Quilt Town, U.S.A. – A History of Hamilton, Missouri

The City Limit sign of Hamilton, Missouri also known as Quilt Town U.S.A.

Nestled in the Northwest corner of the Kansas City metropolitan area is the town of Hamilton, Missouri. The tiny town of 1,809 residents has long been known as the birthplace of American businessman James Cash Penney who would go on to revolutionize the retail market with his self-named department store chain, J C Penney. Until just a decade ago, Hamilton remained a quiet rural community similar to many in the Northwest Missouri area. Businesses came and went and generations of residents continued to call this area their home, proudly remember their past with the annual Steam and Gas Engine Show as well as J.C. Penney Day festival in September.

In November 2008, Missouri Star Quilt Co. was founded by Jenny Doan and family in Hamilton. No one could have imagined the impact this quiet little quilting shop would have upon not only the town, but the world as a whole. Now Hamilton has a new reason to celebrate. Quilt Town, U.S.A. has become a destination for makers and has been called the “Disneyland of Quilting”. Last week you had the opportunity to learn about the History of Missouri Star Quilt Co., but the history of what is now known as Quilt Town, U.S.A. goes back even farther. To celebrate National Quilting Month, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the town that we now call home; a place that has allowed a start-up quilting shop to thrive and grow while inspiring countless of new creators along the way and in turn, has helped keep the art of quilting alive and well.

All Aboard

The Missouri Star Quilt Co. Main Shop featuring a mural honoring the railroad which Hamilton was first built upon

According to History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, Hamilton owes its existence largely to the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. In 1855 Albert Gallatin Davis built the first home in Hamilton as a township was being considered due to the news of the railroad’s forthcoming arrival. Small railroad towns were a common development in the mid 1800’s as the new method of transportation allowed people to have access to goods and services that would have previously been difficult to acquire. Hamilton would begin to thrive thanks to these new developments in transportation and the town would reach a population of 1,800 (close to it’s current population today!) in the 1880’s (History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri).

An Early Entrepreneur

James Cash Penney circa 1902.

In 1875 James Cash Penney was born in Hamilton. Penney would later start the retail chain J C Penney which still exists to this day. Hamilton was proud of the accomplishments of one of their own and celebrates his memory each year with the annual J C Penney Days Festival. If you’ve kept up on your Missouri Star history as well, you may notice that one of our shops is named in honor of Penney as well! In order to better acknowledge the global contributions of this entrepreneur, Penney’s boyhood home has since been moved into the town limits and has become a museum which can be visited to this day.

A New Frontier

The Missouri Star Quilt Co. Main Shop photographed in 2012.

In November 2008 the Missouri Star Quilt Co. came to Hamilton. Originally a project to help support the Doan family after financial hardship, the company would soon blossom into what we know today, Quilt Town, U.S.A. In 2015, the Doans and Missouri Star Quilt Co. were named the Small Business Person of the Year from the Small Business Administration and their accomplishments didn’t end there. Hamilton has since become a destination for quilters from all over the world, opening a multitude of new crafting related shops, restaurants and even a retreat center to house tourists coming to visit the town.

Celebrities, politicians and quilters of all skill levels have made the journey to visit Quilt Town, U.S.A. To celebrate the art and history of quilting, you can even visit our very own Quilt Museum while in town; or get your picture taken in from on the World’s Largest Spool of Thread! Every week Jenny produces a new quilting tutorial which is uploaded to YouTube that allows even brand new quilters the opportunity to create a time-honored work of art that keeps the tradition of quilting alive. As Missouri Star grows, so does the opportunities to inspire the creativity of others. In 2020 Missouri Star began it’s latest series, The Final Stitch, where host Natalie Earnheart (Jenny’s daughter) answers tough questions from quilters and demonstrates helpful tips to finish quilting projects.

The World’s Largest Spool of Thread photographed in 2018 in Hamilton, Missouri.

The Doan’s story has become one of legend, a true embodiment of the American Dream in which a family bonds together to create their own opportunity while helping to build the community of crafters around them, while also rebuilding the town which they now call home. Hamilton, Missouri is a very different place than it was just a few years ago. The long forgotten excitement of the railroad has again returned to Northwest Missouri as a world of new opportunities and advancements buds around a local community. Quilt Town, U.S.A. is here to stay and you won’t believe what’s in store next!

Still want to know more about the History of Quilt Town, U.S.A.? Check out this incredible video from our friends at Stripe!

Aloha! 🌺 11th Birthday Bash Recap

Aloha, quilters! Our 11th Birthday Bash was nothing short of a tropical paradise in our hometown of Hamilton, Missouri. We danced, we ate, and had a hula-va good time celebrating. Read on for a recap of our luau-themed celebration!

Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Before our party could even begin, we enjoyed a fabulous trunk show by Sue Daley! Her English Paper Piecing designs are a sight to behold, and we’re still oohing and ahhing over the intricate creations.

We kicked off the festivities on Wednesday evening with our annual Dinner with the Doans! Family members and guests were treated to a Hawaiian feast and tropical dancers straight from the “island paradise of Independence, Missouri.”

Dinner with the Doans at Missouri Star Quilt Co's Birthday Bash
Dinner with the Doans at Missouri Star Quilt Co's Birthday Bash
Dinner with the Doans at Missouri Star Quilt Co's Birthday Bash

Our Birthday Bash officially began on Thursday, with our annual employee family photo! This is one of our favorite moments of the entire year, when all of the departments gather downtown to mix, mingle and smile for the camera!

2019 Employee Family Photo at Missouri Star Quilt Co's Birthday Bash
Missouri Star Quilt Co. Employee Family Photo

Then, we boogied on over to the patio for the opening ceremony! 

2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.
2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

There were Cake Walks on the patio…

Dancing at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

…and trunk shows from Martingale…

Martingale quilt trunk show at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

…and our designer friends sharing tips and tricks with everyone in our shops! 

Me & My Sister in-store demos at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

This year, our Missouri Star team made Tiki quilts to adorn our shops and downtown! A big thank-you to ColourWerx for their Tiki pattern! 

Tiki quilts on display at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Our Sew-lebrity Sew-Off did not disappoint! This year, Jenny and Sue Daley teamed up to take on the dynamic duo of Barb and Mary from Me & My Sister!

Sew-lebrity Sew-Off at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Both teams were stacked with talent from the quilting industry, and created two fantastic quilt tops at the end of the event! Watch the replay from the Live broadcast below!

Sew-lebrity Sew-Off at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

The first day wrapped with an amazing trunk show my renowned Hawaiian Applique artist, Nancy Lee Chong. Her designs were as breathtaking as an island sunset!

Hawaiian Applique artist, Nancy Lee Chong at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Day 2 featured the Great Missouri Star Fabric Cake Bake Off, where our fabulous friends in the quilting community create cakes out of, you guessed it, fabric, notions, and all things quilting! These creative works were raffled off at the end of the day. Check out our live look-in at the competition HERE.

Fabric cakes at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

And of course, more partying on the patio! 

Dancing at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Jenny capped off the day with her trunk show, filled with laughs, quilting tips, and inspiration! 

Jenny Doan quilt trunk show at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Throughout Birthday Bash, the amazing Days for Girls organization and YOU–you wonderful quilters–stitched up more than 1,000 feminine hygiene kits that will be distributed to those in need around the world! Way to go!

Jenny Doan assembling feminine hygiene kits for Days for Girls at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

With your support of the quilt, fabric cake and Sew-Off raffles, we were able to raise more than $5,000 for the Hamilton Community Food Pantry, which will go a long way in our community. Thank you for your support!

Quilt raffle winners at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.
Donation check presentation at Hamilton Community Food Pantry.

Ready to come party with us in 2020?! Mark your calendars for Sept. 24-26 for our 12th Birthday Bash! You won’t want to miss it!

Happy guests at 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

A big mahalo to all those who made this event so special, including YOU, our amazing Missouri Star family; our fantastic employees, and our amazing Birthday Bash sponsors!

Thank you to our sponsors of 2019 Birthday Bash at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

See you in 2020!

Missouri Star Shop Feature: Mercantile

As a woman in the modern world, my femininity sometimes craves the more elegant, lady-like ways of the past. I would love to enjoy a Friday night dinner in a nice evening gown or stroll into my local grocery store in a long Victorian dress without being given strange looks.

However, there are things I wouldn’t want to endure from those times like wearing cages to keep my dress looking fluffed and tight corsets that crush my ribs. No, thank you.

So I don’t want to live in the past ALL the time, but when I do, I go to the Missouri Star Mercantile.

Missouri Star Mercantile

Missouri Star’s Mercantile shop is filled with 1800’s reproduction and 1930’s textiles. Reproduction fabrics represent the colors and prints popular during the Civil War and end of the fur trade eras. Our 1930’s fabric recreates the sacks in which flour and potatoes were sold during the Great Depression. These food sacks became decorative with playful images of flowers, sunshine, and polka dots once companies realized that women had started recycling the gunny sacks to use as dresses, undergarments, and towels.

Place these antique designs into the quilts of today and keep history alive.

As you wander the walls of Mercantile, you can expect to find fabric by the yard, precuts, tea towels, and vintage-inspired patterns and panels!

Missouri Star Mercantile

Not only will the fabrics of this shop take you on a time traveling adventure, but the designs and decor will have you considering a home remodel inspired by a vintage farmhouse from the past!

Go to VisitMSQC to start planning your trip to Missouri Star and make your way into our Mercantile shop!

Missouri Star Mercantile

To learn more about local antique quilts check out this blog post on Edie McGinnis, The Keeper of Kansas City Star Quilts.

Do you have a favorite designer of 1800’s or 30’s reproductions fabrics? Let us know in the comments!

Missouri Star Shop Feature: Primitives & Wool

Missouri Star Primitives

Today, folk artists use modern elements to create an antiquated look. At Missouri Star Quilt Co., we have a shop filled with these primitive-inspired fabrics. From muted browns and blacks, to woven gingham, and brilliant star and rag-doll patterns, Primitive & Wool has it all!

As you walk along the walls of muted color, it would seem candles light your way with eighteenth century-inspired lights that hang from an adorned, gold ceiling.

Antique wagons, galvanized tubs, and homemade barn-wood shelves hold merchandise ready for the taking!

Precuts and fabric by the yard go quick, but don’t forget to shop the rustic looking panels and fat quarters!

And if you’re are wondering where you can find some embroidery thread, Primitive & Wool, is where you’ll make your stop. Plus, this unique store is also where we have our wool kits stored. Pick one up and make something cozy-cute!

Make your way to Quilt Town, USA and shop your favorite primitive prints in Primitive & Wool! For even more old-school styles, check out the Missouri Star Mercantile for Civil War era reproductions and 1930’s-inspired fabrics!

Tell us about your primitive themed quilts, furniture, home decor, and other rustic-y projects. What is your favorite thing about Americana?

Local Business Spotlight: Studio Inertia

Local Business Spotlight Studio Inertia Missouri Star Hamilton MO

Alisha Branham, known as Lou Yoga N Flo, is the owner of the new yoga studio here in Hamilton, MO. Alisha has been working hard the past few months to renovate her building from the winery and antique shop it once was into a place where one can come to live a healthier lifestyle. She calls it Studio Inertia, after Newton’s law of motion with the intention of sending the message to “always keep your body in motion.”

Local Business Spotlight Studio Inertia Missouri Star Hamilton MO

Alisha started practicing yoga in 2016 and fell in love with the art of it. After hours of training, she soon became a registered yoga instructor.

“After cheerleading and gymnastics, yoga was something that just came naturally to me.”

Luckily for us, Alisha chose Hamilton, MO to open up shop!


Take a peek into the studio…

Local Business Spotlight Studio Inertia Missouri Star Hamilton MO

Once at the studio, we entered into a freshly painted, cool blue room that wrapped a spacious and comforting welcome area. Alisha kindly offers tea to her guests and her pleasant personality makes it easy to feel relaxed.

Walk through the hall to find where the classes and private lessons are held. The studio is the perfect environment to get reacquainted with one’s body. Its space, lighting, music, and decor have a relaxing and motivating effect. It’s a great place to get your mind and body right.


Alisha’s goal in opening her yoga studio is to get the community, especially children, to become more active. She wants everyone to know that yoga isn’t scary. A person at any level and at any age can approach yoga with ease and she is here to help you get started!

HOURS, PRICING AND CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

Monday
5:30PM FOCUS
7:00PM BREATHE

Tuesday
3:30PM FOCUS

Wednesday
5:30PM FOCUS
7:00PM BREATHE

Thursday
10:00AM ALIGN

Single – $12/class
Punch Card – $50/100
1 Month Unlimited – $75
1 Month Unlimited Family – $115
Private Studio Session – $45

25% discount for Hamilton athletics!

BREATHE – 1 hour
For everybody looking to de-stress and relax. Poses are comfortably held for several minutes allowing muscles to relax for a deep stretch preparing the body for rest and restoring sleep.

FOCUS – 1 hour
Build internal heat through a creative flow using breath synchronized movement to stretch and strengthen muscles. Improves strength, flexibility, and endurance.

ALIGN – 1 hour
Designed for beginners and advanced students who enjoy a slow pace class with emphasis on anatomical alignment. Poses are held for multiple breaths increasing flexibility and overall body awareness.

Studio Inertia holds an intimate relationship with its community, providing not only the above services, but holding events such as Rage Yoga, for local Mug Club members, and Yoga in the Park which is held in Penney Park at the heart of the town.

Pst! If you plan on coming to our Birthday Bash event, Studio Inertia will be holding one of her Yoga in the Park events on Saturday, September 28 at 10 AM!

Follow Lou.Yoga.N.Flo on Facebook as well as the studio’s page for any updates. You can also visit https://www.louyoganflo.com/ anytime to find more information!