Many thanks to Carolyn Charles,
retired Park High teacher and official historian of St.
Louis Park Schools, for much of the following information.
St. Louis Park's Independent School District was organized
in March 1888 with two elementary schools. One of its
first tasks was to build a high school. The first lots
proposed for the school were rejected as being too close to
the railroad tracks. On June 26, 1889, the school
board accepted 3-6 lots donated by the St. Louis Park Land
and Development Company (T.B. Walker’s
group). The school was built in 1889 at a cost of
$8,500. The School Board and
the Village Council split the cost of the building, with the
Village Council to hold its meetings on the second floor.
Bonds to build a town hall were issued on December 20, 1889.
The school opened January 6, 1890, with James T. Davis as
Principal, Superintendent, and teacher.
Mary C. Bates was
the other teacher. (Mary's sisters Bertha and Irene Bates
were also teachers at the school at various times.) It
was named Lincoln School on July 12, 1890. The original school was only half the
size it came to be. A fire destroyed part of the building in
the early 1890s and when the repairs were made it was voted
to enlarge it. The top floor was used as a Village Assembly
room and the first floor for the school.
Lincoln School building in its later years. Note Fire
Barn at left.
On August 6, 1894, the School Board asked the Village
Council for a lease of the Village hall to the School Board
to be used for educational purposes only. The Council agreed
to lease the Hall to the School District for one year at
$12.50 per month. The council room would be retained by the
Council. 1894 was the year that St. Louis Park first had a
In 1900, the first seniors (six girls and a boy) graduated.
Early graduation ceremonies were held in the
Building 2nd floor, used as the Odd Fellows and Masons'
A commencement program for the eighth grade, Lincoln School,
was held on June 3, 1903. There were 19 graduates. At
the end of a program packed with songs and recitations,
Superintendent of Schools
Herbert Carleton presented the diplomas. The next
year he went into the real estate business.
In the early 1900s, the city issued $12,000 in bonds to
build the south end of the building. In 1902, the school was
transferred from the School District to the Village. In
1905, plumbing was installed.
The above picture is undated, but probably dates to the
Another undated picture shows a group of 30 Fourth and Fifth
graders looking very unhappy as they sit at their desks,
which are located at the back of Union Congregational
In 1914 the new junior/senior high school was built, and
Lincoln became a grade school, although in 1930 it housed
7th graders. The next year, the 7th graders were moved to
the Brick Block for lack of space.
The Lincoln Mothers' Club was organized in 1916. Mrs.
W.H.D. Reese was its first President. The mothers
provided hot lunches for the students and later raised funds
for a cook by serving at a banquet for the Commercial Club.
The group's constitution was drawn up in February 1917.
It successfully lobbied the School Board for a new oil stove
and "sanitary towels for the children."
Mrs. Wolford was Mothers' Club President in 1918. A
history of the group tells us "Attention was called to the
Dry Amendment and members were asked to use their influence
to make Minnesota dry." Donations were collected for
victims of the devastating fire in Northern Minnesota.
"Club helped arrange a home coming for the war boys."
School colors in 1919 were green and white.
Typical activities in the '20s were fundraising
carnivals, food drives for school lunches, and giving
Christmas parties and spring picnics for the children.
In 1927 the club "voted to give share for glass eye for
child at Oak Hill."
In 1928, the Mothers Club staged the play
“The Pranks at the Little Red School House.” This fundraiser
proved such a success that they staged it again at Miles
Standish School in Minneapolis.
1931 may have been the year that the Mothers' Club became
the PTA, as the president was a Mr. Whitfield. The
activities of the group reflected the Depression, as
collections were made for the needy.
In 1932 members of the PTA signed a petition to be sent
to Senators in Washington, DC regarding censorship of
Arthur Crosby was a janitor at the school in 1934.
In 1938, the building was sold for $1 to the village and was
used as the Village/City Hall until 1963. From 1938 to 1946,
the Hennepin County Historical Society occupied the second
floor. In 1946-47, Lincoln School was used as overflow
elementary school space for 120 students, grades 1-3. Other
tenants along the way were the WPA (1939-40), Camp Lincoln
Boys’ Camp (1946-49), Rural Hennepin County Nursing
Committee (1951-55), a drivers’ license bureau, the
of Commerce, and temporary Sunday School space for neighbor
Union Congregational Church.
In 1966 the building was sold to Minnesota Rubber for
$130,000. It was demolished shortly afterwards – a “giant
clam” took one week to level the venerable building.
The bell that had served Lincoln School was moved first to
the Central building when it was the High School and then to
the present-day High School, where it is displayed today.
The St. Louis Park Historical Society has a well-worn
painting of Abraham Lincoln from the school. Others have
other souvenirs, including, presumably, a bust of Lincoln
that was once on the landing on the way to the second floor.