Created By: North Dakota State University
Minnesota has long prided itself on its education system and Moorhead was no exception. Park Elementary School, built in 1900, was the fifth in a series of six schools the school district of Moorhead, founded in 1873, built between 1874 and 1920 and is the only one that survives. The school is also the last remaining elementary school built prior to WWII before it was popular to build schools in a modern design that looked forward instead of back. It is a two story classical revival building of local yellow brick, built and designed by the Hancock Brothers, George and Walter, of Fargo, North Dakota. They were responsible for rebuilding much of downtown Fargo after the fire of 1893 and became the first licensed architects in North Dakota in after a 1917 law was passed.
The school is unique in that it shows the strive for excellencein education being pushed for around the country at that time. Many schools being built in North Dakota and Minnesota were still following a one room schoolhouse layout. Park Elementary School was built as a ward school. Ward schools separated the grades into different rooms. In 1919, excitement over a possible population boom led to an addition being built, giving the school its "L" shape, but the addition was never really needed. In 1950 there was a growing focus on physical education and a gymnasium was built, using the same bricks as the main school building. Park Elementary School closed in the mid-1970's due to low attendance. It was transformed into Park Private School in 1984 after serving as a private parochial school for 8 years. That school closed in 1986. Today the school is used as an apartment building and for various community programs.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Moorhead Historic Preservation Walking Tour