Welcome Fellow Trojans

 Duluth Central relics find a home for all to see

An auction of school memorabilia last summer galvanized alumni of the now defunct school in the center of Duluth. 

By Jana Hollingsworth Star Tribune

 

JUNE 16, 2023 — 9:23AM

DULUTH — Duluth Central High School alumni, clad in letter jackets and sweaters, Trojan red and white and even a marching band uniform, unveiled the new home this week of more than a century of memorabilia from the now defunct school.

A free summer exhibit opened at the Duluth Depot on June 12, the answer to a problem that arose last summer when contents of a school museum were put up for auction.

Alumni of both downtown's Historic Old Central High School and the "new" Central school that replaced it on the hillside gathered to mark the opening, including two former Duluth mayors, Don Ness and Gary Doty.

"For 120 years, Duluth Central was the cornerstone of our community," Ness said, with roughly 40,000 graduates who have "done amazing things within our community, our nation and across the world. … Our goal is to protect, cultivate and celebrate the proud history and ongoing legacy of Duluth Central."

The exhibit is the culmination of efforts begun when news of the auction of items from the historic school's 1890s museum was announced. The original Central, more than 130 years old and on the National Register of Historic Places, is being converted into apartments. There was no longer space for the museum contents, and the Duluth school district said it didn't own the items and did not have space in its new administrative building under construction. It vacated the building, most recently used for administration, in recent years.

A new alumni association formed last summer to collect and preserve items from the schools.

The exhibit in the Depot's Fesler Gallery consists of mostly memorabilia from the original Central, but some important pieces from the now demolished new Central are included, such as a slice of the gym floor, letters spelling out the name that were once affixed to the building and the cornerstone engraved with 1971, the year the school opened. Its last class graduated in 2011, as part of the Duluth school district's massive building consolidation and construction plan, known as the Red Plan.

There was much controversy surrounding the decision to close Central, considered by many as the heart of the city, both for its longevity and its geographic location.

"There is probably nothing more historic in the city than Old Duluth Central," said Doty, a 1966 graduate of the school. "Everybody knows somebody who went to Central."

Notable graduates include Michael Baker, drummer and musical director for Whitney Houston, Minnesota politician Sam Solon, civil rights activist Ethel Ray Nance and Don LaFontaine, a voice actor who recorded film trailers.

The collection will go back into storage at the end of the season, but the Duluth Central Alumni Association hopes to have the exhibit shown annually during the summer, when reunions are largely held. Only about 20% of the collection, which continues to grow as alumni donate to it, is represented at the Depot, Ness said.

Alumnus Gary Lundstrom, who designed the exhibit, said it's full of ways for visitors to make personal connections to the past.

"Despite the recent blows that our school had in these last years, [the association] is committed to making sure the memories of our school aren't fading," he said.

Jana Hollingsworth is a reporter covering a range of topics in Duluth and northeastern Minnesota for the Star Tribune. Sign up to receive the new North Report newsletter.

Many of you may not know this, but our dear old Central building is being converted to apartments and the "new" Central has been demolished. The vesitges of our high school life are being somewhat erased from Duluth. 
Former Duluth Mayor, Don Ness, has formed a group called the "Duluth Central Alumni Association". He has a Facebook site with that name. If you are on Facebook, please visit the site and follow along. We need to keep our high school legacy strong!

Creation of the Duluth Central Alumni Association

A small group of Duluth Central Alumni have been meeting over the course of the past six months to establish a new alumni focused non-profit organization focused on preserving and promoting the legacy of Duluth Central High School and its alumni.

There are no shortage of exciting ideas for how Central alumni can work together to ensure that the Trojan spirit lives on. We will need your help to bring these ideas (and others) to life.

We are heartbroken to see the Old Central Building sold and the New Central Building demolished. So while we are still in the very early stages of creating this organization, we felt it important to start bringing fellow Central Trojans together for this purpose.

Please help us spread the word and to encourage as many Central Alumni to sign up for this group - in the coming months we will share more details on how folks can get involved and support these efforts. 

Please visit his site on Facebook:
Duluth Central Alumni Association 





We have updated the "In Memory" pages with the names of all classmates who have passed away, that we are aware of. If you know of any other classmates who should be added to our "In Memory" section, please let us know. Thank you! 

 Also, if you want to log in and have forgotten your password, just send us a quick note on the "ContactUs" link on the left and we will resend it to you.

 

811457 Visitors
Sponsor Your Site
Support your class reunion website by purchasing a Sponsor Box! LEARN MORE »
www.ClassQUEST.com