Historic Day at Denfeld


Ten new members were inducted into Denfeld High School’s Hunter Hall of Fame on Saturday. At the end of the ceremony, descendants of Robert E. Denfeld and Walter Hunting were brought to the stage. Although the phrase “Denfeld Hunters” has been around since the 1930s, the Denfeld and Hunting families had never met before. (Photo by Butch Williams)

R. E. Denfeld was Superintendant of Duluth Schools for 32 years, and Walt Hunting taught at Denfeld High School for 29 years, but Denfeld died in 1921, six years before Hunting came to Duluth.

There are more photos from the Hunter Hall of Fame event here.

It should also be noted that Mayor Don Ness (a fourth-generation Central graduate) spoke briefly at the event, urging Superintendant Kieth Dixon and the School Board to resist any urge to change the name of Denfeld High School when Central closes as part of the district’s long-range facilities plan.



about 14 years ago

I am glad to see Jack Moon's name on that list. I had him as a landlord in the early 1990s and he was a really cool guy. He became even cooler when I learned that he had left a sizable amount of money for scholarships for Denfeld grads to attend technical schools.


about 14 years ago

A useless tidbit: When subbing at Denfeld and killing time by perusing the historical display on the school and the man, I saw the picture of Denfeld's house, which is just down the street from me in Hunter's Park. Very unassuming. Whoever put together the display did a fine job (but it needs to be dusted).

Paul Lundgren

about 14 years ago

I happen to have that photo, hbh1:


It's ironic the Mr. Denfeld lived near Hunter's Park and is buried at the cemetery there. Although he lived before Walt Hunting's glory days, he was still a Denfeld Hunter even back then, ay?

Paul Lundgren

about 13 years ago

Here is the script from Mayor Ness' speech:

Congratulations to all of those who have had a part in the impressive 100-year history of Denfeld High School. To the administrators, teachers, staff and students who have graced these halls: You should be proud of your role in the shaping what is Denfeld High School.

While the building is beautiful and historic, everyone in this room understands that Denfeld High School is not defined exclusively by the physical structure of this building. It is rather the cumulative spirit, history, excellence and achievement of those who have played a role in the school's history that define what this school is and what Denfeld means to each of us and to the City of Duluth.

Allow me this ...

I am the fourth generation in my family to go to Central High School -- I was hoping that my children would have the opportunity to be the fifth generation. And I have to admit that it breaks my heart that the tradition of that great school will not continue. It is, quite honestly, devastating -- and I know that those in this auditorium could imagine my feelings.

However, the idea that we should strip Denfeld Senior High of it's identity and it's history and it's name would be nothing short of a travesty. 

As a Central grad losing my legacy, it would add injury to insult to strip away the tradition of the Denfeld name. There's no consolation in that -- there's no comfort in that. In fact it is just the opposite.

For those in the Central part of the city who are lucky enough to go to Denfeld in the future -- they should have the privilege of going to Denfeld High School and have the opportunity to contribute to the history that we celebrate today.

I call upon the Superintendent and the School Board to reject the mere notion of taking away the Denfeld name.

And most certainly, do not do it in the name of Central students and Central graduates. Not in my name. Not in the name of my classmates.

We are first and foremost Duluthians, and we share the pride in the history of Denfeld High School now and Denfeld High School for many, many years to come.

Thank you for having me. Congratulations and God bless.

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