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A remnant of Perham's School District 58 surfaces after 70 years

As a surprise going away present in 1940, students from Perham's District 58 presented their teacher Mabel Kastet Frazee with quilt blocks, which have now been made into a quilt and will be displayed on October 9 in Pelican Rapids.

Very few people may remember anything about Perham's School District 58. The one-room schoolhouse in which children sat over 70 years ago is now gone, and very few photographs of it still exist.

A group of students began a special project for one of their teachers, and probably would have never thought such a small gift would tie the past to the present.

It all began with Mabel Kastet Frazee who taught grades one through eight in the one room schoolhouse. As a gift to Mabel, her first and second grade students embroidered their names on white material and with it fabric from a piece of clothing to create a quilt block.

Mabel was presented with a box of the quilt blocks in 1940, after teaching for two years at the school. The president of the district, Carl Seedorf, also made a block for Mabel, along with Chas Schultz, whom Mabel stayed with during the period.

Her daughter Beth Winter said, "Growing up I remember Mom sometimes showing the squares to visitors if she was talking about teaching all grades in a one room schoolhouse."

Twenty years ago, Winter had a Janesville neighbor, LaVerne Freitag, make the blocks into a quilt. The blocks were of different sizes and the material was already fifty years old. "She was a very experienced quilter and made a wonderful quilt of memories for mom," she said.

A student of Mabel's

Irene Schultz knew Mabel very well and had her as a teacher in first and second grade. They still see each other 70 years later - Irene visited her last year on the north side of Little McDonald Lake.

"She's still as full of energy as she was back then," Schultz said. Beth spoke of the quilt and had come for pictures of Mabel and District 58.

"Mabel had a lot of students her first year and I really enjoyed it. We all played together and worked together. Louella Sazama, who passed away, was a neighbor from my farm. We were childhood friends and played 'house' outside," she fondly reflected.

"We were a lot closer back then since there were no distractions like there are today."

Showcasing the quilt

On October 9, the quilt will be on display at the "Last Tuesday Quilters" quilt show. They meet every last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Pelican Rapids Public Library. Judy Tabbut and Bonnie Bring host the gathering, and the organization has existed since 2000.

They bring together different techniques, create quilt blocks for local area community events, and donate child-size quilts for all babies born in the district. The infants also receive a book courtesy of Friends of the Library.

"Being that the one-room schoolhouse is no longer in existence, it's great that students banded together and made this their gift for their teacher as a going-away present," said Lynette Zimmerman, co-chair of the Last Tuesday Quilters.

"How lucky can Pelican Rapids be for such a memorable quilt to be displayed at our show?"


Students who made blocks are Irene Schultz, Agnes Krueger, Anna Bachleitner, Margaret Bachleitner, Rose Krueger, David Palubicki, Edwin Perszyk, Georgian Ziolkowsi, John Karsnia, Arnold Flatau, Idella Marquardt, Joseph Bachleitner, Howard Marquardt, Lorraine Bachleitner, Florence Bachleitner, John Moenkedrick, Robert Palubicki, Wilma Seedorf, and Clarence Palubicki. Quilt squares also include, "District #58", "First Year - 1938", Carl Seedorf (president of the district), Mrs. Chas Schultz, whom Mabel stayed with, and the names of Mrs. Gust Moenkedick, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Frey, and Mrs. Henry Niebergall.


Mabel graduated from Fergus Falls High School and attended Moorhead Teacher's College. She taught two years in Perham, one in Deer Creek, two years in Wadena, and ten years in Pelican Rapids. She was awarded a lifetime teaching certificate.

She married Robert E. Frazee on August 31, 1947 and gave birth to three children. John Eldon died shortly after birth, Jim resides in Minnetonka, and Beth lives in Janesville. They each have two children.