December 14, 1920: New Superior school named for three-time mayor Martin Pattison

On this day across the bay in 1914, a brand new elementary school was named in honor of former mayor Martin Pattison, who had died two years earlier. The school had actually opened the day before and was known simply as the Twenty-first Street School for its location at 1016 North Twenty-first Street.  The announcement ended a minor controversy, as two other Superiorites were also in the running. Some citizens thought the school should be named for local banker H. H. Grace, recently deceased. Others thought that Faith Helen Rogers, a local girl who had died traveling to France, should be the building’s namesake. In the end, officials chose to name it for Pattison, according to the Duluth News Tribune, “because of his benevolence in the donating of Pattison Park, several acres of wild land near Superior.” Pattison, the beloved three-term mayor of Superior, purchased he land when he was a lumber baron; the fortune he made helped him build Fairlawn, Superior’s most famous home. The school building, according to newspapers, was “one of the most modern institutions in the state and was built the same year Superior reached its population peak at just over 40,000—the day after the school opened it was credited for helping to “remedy the congested school situation in the city.” The building was officially dedicated in January, 1921, and served the Superior School District until 2002. By then Superior’s population had dropped to 27,360. The building was demolished a few months after it closed. Martin Pattison was born Simon Thayer. Why did he change his name? Find out here.

Martin Pattison. (Image: Duluth Public LibraryP