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So long, Laura MacArthur Elementary

Demolition has begun on the old Laura MacArthur Elementary School (aka MacArthur/West Elementary). The new school, which was built last summer, is visible in the background of the photo below.


A Final Trip Through Duluth’s Original Laura MacArthur Elementary School

Remembering Laura MacArthur

It’s hard to watch a house come down

The rear entryway is still standing, so there’s no telling whether the old Robert E. Denfeld engraving still exists behind the bricks. If it’s there, I’m not holding out any hope for its preservation.

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14 Comment(s)

  1. It just seems surreal to see this school where I spent my primitive years sitting in shambles. I was wondering when this was going to begin. I think the original plan called for it to happen in late 2011. I’ll need to stop by tomorrow to see what’s left and experience it in person.

    Tom | Jul 3, 2012 | New Comment
  2. Yeah, pictures don’t quite do it. I know walking by will be a punch in the gut.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 3, 2012 | New Comment
  3. As usual, there were no apparent attempts to perform architectural salvage.

    johnm | Jul 4, 2012 | New Comment
  4. Tony Bennett on Facebook:

    “I saw on Perfect Duluth Day that the wrecking ball has finally starting demolishing my elementary school. A year ago, my brother and I went and checked out the place one last time. And I went onto the stage where I had played my first live music and did one more tune for an empty auditorium where so many memories had been made. It’s now official: I am the last person to perform music at (the original) Laura MacArthur Elementary.”

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 5, 2012 | New Comment
  5. … and then Andy Bennett shows off his karate routine.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 5, 2012 | New Comment
  6. Oh, and there is also this:

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 9, 2012 | New Comment
  7. Here’s a News Tribune attic piece about a boiler explosion at MacArthur.

    Explosion at Laura MacArthur School, 1982

    That was before I was born and I had never heard that story. I do, however, remember a kid setting someone’s locker on fire when I was a student there. You can’t even begin to imagine how cool it was to see our school on TV!

    Tom | Jul 13, 2012 | New Comment
  8. Oh, that was something. I was in the fourth grade. The explosion rocked the building. When the fire alarm went off a few seconds later, there was no question it was the real deal and not a drill.

    I remember my class spent a long time on the corner of Sixth Street and Central Avenue that afternoon before they sent us home.

    There was some kind of hero story attached to this that I was hoping the newspaper article would have included, because my memory is fuzzy on it. I vaguely remember there was a special assembly to honor one of the injured janitors because he managed to immediately compose himself after the explosion and instinctively know to pull the fire alarm so the kids could get out. (Or I could be botching the details completely.)

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 13, 2012 | New Comment
  9. The janitor’s name was Dick Meadowcroft. He was a neighbor of mine, and is shown in a photograph in the DNT Attic post. Paul, I think you got the details correct.

    I remember the explosion, and there was a silent pause while we all just looked at each other, and then the alarm went off. My teacher said, urgently, “This is not a drill! This is real!”

    I also remember that it was kind of overcast and chilly outside, and that everyone was shivering. I don’t remember if we got to go back inside to get our belongings or if we were just sent home without them.

    Barrett Chase | Jul 13, 2012 | New Comment
  10. The last bit of MacArthur was on its way down this morning. They saved the handicap-elevator addition for last.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 30, 2012 | New Comment
  11. If they demolish that last part carefully (which I’m sure they won’t), we’d find out if the Denfeld sign exists underneath. PDD needs to send one its crack reporters out to get that story.

    On a related note, it’s sad that both PDD and the Budgeteer have done more coverage of the Laura MacArthur demolition than the DNT and all three TV stations combined with one post and one column, respectively. I think this is the first time one of the school demolitions didn’t get at least a newspaper story and some demolition shots on TV.

    Tom | Jul 30, 2012 | New Comment
  12. The News Tribune did run a demolition photo a while back.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 30, 2012 | New Comment
  13. Thanks for pointing that out — I must’ve missed it. I think I recall there being some sentimental, people on the street reaction stories from the past demolitions though.

    Tom | Jul 30, 2012 | New Comment

  14. I saw this at Bauer Brothers Salvage in Minneapolis this morning.

    pinkos | Jul 30, 2012 | New Comment

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