Denfeld High School Posts

Another interesting Denfeld image


Just a little something I happened across on the job today.

Denfeld engraving still on MacArthur?

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.

Select Images from Denfeld’s 1938 Oracle

Fly high, Duluth! Senior Ralph Eisenach takes a running broad jump.

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.

You would like it in the Northern Plains: Duluth, Minnesota

This ad for Northern Natural Gas Company ran in Time magazine on Sept. 17, 1965. Hats off to Susie LeGarde Menz for the find.

Denfeld vs. Central: The Pranks


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.

Select Images from Denfeld’s first Oracle

Before there was a school called Denfeld, high school classes in West Duluth were held at Irving School.

Could any of these gals still be around?


As you can see, this picture is dated 1919. The girls look to be of elementary school age, so maybe one of them is still around today.

The location of the picture is the old Denfeld High School on Central Avenue, which is now Laura MacArthur Elementary School. There must have been elementary classes in the old Denfeld, or these are just random kids from the neighborhood, because none of them look old enough to be in high school.

The old Denfeld/MacArthur building will be torn down after the new MacArthur is built, but hopefully the old house in the background will keep on keepin’ on.


Denfeld vs. Central: Bookends to a Rivalry


Duluth Denfeld played Duluth Central tonight in high school football for what will very likely be the last time. Denfeld won 20-6 in front of a crowd of maybe 500 at Public Schools Stadium.

Before Denfeld had a football team, the big game in town was Central vs. Duluth Cathedral (now the Marshall School). But the Denfeld/Central rivalry was huge from the very beginning, and soon became the most important game in town.

There was an unofficial first game in 1916, in which Denfeld’s freshmen played Central’s freshmen to a tie. It was the only game Denfeld played that year. Having no coach, the Denfeld kids coached themselves.

The real first game was on Oct. 13, 1917 at Athletic Park (where Wade Stadium is today). Denfeld won 6-0. The Duluth News Tribune noted: “More than 1,000 students saw the contest, and school yells and cheers were not lacking, although various players were jeered by the opposing schools for tactics.”

It’s safe to say a strong rivalry was established from the very beginning, as this excerpt from the DNT story indicates.

Between halves a free-for-all fight started by rooters of both sides. Teachers of the schools also suffered. Members of the Fourth Minnesota Infantry came to the rescue and the belligerents were parted.

1935 Wheaties box featuring Frank “Butch” Larson

FrankLarson1Duluth native Frank “Butch” Larson appeared on Wheaties cereal boxes in 1935. Finding one of those boxes after 74 years might be a challenge.

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)

Last Look at Three West Duluth Structures


Anticipating the demolition of the Duluth Motel and Star Enterprises in West Duluth, I took a few photos two weeks ago. Both buildings are rubble now.

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