Fanklin Elementary

Franklin Elementary. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

411 East 7th Street | Architect: Palmer & Hall | Built: 1888 | Lost: 1979

Built in 1888 and opened in January 1889, Franklin School took the place of an earlier wooden school of the same name that stood on the same lot. That first Franklin School (both were named for Benjamin Franklin) was moved to Minnesota Point and took on the name Cleveland Elementary. The 1888 Franklin School contained twelve classrooms designed to support 650 students. In 1907 fire severely damaged the school, and the city had it rebuilt. A new wing was added in 1939, when Franklin became a junior high school. Duluth Junior College held classes there from 1946 to 1950. The Duluth School Board’s 1972 decision to close Franklin (as well as Munger Elementary) brought strong opposition from parents of Franklin students, who fought to have the school — called “the only racially segregated school in Duluth” by the Duluth News Tribune—converted to an “open school.” The parents won, but the Duluth Open School closed in 1977 due to lack of enrollment. Two years later the building came down; the lot is now used as the Hillside Sports Court.