Former Students Remember Happy Times at Morgan Park School

Northland Uncovered: Morgan Park School

DULUTH, Minn. – A school standing in Duluth for over 100 years is being torn down to make room for new apartments.

A fence and no trespassing signs now surround the old Morgan Park School.

These images representing a much different message than the one former students remember.

“It was like a big, happy community,” said 1980 graduate Mike Letica.

Built in 1916 as part of U.S. Steel’s planned model community, generations of Duluthians have graced the now empty halls.

“My father had gone to school here, too. All my brothers had gone to school here also,” said 1970 graduate Bob Berg.

Berg grew up across the street and attended Morgan Park from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

He describes a community feeling that he’s always felt about the Morgan Park neighborhood.

“It was a wonderful place to go to school,” said Berg.

Other former students, attending school a decade later, also experienced that feeling.

“I loved coming to school, I enjoyed every day here,” said Annette Sedor.

Sedor graduated from Duluth Denfeld in 1983.

She was forced to transfer for her senior year after the high school section of Morgan Park closed just the year before.

“We fought for it for as long as we could,” explained Sedor, “I remember walking the streets and having like a kind of a parade. We also went to the school board to fight to keep our school open.”

The efforts were in vain.

The high school section was closed in 1982.

“You can’t control all decisions and good things come to an end as other schools in our city have seen happen,” said retired teacher Jan Akervik.

Now, with the building being demolished to make room for the Morgan Park Estates, some students are experiencing a difficult transition.

“There was no more high school, there’s no more sporting events to go to, no more band concerts. It was all gone,” said Letica.

“I thought maybe it could’ve been turned into apartments, maybe kept the gym as part of a community center,” said Berg.

Sometimes it’s the wise words of a teacher who spent her entire 32-year career here needed to help the hundreds of her former students move forward.

“I hate to see it go, but at the same time, it’s another transition in life. And maybe because I’m a little bit older than a lot of the kids that were here I approach it a little differently,” explained Akervik.

The apartment building completion is expected sometime in 2019.

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