One hundred years ago, Hibbing’s citizens were facing a major change in their lives. The move of the town, so the ore beneath their feet could be extracted, was about to begin.

Among the many decisions to be made was where the new school buildings would be located.

The town of Alice, about to be absorbed into the “new Hibbing,” already had one elementary school. However, as the population in this area was increasing substantially, there was no doubt that other elementary buildings would be necessary.

The Lincoln School, mentioned in the article, was the high school in north Hibbing. Morton and Penobscot Schools were among the nearly 20 location grade schools in the Hibbing district. The locations and their schools were named after the mines where the fathers of the children worked.

The following article from the Hibbing Daily Tribune on July 1, 1919, is the earliest one I have found that discusses the coming school plans. Please note the point made in the article about women being allowed to vote in school elections. (The 19th Amendment, granting all American women voting rights in all elections, was not ratified until August 1920.)

~ Mary Palcich Keyes

The Board of Education is calling for bids on desks, tables, chairs for the Lincoln, Morton, Penobscot and other schools. These bids will be opened on July 9.

New School – One of the big issues of the coming school election will be the erection of a new school. Although the Board has on several occasions discussed a new building, no final action has been taken. The question of a site will no doubt be one of the questions which will come up before the campaign is ended.

Women vote in the school elections and as a result one of the largest votes in years is expected. The city has grown considerably just since last year.


I imagine that throughout the summer of 1919 many discussions were happening concerning the schools and the coming election. Various locations for the new schools were scouted out, measured, and debated.

The Central Addition, that is the area close to Howard Street and going south into the heart of Alice, was beginning to show signs of new commercial development by 1919. Also, new homes, some of them very substantial, were being built along what is today 2nd and 3rd Avenues West.

The following is from an ad placed in the Hibbing Daily Tribune on June 24, 1919, from Jack’s Electric Shop “everything electrical”, which was located at 2509 1st Avenue with a phone number of 124. It gives readers today a little glimpse into what was happening at that time in Hibbing.

Perhaps Jack’s Electric hoped that some ladies would choose Jack’s for wiring a new home being built in a new Hibbing!

Notice! To the Ladies of Hibbing: Alice is growing, but as yet we have no lunch room or rest room. When spending a day in Alice, looking over Alice property, stop in at Jack’s Electric Shop on First Avenue, near the fire hall, and we will gladly fix you up a cup of tea, or cocoa, and a light lunch while you rest. We also have a ladies’ room.


Because that area of Alice was growing, a new elementary building was planned for that section of town, known as Ainsley’s Addition. Its site would be approved by Hibbing voters in the special election in September 1919.

The elementary school built there would be named Cobb-Cook.

It was named for Fred Cobb and Earl Cook, who were two of the first Hibbing boys to be killed in action during World War I. Cobb served in the United States Marine Corp. Cook served in the Canadian Air Force. Both died overseas in 1918.

Three weeks ago on this page, April 7, 2019, you might remember that there was a lovely picture of a teacher at the Kelly Lake school, Sara Gow, and one of her pupils, Clarence Kemp. From one of the readers of this page, Art Englund, I learned that Miss Gow went on to teach at the Cobb-Cook School, where Art says she was an excellent teacher! I also learned from Kathy Kemp Dolinich that Clarence was her father. He had quite a crush on his teacher and when he died in his 60s, Miss Gow attended his funeral.

The second site mentioned here, the one near Central Addition, would also be approved by the voters. It is the site where our magnificent high school resides today. Remember, that building originally housed kindergarten through two years of college.

The following article is taken from the Hibbing Daily Tribune, September 11, 1919.

Special School Election to Choose Two New Sites for Schools to be Sept. 27

The Voters of Hibbing will have an opportunity on September 27 to decide on two sites for the erection of two new school buildings in Alice. At an adjourned meeting of the Board of Education this morning, the members decided to take options on sites.

One is located near the Central Addition and is owned by the Oliver Mining Company and the other will be located in the southwest section of Alice. This specific second site has not been picked out by the Board of Education but will be this week.

A description of the two sites will be presented to the voters of Hibbing and by a “yes” or “no” vote they can determine if they want these sites or not. The need of two more grade buildings is an absolute necessity in order to take care of the overflow of pupils and the rapidly growing village.

At a later date a second election will be called to determine as to what kind of buildings are to be erected.

The election to choose a site will take place at the Jefferson School. Women, as is usual in school elections, will be entitled to the ballot.

The Board this morning increased the salaries of the janitors ten percent and outside of the determination to call a special election, only routine business was transacted.

Looking Back

The following items are taken from the Hibbing Daily Tribune or the Mesabi Ore, which are on microfilm at the Hibbing Public Library and/or Iron Range Resource Center at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.


July 20, 1909

The School Board election was held Saturday. It passed off quietly and the old members were re-elected without opposition, as follows: Director for two years: G.H. Thompson; Directors for three years: R. Geary and J.A. Redfern.


May 16, 1918

Doctor C.H. Schroder, secretary of the Medical Defense Committee, in an urgent appeal asks Range doctors to attend a patriotic meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 p.m. Saturday evening, May 18th. 5,000 doctors are needed at once for the Army and 2,000 for the Navy. These are in addition to those already enlisted. The government is anxious to have every physician 55 years or less enroll for service. Doctor H.R. Weirick, Chief of Staff of Hibbing’s Rood Hospital, is on the Auxiliary Committee for St. Louis County of the Advisory Committee for the National Medical Defence.


January 7, 1949

A Hibbing youth, John Ricke, 11, who swallowed a small nail yesterday afternoon, still was under observation today at the Hibbing General Hospital. Hospital attendants said he was in good condition. The boy swallowed the nail during a woodworking class at the Washington School.


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