The Sharp County Quilt Trail was developed by an ambitious young artist named Jessie Stauffer. She began the trail as a 14 year-old 9th grader at Cave City School and had the trail fully developed by her 10th grade year. Jessie continues to paint blocks to grow her county’s trail and has had other artists contribute as well. Art is one of Jessie’s many talents. She’s also a very competitive basketball player and soccer player and golfer for the Cavewomen school teams, plus a talented horsewoman. She works as a lifeguard at the city pool during the summer. Her parents have supported her in this artistic endeavor with Dad making her an easel, prepping boards, and creating work space while Mom gets her shuttled around to her activities and delivering her works of art. Sharp County Arkansas came into existence in 1868. The county is home to Hardy-a fun tourist destination, Cherokee Village-a retirement village, Ash Flat-the county seat, business, and college hub; Cave City-known for its watermelons and school, Highland-the school location for the northern part of the county, Poughkeepsie-near the Strawberry River, and Evening Shade-portrayed as the setting of the 1990’s hit television show Evening Shade with Burt Reynolds, Sidney, and Williford. You’ll have lots to see and interesting stories to learn as you travel the Sharp County Quilt Trail!
#15-1, The Picnic, was painted by Jessie Stauffer. It’s located at 505 North Main St., in Cave City. Jim and Andrea Smith commissioned Jessie to paint three blocks that hang on his hobby shop in Cave City. Jim has worked for Cave City Water since high school so everyone knows him and counts on him to keep their water service going. Andrea is a native of Wisconsin. She came to Cave City to visit her grandmother as a teenager and met Jim. The rest is history…they’ve been married 35 years.
#15-2, The 3-D Barn Star is at 505 North Main St., Cave City. Jim Smith is a collector of vintage cars including a 1974 Javelin, 1970 C10 Chevy, 1979 Dodge Little Red Express, and a 1964 Falcon. If he’s at his hobby shop when you stop by, he will be glad to show you his collection.
#15-3, Carpenter’s Star, is at 505 North Main St., Cave City. Jim Smith’s hobby shop also includes his large collection of caps. His collection of about 887 caps were all provided free to him. His favorite is the one with Gene’s Auto Sales emblazoned on it. That was his Dad’s business. Jim also has an impressive collection of fishing lures. You’ll also see an old relic, a 1985 painted basketball team roster board for the Cave City Cavemen that includes Jim. As you can tell, Jim is quite a collector!
#15-4, Patriotic Star is at 203 North Main St, Cave City. Owner Jill Carr shares the story: We had restored the barn early in 2016 at my fathers request. It was built circa 1934. After it was painted it was ready for a barn quilt. In the summer of 2017 Terry Ives graced us with this quilt design. Her husband installed it for us. The pattern was chosen for the family members who had served in the armed forces and have lived in this house hence the red white blue colors with Stars and Stripes: Eugene Street-Army; James Street-Navy; Howard Pettersen-Air Force; Patrick Carr-Marines. We are quite proud to be included on Arkansas Quilt Trails!
#15-5, Twisted Plaid, is at 112 Misty St., Cave City. It is one of three blocks providing a nice triptych effect on the building. Owner Judy Huggins shares that she was inspired from some wooden strips she had gotten from an old wooden shutter. She played around with them until she came up with this pattern.
#15-6, Tulip, is at 112 Misty St., Cave City. Judy Huggins found this pattern on Pinterest and loved it. “I started out with the darkest black and as I added small amounts of white, I got my graduated colors. It was a lot of fun to do.”
#15-7, Ohio Star, possibly the most popular quilt block pattern in use today, is the center piece that makes Judy Huggins’ collection of quilt blocks pop! It’s a 4’x4′ block. Located at 112 Misty St., Cave City.
#15-8, Golden Sun, is at 153 Conyers Road, Cave City. Owner Whitney Caraway shares, “When deciding what I wanted as the subject of our barn quilt square, the sunflower was an easy choice. Their bright, joyful appearance is something we can appreciate year round now. After a little research, the sunflower’s meaning ranges from loyalty, longevity, and happiness to symbols of worship in how the flowers are continuously following the sun. This quilt will always mean so much to us as it was my little sister Jessie’s first barn quilt to paint, and the start of her own business that lets one of her many talents be on full display.”
#15-9, Patriotic Barn Star, is located at 105 Hamlett Springs Rd., Cave City. Commissioned by Steve and Paula Stauffer. Their daughter Jessie painted it. It was one of her first blocks. We love America! Our family built this horse barn together. Right behind the barn is where Hamlett Spring is located. Locals tell us several people in the area stored their food there to keep it cold in days gone by. The spring leads into a beautiful pond before entering the creek. The original owners and builders of our home found lots of arrowheads on the property, indicating Native Americans surely enjoyed this property in the distant past. Photo credit Jack Schmidt.
#15-10, For the Love of Melons, is at 299 N. Ridge Rd., Cave City. Owner Angie Patterson tells the story. “Jessie Stauffer was one of my kindergarten students years ago. She had and still has one of the kindest spirits you will ever find. When I found out she was making these barn quilts, I knew I had to have one! We are from Cave City, Arkansas and our town is famous for our watermelons. My family is one of the melon growers in our town and has been for many years. With that being said, I knew our quilt had to have a melon theme. The rest was left up to Jessie. She designed the perfect representation for our town’s and our family’s love of melons. I am so proud of my barn quilt, the meaning behind it, and the fact that sweet Jessie made it for us! We also had her make a smaller one, identical to the larger one, and we display it on our melon stand.” Photo credit Jack Schmidt.
#15-11, Arkansas Traveler, is at 1266 Nelsonville Rd., Smithville AR. Owner Evonne Baxter points out that though the physical address is Smithville, it’s actually located in Calamine. Our rural addresses can sometimes be confusing! This quilt is located on Nelsonville road, a county road which begins off Highway 58 near Poughkeepsie and ends in Calamine off Arkansas Highway 115. The quilt pattern is Arkansas Traveler. It is displayed on the front porch of the Street house at 1266 on the Calamine end of Nelsonville road. The Street house nestled on the banks of Big Creek was built around 1898 by Monroe Street on the original 49 acres homesteaded by his father, Berry Street, in 1859. The farm was handed down through 4 generations of the same family and grew to include several hundred acres. The house and the land on the East Side of Nelsonville Road was purchased by the Baxter Cattle Company in 2019. After making some extensive repairs and improvements, the Baxters listed the house on Airbnb which has been a very successful venture. There’s plenty of room for parking, so the quilt may be easily seen and photographed. Evonne adds, “Hand quilting is one of my favorite hobbies and I love the barn quilts. The art of quilting is deeply rooted throughout Arkansas. I have handmade quilts that have been handed down through at least 3 generations and I’m quite excited about the “Barn quilt trail.” I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Thank you for this lovely endeavor. I can hardly wait to make the trip! This block was painted by Jessie Stauffer. Photo credit Jack Schmidt.
#15-12, Ohio Star, is three miles east of Hardy on Highway 63. Owner Chad Stark shares the story: The Stark barn was originally built in the 1930’s by Calvin Stark, near the home of Tom & Mary Stark. In the mid-1940’s it was disassembled and moved by Calvin to its second location at the base of Bowman Hill. In the early 1950’s, the state highway department moved the barn for expansion and paving of the new highway. The barn currently sits it its 3rd location. Nearing 100 years old, the barn and land are still owned by the Stark family. The quilt was painted in honor of a family members. Photo credit Jack Schmidt.
#15-13, Sawtooth Star, is at 301 S. Main St., Cave City AR. The Cave City Pharmacy was so thrilled to purchase a quilt block made by our local hometown girl, Jessie Stauffer. The Cave City Pharmacy was established in 1962 and has been serving our small town of Cave City for 60 years. We love our community and supporting other local trades and businesses, so we were thankful to be able to receive a beautiful piece of artwork while also supporting Jessie. We want to add this piece of art to Arkansas Quilt Trails so that Jessie’s work can be admired and appreciated, and so that others can witness what small towns are made of: supporting one another in doing what we love.
#15-14, Caveman, is at 1033 N. Main St., Cave City AR. Jessie Stauffer painted it and donated it to the Cave City School’s athletic department to be auctioned off. The Caveman is the school mascot and represents everyone who has come through the school system. It has always been an honor to represent this logo on one of the sports teams. The Charles Landers family generously purchased the block at the auction. The Landers have been great supporters of the school and community for over 45 years. They are active in churches and our annual Watermelon Festival. Alan is the Caveman radio basketball voice.
#15-15, Cave City Fire Department, is at 196 North St., Cave City AR. Painted by Jessie Stauffer, the quilt block is a tribute to the volunteers and donors, past and present, who have supported the fire department. The fire department covers 90 square miles, providing fire protection to an estimated 5,000 residents. The rescue coverage extends across 300 square miles. In the fall of 1958, after a total loss of a resident’s new home, a group of 32 citizens met and organized a volunteer fire department. There were 16 fire fighters on the first roster. In July 1959, the newly formed group acquired its first fire truck, a 500GPM pumper truck, a 1938 International fire truck purchased in St. Louis. During the winter of 1959, a one-bay station with meeting room was started at E. Center Street. After its completion in January 1960, the volunteers next had to rebuild the pump truck before it could be certified. The first fire for the department was at Ms. Zola Gilbert’s house, next to the fire chief’s home. The house was saved and the entire town was proud of the new fire department. In 1968 a big fire on the south end of Main Street destroyed seven business buildings. It lasted 9.5 hours and and fire engines from Batesville, Newport, and Evening Shade were sent to help fight the blaze. Fortunately a 90,000 gallon water storage tank had been installed a few months earlier, or the entire business district might have been destroyed. During 1970-1975 much needed funding was available through a federal program. In 1974 the city installed a telephone alerting system and the city acquired a 1974 Ford fire engine with a 750GPM front-mount engine. It came with ladders, equipment, and six turnouts. The same year a new bay on the east side of the station was built to house the new truck. Since that time, new trucks and equipment additions were made, a new three-bay station built with sleeping quarters and kitchen, a Ladies Auxiliary formed in 1992 to provide financial support, a new rescue unit, ambulance, and taking the ISO rating to Class 4 in 2004. The department was key in the 2008 tornado disaster recovery in 2008 and subsequently built a Mobile Command Center for Southern Sharp County. In 2012 Norman Sensabaugh was placed in the Arkansas Firefighters Hall of Fame. He was a very big part of the department and an avid training instructor. He served as assistant chief for many years and also as chief. The department added its first full-time firefighter, Justin Wilson, in 2015, and added a brush truck in 2016. The department attained ISO Class 3 status in 2019, the culmination of many years of volunteerism and support since the initial Class 9 rating in 1960. The department currently has 27 firefighters, 4 of which are engineers, 7 are driver/operators, 6 are EMTs, 4 are paramedics, and all 27 are certified Arkansas Firefighters. Kenny Wilson and Ronny Milligan have over 40 years each with the department.
#15-16, Cardinals, is at 397 Arkansas 230, Cave City, AR. The Cardinals quilt block can be seen on the east side of the original farm house between two large trees, the perfect place to watch and feed the birds. Owners Kurt and Carol “James” Meskimen share the story. “We commissioned Jessie Stauffer to paint our Cardinals quilt block. My husband and I love feeding and watching all birds, but our favorite are the cardinals. Of course, our favorite baseball team is the St. Louis Cardinals. My husband and I are the third generation to live on the farm purchased by my grandparents, Owen and Nita James in 1943. In 1961 my parents, sister, and I moved to the farm. My dad, Melvin James, being a building contractor remodeled the original farm house and added onto the structure all the while with us living there. The L-shaped porch built by my granddad from limestone rocks he picked up on the farm is still part of our home today. My husband and I moved to the farm in 1981 as newlyweds and raised our two sons on the farm. This farm has been in our family for 78 years and I have lived on the farm all but two years of my life. We hope one day one of our sons will be the fourth generation to live here.
#15-17, Underground Railroad, is located at 418 Terrie Drive, Cave City, AR. Owner Shirley Stuckey commissioned Jessie Stauffer to do the paintings. The Underground Railroad is located on the back of the barn. Out of the way, secret trails were used to guide runaway slaves to freedom to some northern states and Canada. It started around the 1800’s and continued until the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced after the Civil War. One form of a “map” to show the way to go was on quilts. They were hung out on doors or fences displaying a particular design that symbolizes a clue. This block shows four of those blocks: Top left- Basket block. You need to pack food and essentials for the journey. Top right- Flying Geese block. It shows the direction to go. My block shows a northward direction to go. Bottom left- Crossroads block. Rather than a small trail to follow, follow the main road that usually is found in a town or city at this particular junction to the next safe house. Bottom right- Drunkard’s Path block. When you follow the road, walk in a staggered and crooked way to your destination. This makes it difficult to get noticed and caught.
#15-18, Safe House, at 418 Terrie Drive, Cave City is the companion block to #15-17, Underground Railroad. It’s located on the front of the barn and is the traditional Log Cabin pattern. According to stories passed down, a pattern such as this could mark a temporary destination, or a safe house, on the Underground Railroad. There the travelers could refresh in a safe hiding place by resting and eating. They are given new provisions of food for the next safe house destination. Owner Shirley Stuckey adds. “I am certainly proud of these blocks and Jessie’s work and hope you enjoy seeing them.”
#15-19, Summer Days, is at 45 Copperhead Lane, Cave City, AR. Owner Crystal Walling relates the story that prompted its creation. “In the dead of winter, when skies are gray and the air has nothing but a bite to it, my soul longs for the warmth of sunny spring days. Beautiful blooming flowers. New calves, kids, kittens, and puppies on the farm. Butterflies fluttering and songs of birds filling the skies. The smell of honeysuckle on a dirt road. So, on those cold, gray days I am reminded when I look at our beautiful, colorful barn quilt that no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”
#15-20, Grandma Johns’ Quilt, is at 111 Flat Rock Road, Cave City, Arkansas. Owner Cynthia Crafton shares the story behind it. “I wanted to do a barn quilt to honor both of my grandmothers. great grandmother and my husband’s grandmother. Our grandmothers quilted out of necessity but it is now a dying art. My barn quilt is inspired by my grandma Etheleen Johns’ quilt, the Dutch Rose. She and my grandpa, Conway Johns lived on their farm in Evening Shade where they raised six kids. She was a very detailed quilter and would use leftover scraps of material form clothes she had made. Out of the 30 roses on this quilt, only five have used a duplicate scrap of color. Forty-five years ago Grandma finished the quilt top, stitched her name and year, but didn’t finish quilting it. My mom ended up with it and wanted me to have it, but wanted someone to quilt it by hand. Most people now use a machine, but by sheer luck a few years ago, we met a woman who had moved to the area that finished this beautiful quilt by hand. I am proud and honored to have “Grandma Johns’ Quilt” displayed for everyone to see. Thanks so much to Jessie Stauffer, and her mom, Paula Stauffer for making this happen.”
#15-21, Farmer’s Star, is at 1248 Highway 167, Cave City, Arkansas. The red barn on which it hangs was built in 1935 by Joe Carter for Mr. Henry Kunkel. The farm and barn were later passed down to Powell Kunkel and then Mr. and Mrs. Pug Kunkel. When one of Mr. Pug’s army buddies came to visit, they painted the barn bright red, which is where it got its name, “The Big Red Barn.” It is said that when the barn was built it only cost about $400 to complete. In 1993 Norman and Gladys Gregson purchased the farm from Pug Kunkel, and continued to keep the tradition of the red paint alive. Norman worked very hard running cattle and maintaining the land to keep the farm in pristine shape, making it and the barn known as one of the prettiest farms in Sharp County. This barn is a very well known landmark to anyone who travels along Highway 167, and even has a road named after it (Red Barn Road). The current owner of the farm, Grady Adams explains, “I had the gracious opportunity to purchase the farm from Mr. and Mrs. Gregson in September 2020. As my luck continued I began dating a young lady who has a love for history and old barns. I was blessed to marry her in May of 2021 at the Red Barn. Amber and I have every intention of preserving this special part of history, starting with a fresh coat of paint in spring of 2022. Our goal is to keep the reputation of the farm as one of the most beautiful and well-kept farms in our area.”
#15-22, Wildflower & Watermelon, is at the Sharp County Library, located at 133 South Main St., Cave City, AR. Librarian Jill Pettersen Carr shares the story behind it. We chose the Wildflower and Watermelon design for our quilt block to hang in the library to celebrate our city, Cave City. Our town is best known for the watermelons that are grown here for so many years. The library building that houses our quilt has great significance in many ways to our town and our family. The two brothers that founded our town were the Laman brothers. J.A. Laman was my great-grandfather. His homestead was located where the library stands today. Our family stories start in that house. After several generations had good use of that home it was torn down and was used as the location of Street Motor Company from 1950-1970. In 1971 the family made use of this location again when the Bank of Cave City opened its doors of the new bank building on this same spot. When the current Bank of Cave City was erected next door, the old bank stood empty for several years. Thanks to the generous endeavors of the bank, they remodeled the old bank building and it became what is today the Sharp County Library, Cave City Branch. We are delighted to have our beautiful quilt to hang in the window on Main Street for all to enjoy. Thank you to Jessie Stauffer for sharing her art with us.