School Building has its Own History Lesson

by | Aug 2021

Historic photo of Excelsior High School

Photo: Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society

In March 1915, ground was broken for the construction of Excelsior High School on the corner of what is today Highway 7 and Oak Street. The red brick building with white stone belting was designed by LeRoy Kinport of Manitou. Construction of the two-story building was completed in September 1915 at a cost of about $48,000.

On March 9, 1928, a fire broke out while the majority of the town, including most of the fire department, was in Hopkins cheering on the Excelsior High School basketball team in the district finals. The building was left in ruins, and the 200 students were given an impromptu vacation.

Repairs and expansions were completed by architects Stebbins, Haxby and Bissell of Minneapolis. The Standard Construction Company of Minneapolis seamlessly matched the old brick for repairs, the new construction of an auditorium and gymnasium and 12 additional classrooms at a cost of $167,000.

In 1952, the building was converted into Excelsior Junior High School with the construction of Minnetonka High School. Junior high students left in March 1964 for the new East and West junior high schools, and the building was converted to elementary use in the fall of 1964.

Scott McGinnis is a retired historian and volunteer for the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society.


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