With all the attention the local press has given to the closing of Central High School (and rightly so) there has been little mention of the closing of the original Laura MacArthur Elementary School. (A new MacArthur is being built across the street from the original.)
An open house was held at MacArthur yesterday as the last day of classes was wrapping up, so I brought my camera on a final tour before the place is demolished and turned into a field.
It should be noted that MacArthur is actually two buildings. The main entrance on Central Avenue is to a three-story building that opened in 1915 as the first Denfeld High School. (Denfeld’s history goes back to 1905, though, when high school classes were held at the Irving School.)
The old Denfeld building became West Junior High School when the current Denfeld building opened in 1926. Laura MacArthur Elementary was built right next to it in 1957, in the spot where Ely Elementary had stood. In 1983 West Junior High closed and both buildings became part of MacArthur.
Here are two perspectives on MacArthur’s auditorium.
There is a piano and an organ in the auditorium. The organ below has an “auction” sign on it, so you’ll likely be able to buy it for five bucks this summer.
Below is the cafeteria. I always brought a bag lunch to avoid the soggy pizza sliced in rectangles and the mashed potato with gravy that looked like a giant bird turd.
There are three gymnasiums at MacArthur.
The one above was built for the elementary school.
I don’t remember this gym. I think it was something else originally, and was turned into a play room for early education or programs for special kids or something.
This is the main gym. Let’s play trench!
Above is the boys locker room. Below are three perspectives on the school library.
What I remember about kindergarten is that there were two classes — I was in Ms. Iverson’s class, and some of my friends were in Janice Knight’s class. Ms. Knight used to take her class to Memorial Park more often than Ms. Iverson did; or maybe it just seemed that way. Going to the park was a big treat, so I distinctly remember sitting in Ms. Iverson’s class and looking out the window, watching Ms. Knight walk her class to Memorial. It was brutally depressing.
This is one of the kindergarten rooms. I can’t remember if my kindergarten was in this room or one nearby.
Here’s a random classroom.
If there’s one thing I’ll always remember about MacArthur it’s the coat rooms, which were great places to get punched.
Speaking of great places to get punched, this tour wouldn’t be complete without a shot of the boys room. I remember when I was in 5th grade breakdancing became a fad and kids would practice the backspin on the bathroom floors during potty breaks. I thought that was gross even back then.
This is a shot out the window of the old MacArthur looking across the street to the new MacArthur, set to open in the fall.
Here’s the main office. Wait here for the principal, who would like to have a word with you, young man.
Above are the flags the student crossing guards use to stop traffic. We always called the crossing guards the “Police Patrol.” I don’t know if they still call them that. These are the same flags as back in the day, though.
A wall mural.
Congratulations to the spelling champions. LeeAnna was in my class; I’ll tease her about this at our reunion for sure. Nerd!
This is a plaque commemorating our neighborhood hero, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Michael Colalillo.
Above is some table-tennis action at the Valley Youth Center, below is another perspective of the youth center.
Just like 30 years ago, Russell Salgy is still hanging around. He wasn’t texting back in the early 1980s, though.
I had forgotten about this, but at the end of a hall there was a door that was always locked. I checked it every time I passed it to make sure it was locked because I was certain that one day it would be open and I could enter the tiny room and climb the ladder that was visible through the door’s window. The ladder must lead to an attic, but I’ll never know; the door was always locked when I was a kid, and was still locked during my final tour.
School’s out! Hey you kids, no running in the halls!
The Police Patrol will no doubt slow down those running kids.
Here’s a shot looking down Central Avenue, where students wait for their bus. Behind them is their old school, in front of them their new school.
Hey, who turned the old playground into a parking lot? Stupid grownups!
As a bus was pulling out, this kid noticed I was taking pictures and wanted in on the action. It seemed at first like I was being flipped off, which brought back memories, but as I was taking the photo the perspective changed and the kid’s other finger became visible. It was a peace sign.
Laura MacArthur Elementary School Audio/Visual Cadets
Could any of these gals still be around?
Remembering Miss Laura MacArthur
Tearing down houses for the new MacArthur School
Remembering Bud James