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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Phat Quarter Shop & Other Fun Stuff in Galena, IL

Took a jaunt to Galena, IL this week.  There we found the Phat Quarter quilt shop.  It was easy to find because it was just across the street from the trolley.
The quilt shop looks tiny from the outside, but has three good sized rooms, including an area where classes are held.  Downtown Galena is an historic district that attracts many seasonal visitors - so when I asked what the quilt shop's specialty might be, they said "tourists!"  They never know who might walk through the door, so they try to carry a little bit of everything.  They had a nice selection civil war reproductions - which seemed only right given Galena's rich history.
The fabrics for kids' quilts were bright and cheery.  The dog and cat themed quilts on display would capture any child's imagination.
We've all heard of redwork, but this was the first time I'd seen purplework.  Both the cats and purple quilt showed off the lovely batiks in the shop.
The quilt below greets you at the door.  I love the visual impact of the red squares on black and white.
One bit of fabric trivia:  One of the mansions in Galena is home to the original green curtains from Gone with the Wind - the curtains Scarlet O'Hara cut up to make into a dress.  We had a good chuckle recollecting Carol Burnett's portayal of that scene.

But I digress, Galena is certainly worth a visit.  It was once a major trade center that rivaled Chicago.  It was home to Ulysses S. Grant and 7 other generals.  Abraham Lincoln and many other presidents traveled to Galena and spoke there.  The city is built on five levels, into a rock hill.  The upper balconies of the mansions and hotels provided a wonderful place to orate.   These are the stairs Ulysses S. Grant had to climb everyday to go to school - and they say he came home for lunch - so he climbed them twice a day. 
The other thing you should know is that there is a beautiful private garden you'll want to tour. In fact, the garden will be closed to the public after this season. It's owned and was lovingly built by two elderly gentlemen who employ a "youngster" of 89 years of age to work in the garden. Small wonder they all wish to retire.  Also of note, this garden has ties to the Underground Railroad, and features one of the first African American churches to be built following emancipation.  If you have the opportunity, DO make a point to see the gardens while you still can.  :)

1 comment:

Doris said...

Chris, my oldest brother used to live in Freeport and we stopped in Galena regularly on our way to visit him. Belvedere Mansion (and GWTW!) was a teenage obsession of mine, and I loved that the green curtains were there! I think they have a lamp from Aunt Pitty's parlor there too. I also love the Carol Burnett version! You make me want to return, it's been almost ten years since I was there last...