Seven tennis courts and a discus/shotput-throwing area look to be almost ready at 725 N. Central Ave. The new courts and field will be used by tennis and track teams from Denfeld, as well as physical education students and other community members.
Starting this week, Selective Focus is changing direction. Instead of variations on a weekly theme as before, we will be posting brief profiles of visual artists and happenings around the area. We start it off with a collaborative project between UMD students and elementary students.
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.
With all the attention the local press has given to the closing of Central High School (and rightly so) there has been little mention of the closing of the original Laura MacArthur Elementary School. (A new MacArthur is being built across the street from the original.)
An open house was held at MacArthur yesterday as the last day of classes was wrapping up, so I brought my camera on a final tour before the place is demolished and turned into a field.
I attended MacArthur from the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1985, so that’s the frame of reference for nostalgic comments connected to any of the photos.
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.
This house at 738 N. Central Ave. in West Duluth was ripped down yesterday to make way for the new Laura MacArthur Elementary School. I think the new school will be great, and I have no particular reason to be sentimental about this house or any of the others on the block, but there’s something that punches me in the gut when I watch a house get smashed to bits.