June 8, 1891: Cornerstone laid for Duluth Central High School

On this day in Duluth in 1891, between 4,000 and 7,000 Duluthians showed up at a construction site to watch workman lay the cornerstone for Duluth’s Central High School, known today as “Old Central.” School Board president W. C. White acted as master of ceremonies and Reverend C. C. Salter led a prayer asking for “divine blessing on those present.” Following that, over 1,000 school children sang “America” and White gave a history of schools in Duluth since 1856. The new building was constructed near the site of the 1886 Duluth High School. Memorabilia from that school as well as a list of the names of every child enrolled in Duluth Public Schools in 1891 were placed in a copper box and buried beneath the cornerstone. The school, designed by Emmet S. Palmer and Lucien P. Hall, was modeled after the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Old Central closed as a school in 1971 and now serves as the Duluth School District’s Administrative offices.

The 1892 Duluth Central High School. (Image: Zenith City Press)