goes on display at the Covered Bridge Festival.

“My machine decided to go wacky after I started, but we got it fixed,” Modar said. “I’m determined to have as many on there before the festival so people can see it.”

While many names are already embroidered on the top, Modar will only work on the quilt itself after all the squares are filled. Then, the piece will be on display at the Carmichaels Area Historical Society’s current home: Greene Academy of Art.

The historical society bought a house earlier this year in Old Town Carmichaels that was once on James Carmichael’s land. In 2020, once the house, which the organization is calling Project House 1, is completed, the quilt will be moved there to be on permanent display.

The memorial quilt and the Project House 1 are just some of the projects the Carmichaels Area Historical Society is currently working on. Anderson, who has family ties to the Flennikens and to James Carmichael himself, is set on telling the story of Carmichaels and surrounding areas.

“The more involved I became with history of the town and ancestors…it just grew and grew; and the more I got into it, the more I wanted to get into it. And the more that I’m finding, the more exciting it is,” she said.

The Carmichaels Area Historical Society is still accepting donations for the memorial quilt. A 4x4” square costs $5 for one name, while a 12x12” section with 9 squares costs $40 for a family. The quilt top, with the names embroidered on it so far, will be on display at Greene Academy of Art, 314 N Market St. in Carmichaels, during the Covered Bridge Festival.

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