About the VQM Home
The Virginia Quilt Museum grew from the Virginia Documentation Project of the mid 1970s. Sponsored by Virginia Consortium of Quilters, these documentation efforts found so many wonderful quilts that the idea of a museum was born. The consortium was highly supportive of the museum’s early efforts, both financially and with their energies.
The original site was to be Belle Grove Plantation, near Winchester, and staff and volunteers there also contributed greatly to the start of the museum. One raffle quilt alone brought over $22,000 of seed money. Those heading the project eventually found the Warren-Sipe House on Harrisonburg’s Main Street, and the museum had found a home.
Completed in 1856 as a first home for Edward Tiffen Harrison Warren, a local attorney, and his bride, Virginia McGruder, the couple moved here after their marriage in December of that year. Three children were born to them here, two daughters and a son. Tiff Warren served in the 10th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regulars, rising to the rank of colonel, before he was killed in May, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness.
The home served as an informal hospital during the War, and a young confederate soldier, Joseph Latimer, known as the Boy Major, was brought here after being wounded at Gettysburg. He died in this house and his ghost, clad in full uniform, can sometimes be seen at the top of the stairs.
In 1894, the house was sold to George E. Sipe, a prominent local attorney and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Mr. Sipe added an attic, a kitchen, beautiful inlaid floors, and two mahogany mantles.
The City of Harrisonburg later used the house for a recreation center, as a home for the local historical society, and as a temporary courthouse. A small holding cell remains from this use.