Three Mile Island and Sunbonnet Sue.

On This Day in History Quilt for March 28:

On this day in 1979 a pressure value in the Unit-2 reactor failed at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant causing contaminated cooling water to drain from the open valve. Without a cooling source the core began to dangerously overheat. The plant was built on a sandbar on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg.


This is a detail of a quilt titled “The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue,” a collaborative quilt made by Georgann Englinski and the Seamsters Union (Local #500) of Lawrence, Kansas.  Each block shows different ways quilt icon Sunbonnet Sue met her death, and this block illustrates Sue’s demise at Three Mile Island. The quilt is part of the Michigan State University Museum Collection.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.


Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

This entry was posted in On this Day in History Quilts series and tagged , , , by quiltalliance. Bookmark the permalink.

About quiltalliance

The Quilt Alliance is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our International quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation's diverse peoples and their communities. In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals: To promote the understanding of the quilt as an important grassroots art form. To make information about quilts available to a broad public. To educate the public about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost.

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