Crookston's historic and restored Carnegie Building, formerly the Carnegie Library, will be a hot spot in town for the next few months. October is Antique Quilts Month, November is American Indian Artifacts and Farmer's Old Tools Month and December will be Antique Children's Toys Month.
This month, there are over 16 quilts on display, which had been donated over the years to the Polk County Museum in Crookston. The largest quilt and the first one you see when you walk in the main entrance is the Red Cross Quilt. It was made in 1918 for the World War I effort and was won in a raffle by the Dragseth family in Eldred. The quilt features 14 men with stars next to their names presumably who served in the military during WWI. There are also approximately 135 families represented in the quilt with nearly 400 names stitched in red.
Another quilt that stood out was the oldest in the bunch dating back to 1840. It was handmade by Virginia Ferres Cardin and is in good shape for being so old. The quilt was donated by Laurette Cardin Norby and Monsignor Victor Cardin.
Kristina Gray's favorite quilt is called a "Crazy Quilt." The Crazy Quilt featuring fans was completed in March of 1897 with the initials S.J. and S.O.G.J. The quilt has velvet, satin and other rich textures. It was made by some of Joe Cyr's family in Red Lake Falls and Crookston. Another antique quilt is in the north wing of the former library, and it was made in 1876 to celebrate the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It features red, white and blue pieces in a Centennial Tree pattern. “This quilt was donated by Mrs. William Graham, who came to Crookston in 1907,” said Gray, coordinator of the Carnegie displays and a member of the board of the Polk County Historical Society who has written one book and his working on another that focuses on the history of the Crookston community.
In the southeast corner of the east wing are two quilts in “Grandmother's Flower Garden” patterns. One was pieced together by Edith Bolstad and stitched by her mother Mrs. Eddie (Tina) Bolstad in 1935. There is also a “Trip Around the World” quilt.
In the south wing is a lap robe made in 1900 by Inga Loken Ruth and donated by Reuben Ruth of Badger Township. The robe was used in open carriages and automobiles. “There are a couple unidentified quilts on display,” Gray said. “Hopefully, someone will recognize them or at least be able to tell us a little more about them.”
In conjunction with the antique quilts display in the Carnegie Building, several programs are scheduled during viewing hours. On Friday, Oct. 18 will be the reading of Renee Rongen’s book “Grandy’s Quilt” and on Oct. 25 will be a “Bed-Turning” program put on by former Crookston resident Charlotte Arneson Peterson. Charlotte will show the chronology of 20 quilts and how quilts have changed through the years.
For more information on Antique Quilts Month, contact Gray at 281-2663 or PCHS board member Sandy Kegler at 281-4320.
The Polk County Historical Society has their displays available every Tuesday and Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library on Ash and Robert Street. It's all free and open to the public.
Twylla Altepeter of the Fertile Journal contributed to this story.