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Connie Vandermay/FOCUS Lois Wirre displays the quilt that represents her family history, in addition to the history of the old Topelius Township, which was situated just south of New York Mills. Wiirre spent 400 hours working on the quilt over the course of the last year.

Recording history through quilting

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local Perham,Minnesota 56573
Perham Focus
Recording history through quilting
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

For Lois Wiirre of New York Mills, a recent project brought together quilting and family history, two of her passions.

Over the last year, Wiirre spent 400 hours putting together a quilt that represents 32 years of history and memories for the Wiirre family and for NY Mills.


The quilt was raffled off to a lucky family member at the Wiirre family reunion on Saturday.

Around 1938, the Wiirre grandparents built a log cabin on Topelius Township south of NY Mills' current location (the township, now part of Newton Township, no longer exists).

At the family reunion, the Wiirre siblings recalled how their father made homemade skis to be able to travel to school. The school building, they said, was eventually transported and attached to the NY Mills School as a band room.

The Wiirre's mother made everything for the family back then, from old flour and seed sacks to pillowcases and dresses.

Their mother sought sacks from Mills Maid, a farmers elevator feed service in NY Mills at the time. Lois included a piece from one of those sacks at the center of the quilt.

Word of Lois's yearlong project had spread throughout NY Mills, and for the past few months people had been asking to see the quilt, she said.

The quilt also included other patterns or designs meant to represent the history of the Wiirre farmstead and of the old Topelius Township area, including fiddles, farm scenes and more.