Bird Island Podcast Project

  • Intro
  • Photos
  • Product
  • Learn More/How We Did It
  • Additional Resources

See what people had to say about this project!

"I learned how important Bird Island really was and how different it was than it is today."

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The podcast stops were selected through community meetings, conversation with business owners and tourism experts, and a survey of storytellers in the community. Click on the "Product" tab and enjoy listening!

Track One: St. Mary's School. Storytellers: Richard Jacobs, Phyllis Vanderhagen
Track Two: Sheehan's Gas. Storyteller: Mike Sheehan
Track Three: Lion's Memorial Park. Storyteller: Mer Athmann
Track Four: Gathering Friends Quilt Shop. Storyteller: Kathy Squibb
Track Five: Renville County Fairgrounds. Storytellers: Laura Melberg and Vern Prokosh
Track Six: Athmann's Inn. Storytellers: Marty and Edna Athmann

Interviewers: Mrs. Stacey Leonard's 6th grade class, 2012-2013:
Addie, Alex, Devyn, Hayden, Jaden, Jordan, Luke, Morgan, Rebekah, Trey Ludowese

All tracks narrated by Bird Island Mayor, Doug Erickson

For more information: Contact Project Manager Aleah Vinick at or 651-259-3417.

Background on Bird Island
Bird Island is a small community of about 1,000 people, located approximately 90 minutes drive from the Twin Cities. The city is named for a nearby 60-acre island. At one time, the island, was surrounded by sloughs and covered with many huge, beautiful trees, which were a refuge for thousands of birds, gave the town its name. After the installation of ditches and tile the area was converted to farmland, erasing the town's namesake.

Today, the community is notable for its nationally known quilt shop, "Gathering Places," its long-lived Catholic school, St. Mary's, Athmann's Inn, owned and run by the same family over generations, community-built Lion's Baseball Park, the County Fairgrounds, and its successful business, Sheehan's Gas.

More Information About the Community
Renville County Historical Society

City of Bird Island

Project Details

Date: November 2012 - February 2013
Partner(s): Stacey Leonard, St. Mary's School; Aleah Vinick, Minnesota Historical Society, Project Manager
Location: Bird Island, MN

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