Looking back: A history of supporting Albert Lea’s schools

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Looking Back by Linda Evenson


Albert Lea’s first school session started on Dec. 5, 1857, in a structure originally built as a store. From a small beginning, the education of students has been a continuous process for the community.  School buildings, public and private, have populated the city’s landscape for generations.

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Albert Lea’s history has included primary, elementary, middle, junior high and high schools plus business schools, a junior college and colleges. In the 101 years following that first class, some past and present schools have included the primary school, Ramsey (Third Ward), New Denmark, Northside, Abbott, Oakwood, Lincoln, Central, St. Theodore, Halverson, Hawthorne, Sibley, Southwest, St. Mary, Albert Lea High School, Luther Academy, Albert Lea Business College, Naeve Hospital School of Nursing, Albert Lea Junior College and Albert Lea College for Women.

The school block on West Clark, West Avenue and Water Street experienced a major transformation from 1938 to 1940. Through the Public Works Administration program, Lincoln School, the Practical Arts building and the auditorium were constructed and the junior high remodeled. The cost of the project was $546,000. Dedication of the buildings was on March 4, 1940. More than 3,000 people attended the event.