This spring, the Morrison County Historical Society (MCHS) invited the public to enter a contest to illustrate Morrison County history using Peeps, the marshmallow candies typically seen in the shape of chicks and bunnies around Easter time. There were three entries in the contest, with the MCHS Board of Directors voting to choose first, second and third place.
The first place winner in the Peep Contest was a diorama by Marlys Sebasky and Larry Royston illustrating a 1905 incident in Pierz. At that time, local farmer Frank Otremba had a herd of buffalo in order to crossbreed them with cattle to produce “cattalo.” His buffalo broke the fence on a Sunday and parishioners leaving church that day found them running around the village. Royston provided the research and Sebasky built the diorama. In sculpting the buffalo, Sebasky used two upside-down bunnies for the legs and an upside-down chick for the heads. The title for the piece is “Peepalo go to Church and Mama said ‘Bison.’”
The second place winner was a painting by Gene Gruber illustrating Father Pierz looking over his mission territory in Morrison County. Father Pierz was influential in encouraging Catholics in Germany to move to Central Minnesota. Rich Prairie in Morrison County was renamed Pierz in his honor. Gruber is a paralyzed veteran with the use of one arm and was thrilled to have a chance to create this painting for the contest.
The third place winner was a diorama by Robert Jarvis illustrating the murder of Annie Kintop in Darling, in 1905. Annie’s murder was never solved, although there were numerous suspects investigated at the time. Jarvis was able to take advantage of a specialty Peep in the form of a ghost to illustrate Annie’s spirit in the diorama.
All three winners received a cash prize, a complimentary annual membership in the Morrison County Historical Society, and a book from the museum gift shop.
The pieces created for the Peep Contest are currently on display at The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum in Little Falls. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. For more information, call (320) 632-4007.