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by Patty Cheffey
The Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra now has a new piece of Palmyra history.
The Palmyra bicentennial quilt is on display at the courthouse, thanks the generosity of its owner, Carol Bezler, who gave the winning bid for the quilt during the 2019 Taste of Palmyra event.
While she donated the quilt and had the display rack made, Bezler said the credit actually goes to the ladies who quilted it and to Kerry Bross who built the frame and helped hang in the courthouse.
The quilt was finished in the summer of 2019, thanks to the efforts of 13 women, ranging in age from 11 to 80 (at the time of the quilting).
Linda Bier, who spearheaded the effort after being asked to do so by the Palmyra Bicentennial Committee, researched Palmyra’s history to
get ideas for the quilt blocks.
“All of the block ideas came from the Palmyra history book,” Bier said.
Those blocks include a log cabin representing the first settler, a soldier representing the Civil War unrest, Lincoln platform, Lincoln School, a red barn representing agriculture, a wagon wheel, representing an early Palmyra business, a postage stamp, a railroad box car, St. Paul’s Star, courthouse steps representing Palmyra’s three courthouses, Porter’s Raid, Bethlehem Star, representing the town’s churches, a tornado, Old Glory, slave chain, wagon tracks, posies around the square, spool block and a shoemaker’s puzzle, both representing earlier businesses in Palmyra.
Those block kits were distributed to the individual quilters, then returned to Bier who stitched the final quilt together.
While the courthouse will get the benefit of a new display, the Palmyra Sesquicentennial Building was the recipient of the funds raised from the auction to help add a commercial kitchen.