Help name these Denfeld Hunters. The image above is one of three dated Nov. 29, 1951 that were listed for sale on eBay. The description read: “These three photos were of the football players from Denfeld High School in Duluth, Minnesota. The sign in the background says Public Schools Stadium. The photos are from 1951. Two of the boys are identified: Eli Miletich and Richard Wilson. Eli Miletich gained some local celebrity later in life on the Duluth Police force.”
So, who can name the other two gridiron greats from West Duluth?
It’s been 25 years since Denfeld played in the 1989 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. Through the miracle of shaky old VHS tapes, we take a look back. Above is the gloriously cheesy video profiling the school, produced for between-period entertainment.
Below are local TV news highlights of Denfeld’s route to the tournament.
The video above, by Mark Ryan, is a collection of film footage from 1970 of dudes hanging out at the old London Inn and other places in eastern Duluth, flipping off the camera. It first appeared on PDD in 2008.
I brought it back for this post because I just came across some footage I shot in the halls of Denfeld on Oct. 17, 1988, that I hope is of similar quality.
Part of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament experience is the creation of a cheesy music video highlighting the school and the team. The Hunters did not disappoint with this clip. Yes, there are all the mullets and protruding bangs you would expect, along with plenty of guitar air-jamming.
The images in this post are all from various collages in the 1921 yearbook, so unfortunately they were about one-inch-high and don’t look very sharp when blown up. In gallery form, however, they are adequate enough.
As most people know, the southern wing of the old MacArthur Elementary School was built in 1915 as Denfeld High School. (The modern Denfeld opened in 1926 and the old Denfeld became West Junior; MacArthur was built in 1957; West closed and became part of MacArthur in 1983; MacArthur was replaced with a new building this past fall). The photo above is of the 56th Avenue West entrance to the old MacArthur, which has always been considered the back door.
The section of the building that protrudes out and comprises the rear entrance is not original. It was built in 1994 to provide an elevator for improved handicap accessibility. There was a stone block over the entryway, covered by this addition, that read “Robert E. Denfeld High School.”
If anyone has old photos of the entryway, please post them. The old MacArthur is in the process of being gutted and prepared for demolition, so if that entryway exists under the current one and anyone would like it to be saved and either left on the current site as a monument to the old Denfeld or moved to the current Denfeld campus, the time to act is drawing short.
Update: All evidence points to the conclusion that the old Denfeld block was removed in 1994. Details in the comments.
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.
Now that the Denfeld and Central High School student bodies have been united, it seems like a good time to look back at some of the pranks students played on each other.
The most infamous, of course, was during the 1974-75 school year. Denfeld kids somehow managed to hoist a Volkswagon to the top of Central High School. The car had “Hunters” painted on the side.
The statute of limitations is probably up, so anyone willing to come forward, admit participation and explain how it was done will surely be held harmless. (Although I can’t promise some middle-aged Central grad won’t toilet paper your house. And I suppose administrators could still revoke your diploma. Better keep quiet.)
One rumor I heard was that the whole prank was based on a lesson from a physics class at Denfeld.
Another prank I remember hearing about, I think also from the 1970s, involved Denfeld kids setting a greased pig loose at Central. Again, anyone with details should chime in on the comments.
And, of course, there was the fall of 1979, when Central kids threw eggs at the Denfeld marching band before the Homecoming game, which prompted Denfeld kids to throw eggs at Central’s band during halftime. I think that was the last significant prank before Duluth Public Schools entered an era of civility and brotherhood and whatnot.
Certainly there were some other good pranks not mentioned here. Let the discussion begin. Hell, we’ll even let cake eaters participate.