We’re coming up on July 4th, so let’s celebrate with the story of the Hopewell Bicentennial Quilt. The quilt is 9 by 8 feet, with 42 squares in a 7 x 6 grid that illustrate local themes. Thanks to multiple local contributors, we now can tell a much more complete story about the people who made the quilt and about the themes of the individual squares.
The Hopewell Bicentennial Quilt also was awarded a Finalist Medal in the Great Quilts of America contest sponsored by the U.S. Historical Society, Good Housekeeping, and the Museum of American Folk Art. The contest had nearly 10,000 entries – “the largest quilt contest ever conducted in the world.”
== View the Hopewell Bicentennial Quilt material in the Image Gallery ==
Each square of the quilt shows a scene, symbol, or building – historic or current – and directly connected with Hopewell or the nearby countryside. For example, can you find:
- Well-known buildings, including the Elementary School, Library, Museum, St. Michael’s, Train Station, Mini-Park, and churches
- Local traditions including the town Christmas Tree, July 4th fireworks over the cemetery, Legion Annual Carnival, Halloween Parade, and Memorial Day Parade
- Local businesses including Hillside Farm, the Pharmacy and neighboring stores, Allen’s Florist, Rockwell, Quarry Swimming Club, and Carkhuff Dairy
- Local historic events including John Hart signing the Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary Farmer, and the Blizzard of 1888
The Making of the Quilt
The quilt was entirely sewn by hand, and was the work of 44 women who labored for just over a year from April 1975 to May 1976.
The project was organized by Pat Kraus and Anne Asaro. It started with 42 women each designing and hand quilting their own square. The squares were finished in January 1976, and 40 women then began quilting on the quilting frame until it was completed in early May, just over a year after the first planning meeting.
The quilt’s top fabrics and backing are cottons and cotton blends, with the 13-inch squares sewn with muslin applique and embroidered.
Thanks to by Ken Kaplowitz, we also have a 1976 photo of the quilters at work in the dining room of Pat Kraus, with Ann Asaro on the far left and Judy Grow on the right. (Note the bottle of Jim Beam on the sideboard behind them – these were hard-working women…)
Key to the Quilt
Thanks to Roger Labaw, we also have two additional typewritten pages, one recording the history of the quilt, and the second Key to the quilt, listing the theme and creator of each square.
The squares are summarized here:
- Hopewell Elementary School – Lois LeMassena Grieves
- The Art Show – Lois Marie Harrod
- First Baptist Parsonage In Hopewell – Madge Bernetta Kettenburg
- Wildflowers of Hopewell – Kathleen Clarke Martin
- The Hopewell Library – Marney Gedney Kettell
- Hopewell’s Christmas Tree – Susan Jacqueline Spaeth
- Hillside Farms – Gedske Kolderup Szepsy
- July 4 Fireworks Over the Cemetery – Judith Kaman Grow
- First United Presbyterian Church of Hopewell – Sally Cranstoun Van Gulik
- St. Michael’s Children’s Home – Doris Holcombe Tomarchio
- The Hopewell Museum – Ellie Merck Boone
- American Legion Post #339’s Annual Carnival – Anne S. Hall
- Hopewell Stores – Ilse Rothmer Johnson & daughter Becky
- Original Hopewell United Methodist Church – Mary Harriet Kintner Carkhuff
- Quarry Swimming Club – Julia Stout Lowe
- The Hallowe’en Parade – Rebecca Ann Johnson & mother
- Hopewell Railroad Station – Janet Gail Phillips Wyckoff
- Hopewell 1776 – Betty Braunworth Gantz
- The John Hart Farm – Carol Scasserro Stewart
- Revolutionary Period Farmer and His Produce – Judy Allen Bird
- Fireplace in Which a Colonial Officer Hid and Heard the British Plan to Attack Princeton – Josephine Samuel
- St. Alphonsus Church – Sally Wilt Berkman
- Allen’s Florist – Kathryn Ann Benson
- Orville Carkhuff, Dairyman – Sharon Lynne Carkhuff
- Brickyard House in The Blizzard of 1888 – Esther Miller Labaw
- Hopewell Mini-Park – Jane Koerwer Hostetter
- Rockwell Mfg. Company Logo – Marcia Bond Lowe
- The Lindberg Home – Evelyn Wahl McGuinness
- The Castle – Virginia VanWynen
- John Hart Signing the Declaration of Independence – Ruth Huntington Bogia
- 1 Bank Place, the Old Pierson Home – Mimi Lott Gregory
- Kate Ege’s Millinery Shop – Sally Ruth McCandless
- Calvary Baptist Church – C. Marion McCandless
- Indian Attack on Penelope Stout – Ferris Olin
- Hopewell’s Third School, 1855 – Pamela Bennett Johnson
- New Jersey, State Bird, Flower and Tree – Hope Carroll Sudlow
- Old School Baptist Meeting House – Mary Ann E. Carkhuff
- The Railroad Crossing, Frog War In Hopewell, 1876 – Anne Harrison Asaro
- The Hunt House – Barbara Darmstadt Taylor
- The Lavender House – Thelma W. Heaton
- Memorial Day Parade – Patricia Ford Kraus
- View of Hopewell Valley – Ann P. Grossman
- For more local July 4th activities, see the Titusville 1956 July 4th Parade and Water Show.
We are able to provide this detailed a story on the Bicentennial Quilt only because three separate and independent contributors kindly contributed the quilt image, the documentation, and the photo of the quilters at work. It’s this accumulation of various materials this makes the History Project even more useful over time.
We would welcome more information on this and other community historical activities in the Hopewell area.