Historic Schools – West Superior

West Superior

Built in 1884


In November of 1884, the foundation was laid for the first school building in what was then called West Superior on the northwest corner of North 7th Street and Hughitt Avenue. There were already schools active in East End and on Connor’s Point, some dating back to the 1860s. The building was a two-floor 40’ x 40’ wood-frame structure with a bell tower on the southwest corner.

Filling the Gap:

By December 1884 the roofing was added and the school was ready for classes sometime in 1885. In 1888 the need for more solid schoolhouses was answered with bids for the first two brick schools. The original Nelson Dewey public school in East Superior and the Matt Carpenter school on Hughitt next to the West Superior school. Carpenter’s foundation was laid in October 1888, with bricks first laid in March 1889. The new school was completed by September of that year. After completion there was no longer a need for the old wood-frame school building, so it was moved 8-blocks south down Hughitt to the block between 14th Street and Belknap.

Changing Needs:

Renamed the Belknap School, it remained at that location until the original James G. Blaine High School (built north of it in 1892-93) had an addition built on its south side. Construction of the addition to Blaine began in the summer of 1899. Once again the former West Superior School had to be moved. So it was decided to move it a second time about 8 blocks northeast to 7th Street and Clough Avenue to be used as a temporary annex to the John Ericsson Public School, which was constructed in 1892-93 during the second ‘brick school construction period’. This second period included construction of the Timothy Howe, Abraham Lincoln, William Cullen Bryant, and Peter Cooper schools. When the addition on Ericsson’s south side began construction in late 1903, the old West Superior/Belknap School had to be moved 100 feet on the same block out of the way of the new construction. The school board sealed the fate of the building on July 27th, 1904. Time after time the board thought the building would be sold, moved again, or torn down. Razing the building and using lumber and nails for the new building in Allouez was the decision. That new building would be Franklin school. It is unknown if the lumber and nails were reused as suggested.