High School


Crookston High School was founded in 1890 with the first graduation in June of 1891. There were four graduates in the first graduating class.

High schools were a relatively new concept at the time, as an eighth grade education was the norm, and served to train graduates to enter the work world with a trade.

There were only 17 graduates in the first four years, seven males and ten females. For many years, females vastly out-numbered males, as teacher education was a main part of a high school education.

Many of the graduates in the first few years, were not Crookston natives but came from cities as near as East Grand Forks and as far as Seattle, Washington.


There have been four buildings that have housed Crookston High School.

  • Lincoln School from the Fall of 1890 to October of 1895.
  • Crookston High School, October 1895 to 1914.
  • Central High School, 1915 to 1997, with additions in 1935 and 1957.
  • Crookston High School, 1997 to present.

The first high school classes were held in Lincoln School whose primary purpose was to be a grade school. Room for the High School had been included when Lincoln was constructed along Elm Street and between Third and Fourth Streets. The following was found in “The Knocker” of 1905. . . . . . ”room in the grade school having been set aside for this purpose. But a few years later, on account of the great increase in the enrollment of the High School, this building became too small and it became imperative to erect a newer and a larger High School building. So in the spring of 1895, the tax payers voted the bonds for a new building. This building, which is the one in present use, was constructed during the summer and was first occupjed in October of 1895. It is electric lighted, and heated by steam, which is conducted by pipes leading from boilers in the basement of the Lincolm school. It is provided with an assembly hall, recitation rooms, chemical and physical laboratories. The physical and chemical laboratories are well provided with apparatus and chemicals for making experiments. The building also contains the office of the superintendent of schools. In 1904 the assembly hall was divided into three recitation rooms by means of two sliding doors making it more convenient and at the same time providing more room.

The original cost of the High School building was about $14,000 and its seating capacity 215. Since that time improvements in the building have added slightly to the orginal cost.”


There were a number of curriculums offered at Crookston High School meant to give graduates the tools to enter the work world with a trade.
Normal Department. The Normal Department had been established during the 1904-05 school year to train students to become teachers upon completion of the course work and passing a state exam. In the first five years, nearly 200 students had taken the training. The Normal Department moved a great deal, having been located at Lincoln School, the High School, the new Franklin School and then to the 1914 High School.
Commerce Department. A business career was the goal of a Commerce Department graduate. Courses were offered in Bookkeeping, Gregg Shorthand, Banking, Business Law, Typing and Penmanship.
Manual/Industrial Training. Carpentry and Mechanical Drawing classes were the emphasis of this department.
Domestic Science. The Domestic Science courses included classes in Household Chemistry, Household Management, Cooking and Sewing.
General/Science/Classical. These offererings were meant for students who wanted to go on to college. Mathematics, Science, English, Social Science, Art, Music and language classes were the core classes.


There have been a number of student produced periodic publications through the years.

The first “Annuals” were titled “The Knocker”. The Knocker was first published in 1905 and 1906. It is reported, by the 1930 Optimist, that annuals for 1907 and 1908 were published, but we do not know the title. The same is true for 1916. There was not an annual published in 1913.

A number of periodic newspapers have been found, beginning with “The Little Press” in 1909. The Little Press would dedicate issues to classes or events, something they called “numbers”. Some examples of this would be the “Freshman Number”, “Sophomore Number” and “Junior Number”.

They did this because the end of the year issue, or Annual, was always dedicated to the Senior Class. The Senior Class was also responsible for all publications. The only known exception was the “Central High Reporter” which was known to exist in 1917 and published by the Junior Class.

In 1910, the name changed from “The Little Press” to “The Shadow”, even though “The Shadow” was a school magazine for some time before 1905 according to the 1930 Optimist. In 1911 and 1914, the annual edition was simply called “The Annual”. The senior annual of 1912 was called “The Crook”. “The Kodak” appeared in 1915.

The first “Optimist” appeared in 1917 and has existed ever since.

January 26, 1926 was the first edition of “The Pepster”.


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