Block Number: 55


By Ginger Todd

As you travel north at the intersection of 221 Business and Hankins Road, you will see one of the more recent McDowell Quilt Trail blocks mounted on the south-facing wall of Rhineharts Saw and Lawn Equipment building.

Dean and LaVonne McClure of Rhinehart’s Saw and Lawn Company business have fond childhood memories of their respective grandmothers crafting beautiful quilts, to be gifted to children, grandchildren, and friends. The women would sit by a wood stove, creating the various patterns of quilt blocks, such as bowtie, wedding ring, diamonds and animal squares, dedicated to the art of making thousands of hand stitches. The McClures have a framed square of the Dutch Girl block, which LaVonne’s grandmother made, that hangs on a wall in their home, and a quilt of the same design, the last of her grandmother’s completed quilts before her death.

Both LaVonne and Dean recall their grandmothers sitting with the old roll-up quilting frames before them. They often required, due to failing eyesight or color blindness, the children’s aid with threading a needle, or choosing matching colors of fabric. LaVonne remembers at the young age of about six, “sitting on a stool and partaking of my very first cup of coffee, the pot kept warm on the stove,” as her grandmother sat all day, busy with her quilting.

The McClures first took note of the block displayed on the Welcome Center, then others around the County as the McDowell Quilt Trail became ever more popular. They decided they would like to be a part of the quilt trail in memory of and to honor their respective quilting grandmothers. Their quilt block also pays tribute to Cecil and Ed Rhinehart, both now deceased, who in 1976 started the family business of tree and lawn care equipment, including a machinery maintenance and repair service. Rhineharts Saw and Lawn Equipment will be celebrating its 35th year in 2011, with many special events and sales.

The McClures have named their 4x4 quilt block, “A.R.B.O.R.,” which is the Latin noun, meaning tree. The letters are also an acronym for “Always Remembering Beginnings Of Relationships.” A.R.B.O.R. was installed September 9th by Mike Lucas, who is also responsible for the quilt block designs, in addition to painting and overseeing the work of other volunteer painters of the blocks.

The McClures feel that A.R.B.O.R., which depicts wood saws, grass, trees, and open sky, is descriptive of their business and their nursery, while offering a memorial in celebration of their grandmothers’ quilting talents. Four grey two-man crosscut saws with brown handles at each corner form the frame of the block. The lower portion of the block, a basket weave in three shades of green, represents a grass lawn, out of which springs a colorful tree made up of brightly colored triangles which represent the colors of the Fall season, on a background of sky blue.

Jill Lucas presented the McClures with a framed McDowell Quilt Trail Certificate of Authenticity on Friday, September 10th, which is suitable for displaying in their business.

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