October 28: 1905: Washburn Elementary School dedicated in Hunters Park

On this day in Duluth in 1905, officials dedicated Washburn Elementary School at 201 West St. Andrews Street in Hunter’s Park. The school, designed by Duluth architects Frederick German and Anton Lignell, was named for prominent Duluth Jed Washburn, a resident of Hunters Park. Other official were also lived in the neighborhood, including community founder Ronald M. Hunter, superintendent of schools Robert E. Denfeld, Glen Avon Presbyterian Church pastor  Reverend J. C. Faries, and W. E. Culkin, an attorney who in 1922 would help create the St. Louis County Historical Society (he was also the father of novelist Margaret Culkin Banning). Most of the event was spent praising the building’s namesake, attorney Jed L. Washburn. Washburn was then a member of Duluth’s Board of Education. According to the Duluth News Tribune, Washburn had donated the building’s site, provided the school with equipment for its manual training department, and spent a great deal of time overseeing the building’s construction. Culkin gave a grand speech about the building and education in general, then lavished praise on the structure’s namesake, stating that the new “temple of popular learning will long stand as a fitting monument to his devotion and foresight.” Washburn Elementary closed as a Duluth public school in 1993. Today the building is home to Duluth Bible Church. Both Washburn and his wife Alma were important figures in the history of education in Minnesota, and Washburn Hall on the original Duluth Normal School campus was also named for him. Read more about him here.

Washburn Elementary School. (Image: Zenith City Press)