Fergus Falls couple finds 1950s treasure in crawl space, then finds the owner

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — In a quiet neighborhood near Lake Alice in Fergus Falls, Gilbert Perry and Daphne Hunt were exploring their new old house they had just bought.

The couple discovered a door inside a crawl space, and inside they found what looked to be a party or wedding dress inside a box.

"We never noticed this door in a closet upstairs," Perry said. "I just randomly decided to go see what was in there."

Picture of the dress discovered in a crawlspace by Gilbert Perry and Daphne Hunt along with a picture of the box it was found inside. Photo / Gilbert Perry


Was it a dress for a party, a graduation or maybe even a wedding? To find out more about who owned the dress, they turned to the Fergus Falls neighborhood Facebook page to try to find some answers. They got more responses than they had hoped to get from their humble post.

"(It was) crazy, these people who lived in this neighborhood in the 60s, they all started talking to each other again and shared memories on the post," Perry said.

People who lived or grew up in Fergus Falls all chimed in, including Lori Bakke Christianson.

Lori said she had no idea it was there. Her family lived in Fergus Falls in the 1960s. She had seen that dress before in pictures of her parents' wedding.

"I have seen pictures of my mom and dad's wedding and I remember the short sleeves," Christianson explained.

It was her mother Nancy Bakke's wedding dress from the 1950s. Christianson plans to drive up from the Cities and get the dress her mom wore many years ago.

Christianson's mother is now 83 years old and lives in a Twin Cities care center. Once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, Christianson plans to bring the dress there to show her.

Gilbert and Daphne had just moved to Fergus Falls from a big city. Thanks to some small-town teamwork, the mystery has been solved.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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