Longfellow Elementary

Longfellow Elementary School. (Image: Duluth Public Library)
6015 Elinor Street | Architect: Palmer & Hall | Built: 1891 | Lost: 1959

Slated to open in the fall of 1891, Longfellow Elementary didn’t see a student until April 1892 due to a scarlet fever epidemic. After that its twelve classrooms served West Duluth for over a half century. Named for American author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the facility sat on a hill on Elinor Street in West Duluth. The brick school featured many architectural details, including arched windows and corners dressed with quoins, but its most distinctive feature was its tower, which held no bell nor clock. Private sources raised the $3,000 needed to add the tower, which served as a landmark in West Duluth. In 1949 the Duluth News Tribune reported that mothers would tell their children, “if you ever get lost, just walk to the tower and all will be well.” The school’s most celebrated teacher, Laura MacArthur, arrived in 1896 to teach Latin, algebra, and civics to ninth graders. The elementary school closed in 1956 and stood empty; it was vandalized repeatedly, and a 1959 fire forced its demolition. The lot today remains vacant; only the stairs leading from Elinor Street remain.