North Dakota’s Educational Heritage – Unearthing the 5 Oldest Schools That Withstood Time
A short while ago, we got into which school districts in North Dakota are considered to be the best. At lunch, discussions began on the North Dakota school districts or schools that have been around for the longest amount of time. As we began to speculate within the confines of the lunch table, everyone began to say it was the more rural communities in North Dakota. Little did we all know, that was not the case.
According to the Moms Who Think website, they went through tons of information and have identified the five oldest schools in North Dakota.
Grand Forks Central High School
Grand Forks Central High, North Dakota's oldest public high school, serves 1,000 ninth-12th graders. They graduated three ladies in 1886 after being founded in 1882. After improvements in 1911 and construction in 1917, the structure was razed in 1937 to create the auditorium. The restaurant, media center, and classrooms were renovated in 1985.
University of North Dakota
In 1883, the University of North Dakota began offering liberal arts and later scientific programs six years before North Dakota became a state. September 1884 saw the first classes. Old Main, the earliest building, included offices, dorms, classrooms, and a library. Students residing off-campus had to take a horse, cart, or rail to college across fields and farms. The state's oldest and largest 521-acre campus, the University of North Dakota, offers 225+ on-campus and online degrees to 13,876 students.
Woodrow Wilson School
This 1917 Fargo building was designed by Haxby and Braseth. In October 2012, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the city's second-oldest building and sole high school until 1921. For 95 years, it taught elementary grades and adult evening classes. It was an alternative high school until March 2012, when it moved to the Agassiz Building at 1305 9th Ave S, Fargo, 58103. Dakota High School was renamed in 2021. About 130 11th and 12th graders attend it. Students have a staff mentor and a maximum of 18 per class.
St John's Academy
St. John's Academy, founded in 1890, is a private Catholic school in Jamestown that serves 225 pre-K–6 students. On average, 23 students attend class. Their curriculum includes PE, music, and religion. The school serves breakfast and lunch, and the library offers counseling.
Oak Grove Lutheran School
When American moms could not vote, the Lutheran Free Church founded a girls' high school in 1906 in Fargo. The school taught Norwegian, Bible, music, and domestic studies. By 1926, boys could attend school. The Castle, the original campus building, was demolished after the 1936 flooding due to foundation concerns. In November 1947, a 60-student boys' residence opened. Gym and auditorium finished in January 1948. The school became Oak Grove Lutheran High School in 1952. Benson Hall, built in 1962 on the north side of campus, is largely utilized for high school classrooms. They added sixth grade and renamed it Oak Grove Lutheran School in 1997.
North Dakota's five oldest institutions have a rich educational history from the early 1800s. Imagine all the stories you would hear if all these walls could talk! Residents in these towns have restored these educational institutions with tons of community support from members and alumni, allowing future generations to grow and be proud of their heritage.
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