Inside Denfeld’s Renovation


This is the view looking up from inside the new main entrance to Denfeld High School. The main floor of the new addition connects to the old building through the auditorium lobby. The main floor of the addition will include a new cafeteria and common area, administrative offices and media center.

There’s still a lot of work to be done before the school opens next fall, but the project is ahead of schedule and students who are attending Central this year will be able to graduate in the Denfeld auditorium in the spring.


Above is a former exterior wall that has become an interior wall. It’s the wall that faced the old parking lot.


Here’s an old detail from the original building that was revealed on a gutted wall. Pfeffer Construction was the general contractor when Denfeld was built in 1926.


In case you’ve never seen the wonderful maze that is Denfeld’s basement, the area shown above runs under the first floor hallway. Apparently, it was possible to listen in on any of the building’s classrooms through the ducts down there.


The plaque on this relic reads:

Mechanical Equipment
Denfeld Senior High School
Duluth Board of Education
Arthur J. Ward, chief engineer
Holstead & Sullivan, architects
Charles Foster, consulting engineer


By the way, it’s been a while since Denfeld had driver’s ed classes, ay?

Construction photos from earlier this summer can be scene on the Denfeld Alumni Association website.



about 12 years ago

I remember taking drivers ed in 1990 in the basement of Denfeld in one of those contraptions.  I was sophomore back then and its kinda funny to think back and remember "driving" in that thing in front of a movie screen and projector.  Oh, the olden days.

Barrett Chase

about 12 years ago

I remember in 1988, they announced there would be no driver's ed class that year due to lack of interest. I thought they never offered them again, but they must have brought them back in 1990.


about 12 years ago

I took driver's ed from Mr. Busch during the winter/spring of 1995 right in one of those contraptions.  Personally, getting to see those parts of the basement was worth the price of admission alone!

Jenine Novack

about 12 years ago

Oh, I am much older than all of you. In 1976 they brought these contraptions to the side of the school in the parking lot in a trailer.


about 12 years ago

As someone often in contact with the schools and the kids, I have to say a couple things, regardless of the politics of the Red Plan:

1. The kids are really looking forward to their new building, and so am I. The shabbiness of some of the rooms was pretty sad. 

2. I'm glad it's the last winter I'll have to drive up that stupidly steep road to Central. 

3. The sooner they get rid of the candy-culture at Morgan Park, the better for us all.


about 12 years ago

re number 2. - at least it's not stupidly flat Nebraska.

Tim L.

about 12 years ago

Great pictures, Paul!   Thanks for posting them.

I too had driver's ed. in the simulatr trailer that they'd haul into the parking lot each year.  There were about 20 "ontraptions"in it and Mr. Phillips could monitor the speed, etc. for each one from a master control board.  So as soon as you floored it, you'd hear him say, "Mr. Johnson, this is not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Sloooow doooown."


about 12 years ago

Does anyone know (Paul) if fixing the clock is part of the planned renovations? I worked there the last four years and don't recall it ever working.

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

Rij, I'll see what I can do about answering that question. In the meantime, here are two more perspectives on the incorrect clocktower:


about 12 years ago

I had driver's ed in simulators in a trailer in stupidly flat Nebraska.


about 12 years ago

Brian, me too.  They'd pull up the trailer and drop it in the school parking lot.


about 12 years ago

Thanks for posting -- we're a 3rd generation Denfeld family. My son will start his high school career in the remodeled building next year.

I don't recall the simulators but do remember our class' first foray in real vehicles in the school parking lot. Nobody wanted to get stuck with the stick shift pick-up. I also remember Mr. Phillips saying, as I cautiously drove up around Horseshoe Bend,  "Keep your speed up, keep your speed up."

Nancy Swartout

about 12 years ago

Memories!  Driver's training in the trailers - that's how we did it in the 70s.  

Hopefully, when we have our 40th Class Reunion next summer, a tour of the "new" school can be arranged.  Paul, something you could arrange possibly?  Please.  See you then.


about 12 years ago

hbh: what's a candy-culture?

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

I'm told construction should be completed in early July, so tours for class reunions should be possible in August.

Kevin S.

about 11 years ago

Also 1995 with Mr. Busch.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

By the way, there are new (or more recent, at least) Denfeld renovation photos at

And to answer a question from seven months ago, yes, the clocks are going to be fixed on the tower so they show the correct time.

Sara Glapa

about 7 years ago

I miss that school. I wish they didn't have to ruin it by adding on. The basement looks creepy and I remember sitting on there learning to drive. It was fun.

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