Morgan Park High School Memories

This year marks the end of the line for classes at what is now Morgan Park Middle School; students from Morgan Park will attend classes at the new Lincoln Park Middle School starting in the fall.

It’s also the 30th anniversary of the closing of Morgan Park High School in that building; the high school combined with Denfeld in 1982, and the building then housed a junior high and, later, a middle school.

This week’s News Tribune Sunday Opinion section features memories of Morgan Park, and I thought it was a good time to dig up some more photos of the school from the News Tribune Attic. These photos are from the last years of Morgan Park High School; click on the photos for larger versions, and enjoy (and look for a surprise in one of these pictures)…

At a noisy pep rally on March 7, 1979, at Morgan Park High School, faculty members staged a parody of the Lake City cheerleaders and basketball team, which Morgan Park will meet in the state Class A tournament later in the week at the Met Sports Center in Bloomington. (Charles Curtis / Duluth Herald)


Morgan Park High School Principal Milan Karich asks students not to walk out of classes on March 25, 1981, to protest plans to close the school. (Karl Jaros / Duluth Herald)


Morgan Park students march down 88th Avenue West on April 1, 1981, during a protest against plans to close the senior high school. (Charles Curtis / Duluth Herald)


Morgan Park students march down 88th Avenue West on April 1, 1981, during a protest against plans to close the senior high school. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)


Morgan Park junior and senior high school students listen to Duluth Schools Superintendent Richard Pearson on April 13, 1981, in the school auditorium as he discusses plans to close the senior high school. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)


Morgan Park students watch a Dec. 3, 1981, hearing on plans to close the senior high portion of their school. (Bob King / News-Tribune)


Morgan Park High School senior Chris Black and junior Bob Delancey work on May 11, 1982, on an 8-foot-by-8-foot sports mural titled “Winners,” to be included in the school’s Festival of Arts exhibit in the school library. (Jack Rendulich / News-Tribune)


Although they may be among the last seniors to graduate from Morgan Park High School, Terri Smith (front left) and Mary Spehar (front right) appear ebullient on June 8, 1982, as they rehearse for the graduation ceremony. (Jack Rendulich / Duluth Herald)


Morgan Park seventh-grader Chris Skull leans back and puts his feet up on his teacher’s desk while talking to classmates Bill Gronseth (center) and Laura Sinclair on the last day of the school year at Morgan Park on June 10, 1982. At the time, it was unclear if high school students would be returning to the school in the fall. (Joey McLeister / News-Tribune)


Morgan Park football coach Kyle Inforzato speaks with some of his team members and backers at a potluck dinner held in the school’s cafeteria on Aug. 28, 1982. The team’s fate was up in the air at the time after the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling that had barred the school district from closing the senior high school. (Joey McLeister / News-Tribune)


The Duluth School Board voted in December 1981 to close Morgan Park Senior High School at the end of the 1981-82 school year. Eleven residents and 10 community groups challenged that decision in District Court, and in July 1982 a judge barred the school district from closing the senior high and transferring its 253 students to Denfeld.

But on Aug. 27, 1982, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the District Court ruling and allowed the school district to move ahead with closure plans.

Recognize anyone in these photos? Share your stories and memories by posting a comment.

8 Responses

  1. Jim

    I drove by Morgan Park School and thought that there is nothing sadder than an empty former High School. I had the same feeling in Riverton and Pipestone, Mn where I saw empty High Schools.
    I went over and watched the peewee tournament being played at the park nearby. Kids playing hockey outdoors next to the St Louis River had a sense of timelessness to it.

  2. Proud to be a Wildcat

    I’m proud to be a Morgan Park Wildcat! Morgan Park High School was a place like no other. Everyone looked out for each other. There was a sense of pride throughout the community. I remember on the first day of seventh grade. The choir director and band director taught us the school song. Throughout my years at Morgan Park (I was fortunate to graduate in the last class-1982) I have many fond memories like: not having to try out for most sports teams, being able to compete against senior high athletes when I was only in junior high, pep assemblies that raised the roof in the gym, looking up to “older” kids and looking forward to being an “older” kid some day, teachers who cared about students and went the extra mile to make learning fun and exciting, going to school with friends K-12, discipline, and being able to say hello to everyone I saw in the hallway and call them by name. I feel sad for all kids that go through the closing of their high school. That is their identity and the most important thing in their life. Eventhough Morgan Park is closing, the memories will always be close to my heart. I will always be a Wildcat and proud of it!
    P.S. Look in one picture, and you will see our current Superintendent!

    1. Andrew

      The superintendent photo was the “surprise” I referred to for anyone who had not yet caught that

  3. GladIleft

    It was a good thing it closed. The people, and the students, were insular and generally abusive to anyone different or an outsider. The best thing that happened was for them to be pushed into a larger world where they simply didn’t matter as much. Closing it probably helped more people than it hurt; they simply didn’t have to deal with simpletons anymore and could take advantage of other opportunities.

Comments are closed.