PDD Quiz: Duluth’s Historic Old Central High School

This month’s quiz looks at Duluth’s Historic Old Central High School, a property that has been hitting the headlines recently. Historic photographs come courtesy of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections, housed in the Archives and Special Collections of UMD’s Kathryn A. Martin Library. Find these (and additional photos of the school) in the Minnesota Digital Library. As always, the Zenith City website was also a critical source of historic information.

The next PDD quiz will review this month’s news; it will be published on May 30. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by May 25.

#1 In what year was Historic Old Central High School (then called Duluth High School) built?

Construction was completed in 1892; read about the high school’s dedication on the Zenith City website.

#2 Brownstone used to build the high school came from the south shore of Wisconsin and from Krause Quarry. Where was Krause Quarry located?

The Zenith City website has more information on Duluth’s brownstone quarries here. The photo above features workers at an unnamed Duluth brownstone quarry circa 1888.

#3 Stone carver O. George Thrana created numerous carvings for Duluth’s Historic Old Central High School. Where else in Duluth can you find Thrana’s work?

Read more about Thrana’s life and work on the Zenith City website.

#4 Architects Emmet S. Palmer and Lucien P. Hall designed the school in this architectural style.

The building was styled after the Allegheny Courthouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; read more on the Zenith City website.

#5 What is the name of the melody played by the bells to mark the time?

The Westminster Quarters mark each quarter hour. Pictured above is Arthur F.M. Custance’s Latin class in 1894.

#6 This president extolled the value of education during a speech at the high school on Oct. 13, 1899.

Read an excerpt of McKinley’s speech on PDD.

#7 A cannon from the Spanish-American War (which can be seen in front of the steps in this 1920 photo by Hugh McKenzie) used to sit in front of the school. What happened to the cannon?

Read more about the cannon on the Historic Old Central High School website.

#8 In what year was work complete on the new Central High School?

Historic Old Central High School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year.

#9 Duluth’s Historic Old Central High School can be seen in this 1994 Disney movie.

PDD has annotations on local connections to the movie here.

#10 Duluth Public Schools recently released the details of the purchase agreement for Historic Old Central High School. What is the selling price?

Saturday Properties, the developer, intends to turn the school into an apartment building. Read more on the Duluth News Tribune website.



Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

The photo with question #4 appears to include a horse pulling a wagonload of lumber downhill in winter. That's a thing I'll be happy to never have to be a part of in my life.

David Toshio Williams

about 3 years ago

I thought you were getting tricky there with number 8 (which I got right) but then you ruined it with your answer. The question was when was it no longer used as a school ... it was no longer used as a high school in 1973! It was no longer used as a "regular" school in 1982 (it served as Washington Jr.'s annex during that time ... those of us with homeroom over there kept our jackets in our lockers over there and walked outside without coats to get to the main building. And education continues at old Central to this day with special programming that could be construed as "school."

So the answer about classes moving to the new high school is incorrect as the high school classes had moved up the hill in 1974.


about 3 years ago

#8 was tricky. The class of 1972 graduated from the new building, and I thought 1982 made sense because of Washington Junior using the facility, but what about Unity School, which used Old Central as well?

Alison Moffat

about 3 years ago

Thanks for the feedback! I've updated question #8 for clarity.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
A Brief Remembrance of George Hovland

I’ve only been in Duluth for 20 years, so in relation to George Hovland’s life, I’m just a newcomer. Even...