Old Central High School display closes with a look to the future

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:33 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Grads of the historic old Central High School have had a fun summer with a mini-museum for their alma mater open at the Depot in Duluth.

However, summer is over so it’s time for the display to end.

Central alumni are invited to a closing ceremony Thursday, and they’re being asked to bring ideas for a permanent home for their school’s mementos.

Like any high school, alumni of Duluth Central have a certain esprit de corps.

Freshly retired teacher Carol Nadeau Riley, Class of ‘76, is heading to a special event for Trojans this week.

“You were just part of it, everyone was part of it and so I’ll always be a Trojan,” says Riley.

It’s part of the summer of Central display that’s been at the Depot since June.

“They are doing one final hurrah for the exhibit on September 14, and there’s an all-class reception from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” said Matt Sjelin, Class of ‘99.

Artist Gary Lundstrom created the display of Central memorabilia that celebrated the legacy of a school that closed in 2011.

Part of the reception will be open to brainstorming by grads to find a new place to store the Central mementos when the depot display closes.

The yearbooks, for example, can be viewed for free at the Karpeles Document Museum on East 1st Street thanks to former Historic Central classroom curator Gary Glass.

“He wanted a chance to rescue these from auction, and he approached me and asked me if I had some space where he could work on curating it,” said Sjelin.

Any potential future Central museum space will need enough room for pieces of gym floor and a large model of the historic downtown building.

Grads are glad their alumni association is looking.

“You know, we want to do something in the community to keep that spirit alive and keep our history alive,” Riley said.

Along with Central, the Karpeles Museum also hopes to create nooks for the yearbooks of Denfeld and East High Schools someday.

Central closed about 12 years ago when the district consolidated high schools.

A developer recently bought most of the property.

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