Historical quilts take over Heritage Center

The Heritage Center in Monticello is home to a temporary quilt display through the end of February. Many of the 25-plus quilts belong to Ann Strittmatter, a quilt enthusiast. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

This historic velveteen quilt was made by Mary Locher, who lived to be 109 years old. Mary gave it to her friend and neighbor, Marie Hines.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Monticello Heritage and Cultural Center has been taken over by an abundance of quilts, all for good reason. 

From now until Feb. 28, the museum is displaying historic and meaningful quilts on temporary loan from many members of the Monticello community. 

Deb Bowman, who serves on the Heritage Center board of directors, said they wanted to do something to attract locals. Bowman, who has a personal interest in quilts, brought the idea to the board and it was a hit. 

“We wanted to bring a different crowd in,” Bowman said. 

This time of year, people experience cabin fever and want an excuse to get out, even if it’s just staying close to home. The quilt display is the perfect opportunity to check out the Heritage Center. 

Bowman said they hope to have temporary displays from time to time, while keeping the permanent historical displays as well. 

There are over 25 quilts and quilting projects available for viewing. The highlight is the Monticello sesquicentennial quilt from 1986. Bob Hendricks and some of the Heritage board members have been quite busy putting a book together that draws attention to each of the blocks within the sesquicentennial quilt, the meaning behind the illustration, and those who had a hand in the quilt project. 

In the fall of 2018, brothers Glen and Mark Gabriel, sons of Glenn and Marcia Gabriel of Monticello, returned the sesquicentennial quilt to Monticello. (Glenn was a former mayor of Monticello.) 

The Heritage Center invites all those who had a hand in the sesquicentennial quilt or family members to a reception at the Heritage Center on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. The Heritage board plans to take photos of those who worked on the quilt for inclusion in their new book. The names associated with the quilt include: Lucille Balsiger, Floy Stoneking, Char Helgens, Vi Suter, Joy Adams, Marcia White, Janell and Don Peters, Wilma Clark, Myrna McDermott, Marge Lubben, Kara Schneiter, Amber Prull, Kyle Sand, Troy Ricklefs, Trevor Siebels, Edna Conley, Blanche George, Isabelle Webb, Eunice Jacob, Gertrude Postel, Dee Stoneking, Eileen Bahn, Ruth Welter, Cindy Bagge, Lorrine Eilers, Wilma Koob, Carol Vorhies, Alvina Smith, Ruth Adams, Betty Wolken, Ruth Dreibelbis, Doris Shimanek, Doris Husmann, Chris Bertling, Emily Boots, Elizabeth Roller, Laura Montgomery, Gwen Kuntz, Mary Herren, Pat Cooper, Thelma Spahr, Irene Recker, Mary Kay Ackerman, Betty Collins, Mary Belle Bopper, and Adeline Schutz. 

The future plan for the quilt is to display it inside the Renaissance Center. 

The public is invited to the Jan. 26 event to hear about the history of the sesquicentennial quilt. 

Other quilts on display belong to several members of the community: Bowman, Judy Tuetken, Marie Hines, Ann Strittmatter, Pam Jacobs, Dee Myer, Penny Schoon, Tiffany Bacon and more. Many of the quilts on display have been passed down from generations, containing treasured meanings. 

Bowman thanked Ann Strittmatter, noting her to be the “heart and soul” of the quilt display. Strittmatter’s love and knowledge of quilting will be part of a program at the Heritage Center on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. Strittmatter will share about the art of quilting. 

Before that, mark your calendars for Sunday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. when Kim Tauke will share the history of her Quilts of Valor organization, dedicated to veterans. Also present will be veterans of the community who have received a Quilt of Valor. Tauke will also present a quilt to local veterans during the program. 

“We wanted to not only display quilts, but talk about their importance in life the history they hold,” explained Bowman. 

She said the Heritage Center is a fluid group, and they want to grow the museum with temporary displays from time to time. Bowman said they are always open to ideas. 

The Heritage Center is located at 211 N. Sycamore St. They are open on Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. 


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