Denfeld History

Irving School

Construction began on Irving Elementary School in 1891 and it opened for classes in 1893. The building was designed in the Renaissance-Revival style by Duluth architects Emmet Palmer, Lucien Hall and William Hunt. Their design served as the prototype for the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Old Main building, which was destroyed by fire in the early 1990s.

Located at 101 N. 56th Ave. W., Irving was originally an elementary school. It expanded in 1905 to include high school courses, serving as the predecessor to Denfeld High School. It was known for some years as Duluth Industrial High School.

In 1915, a new building was built to house the high school, which changed its name to Denfeld. Irving then became a girls-only junior high school.

In 1926, Irving was returned to its original format, serving as an elementary school.

Irving closed in 1982, and the Duluth School District sold the building to a private developer. The plan was for the building to house some small shops and apartments, but the developer ran out of funds.

The Alexander Company Inc. acquired Irving in 1992. A $4 million renovation project converted it into a 44-unit apartment complex. Upper Minnesota Properties, a subsidiary of Minnesota Power, assumed ownership on May 6, 1994.

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