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Northwoods School    

Northwood School District:  A History From 1899-1979
By Julius Richard
Northwood  School  Dist.  Board of  Educ. Clerk

Printed in the Spooner Advocate - 16 August  1979

Donated by Faith Yeager

Minong’s first public school was opened in the year 1889.  The school was located in the little house behind the Pentecostal Church.  The teacher was Nellie Saule, and there was an enrollment of nine students.  School was next held in the Presbyterian Church for approximately sixteen years.

In 1897 there were twenty-two students enrolled.  In 1897, to be certified, teachers had to prove to the County Superintendent that they had taught twelve full months.

In 1908 a new school was built on the present site.  It had two large classrooms and an office.  A full basement contained a coal bin, boiler for hot water heat, and chemical toilets for both boys and girls.  Two teachers taught grades one through eight.

In 1913 a second story was built and grades nine and ten were added.  This second story consisted of two classrooms, a large assembly hall that had sliding doors so it could be divided into two rooms, (one for high school students and one for seventh and eighth grade students).  A male principal was hired to teach grades nine and ten.

District School

 On May 20, 1915, the legally qualified voters, men and women of School District No.1,  Town of Minong,  assembled at a Special District Meeting,  voted up and adopted the following Resolution,  submitted by the School District Board of said School District No. 1.

Resolved that a district free high school be established, organized, and maintained in School District No. 1,  Town of Minong, Washburn County, Wisconsin

It is hereby further certified that said election was held pursuant to Law and after due notification and that the electors voted by ballot as follows:  Males: For district free high school 31;  Against district free high school, 0.  Females:  For district free high school,  13;  Against district free high school, 1.  Total votes for the district high school 44;  Total votes against district free high school,  1.


R.E. Sutherland, Director
A.E. Adams, Clerk
Minnie Fournier, Treasurer

The Village of Minong was incorporated this same year.  The Minong School District No.1 included just the Village.  The first class graduated in 1917 and was composed of the following five persons;  Elias and Dorothy Sutherland, Iva Harnden, George Sampson, and Donald Kremer.  The principal was Grover C. Fillbach.  There were five teachers including the Principal at this time.  The 1918 graduating class of three included Alice Bush, George Nordholm,  and Elva Smith.

Competitive Sports

 In the early and mid 1920’s, basketball and baseball were the only competitive sports, and trips were made by train.  The players stayed over night in hotels or each player from the opposing team took a player home to stay over night, then they came home the next day.  The Minong High School had a fine girl’s basketball team then.

In the early years, students were transported to school with horses and covered wagons in the Fall and Spring, or horses and covered sleds in the winter months.  Later private cars came into use.

Due to overcrowding in the main school in the 1925-26 school year, grades six, seven and eight;  with one teacher, were moved to one room in the Minong Town Hall.  It was located in the Village of Minong.  These grades returned to the main school the following year.

Grades 3 through 5 of Northwoods School in 1925 included, in back row, from left:  Doris Parent, Joe Stewart, Beatrice Richard, Eva Billingsley, Alice Thompson, Grace Denham, Gertie Thompson, Art Williams, Jule Richard, Roy MyKelby, Sam Thompson and Lucille Lord.  Front row (standing): Bertha Warner, Paul Swanson, Marie Stewart, Helen Hunt, Martha Swanson, Edna Evenson, Billy Gagnon, Donna Cox, Helen Denham, Devonna Jones.  Front row (seated): Lyndon Smith, Irvin Evenson, Jim Denham, Arnold Anderson, Clinton Lord, Howard Hurd, Pat White, Clifford Lord, Chapman, Chapman, Mike White, Grey Cox.  Teachers: Florence Johnson, Principal: Bill Calhoun.

On February 25, 1935, the school was destroyed by fire.  For the remainder of the 1934-35 school year and until the start of the 1937-38 school year, school was held in the Presbyterian Church, Minong Town Hall, vacant Village Power House, and the old Bank Building, the three story section that is in use today.

Hot Lunch

 In 1937 the hot lunch program was started.  In 1939 there were eight teachers. Olive Smith - Grades One and Two; Lyall Hickson - Grades Three and Four; Marjorie Evenson - Grades Five and Six; Harold Gramberg - Grades Seven and Eight; Marcella Wall - High School; E.L. Hindes - High School. Music Department: R.J. Schofield - Horns and Piano, and Edward Nordholm - Strings.

In 1942, school districts in the Town of Minong consolidated with the Minong School District No. 1.  In 1949, districts in the Town of Frog Creek consolidated with Minong.

In 1950 at a Special Meeting, it was voted to raise the number of member on the Board of Education from three to five by the voters of the District. 

At a Special Meeting of the electors of the District on January 8, 1951, a meeting was called in the Minong Village Hall, as the first Annual Meeting of the electors of the newly formed Joint School District No. 1, Village of Minong, Towns of Minong, Frog Creek, Wascott, and Gordon.  The salaries for the Board of Education were set, and members of the Board of Education were elected.  Two members were elected for a term of two and a half years, two members for a term of one and a half years, and on member for a term of six months.  Members to be re-elected at the Regular Annual Meetings in July.


There were six high school teachers and nine elementary teachers at this time.  High School:  John Fradette, Paul Williams, Earl Jacobson, John Sample, James Hannon, Mabel Norton.  Elementary:  Gust Frye, James Good, Hazel Hill, Elizabeth Klug, Ester Brown, Myrtle Vogt, Margaret Hackbarth, Lola Ottone, and Pearl Defries.

There was one custodian for each school: James McConnen - Minong, Joe Gordon - Gordon, and Ray Kinsley - Wascott.  Wascott children were transported to Minong beginning in the 1952-53 school year.

The cooks in 1951 were:  Beatrice Vos - Minong, Laura Hanson - Wascott, and Mrs. Joe Gordon - Gordon.

In 1952 the equalized valuation of the District was $3,542,600.  The gym addition, with four classrooms, boiler room, and boy’s and girl’s bathrooms, was added in 1954.

A new school at Gordon was completed in 1960.  It contained three classrooms, one multi-purpose room, kitchen, office and boiler room.

In 1966 the school district enrollment was 332.  Needing more space, a metal building was built in 1968 for Industrial Arts, (Shop), three classrooms, and a furnace room.

In 1972, a new cafeteria, kitchen, and three classrooms were built.  At the Regular Spring Election in April, 1973, a plan of apportionment was voted on by the electors of the School District, and passed, that one Board Member shall be elected from each municipality in the District.  At this same election, Board of Education members were elected for the first time, rather than at the Annual Meeting.

Kindergarten Added

The first kindergarten class of the School District was added during the 1972-73 school year.

On November 4, 1975, a Referendum was placed before the electors of the District to borrow $1,100,000 for the purpose of building and equipping a new kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school in Minong, and an addition on the Gordon Elementary School of one classroom and a 30x35 foot addition to the multi-purpose room.  The Referendum lost by a wide margin.

In the Fall of 1975, a two unit portable classroom was purchased and set at the Minong School.  Early in 1976 a high school principal was hired.

Two or more unit classrooms were purchased and were ready for the 1976-77 school term.  They were also placed at the Minong School.  A new hardwood floor was installed in the gym in 1977, placed over the tiles concrete floor.

In 1977 the District name was changed from Minong School District, No.1, to Northwood School District.  In the Spring of 1978,  a second Principal was hired for the elementary school.

On December 7, 1978, a Referendum was placed before the electors of the Northwood School District.  Resolved that Northwood School District borrow an amount not to exceed $3,200,00 by issuing its general obligation coupon bonds for the purpose of providing funds to erect and equip a new Junior-Senior High School in and for said district.  The Referendum lost by a wide margin.

In 1978-79 the school enrollment was 596.  Northwood School District employed three Administrative Staff members, thirty-seven teachers, and graduated forty-one students.  The equalized valuation was $66,373,633.

Board of Education Members Since Consolidation

Donald Kremer,  Alex DeMoss, George Younquist,  Eugene Daniels,  Burton Fetting,  John Waggoner,  Harry Frahm,  Guy Moorman,  Edward Cosgrove,  John Wilson,  Thaine Smith,  Grant Gearhart,  Ray Spieler,  John Green,  Merton Warner,  Phyllis Richardson,  Julius Richard,  Major Meller,  Algen Schirmer,  William Fye,  Oscar Romberg,  John Cosgrove,  Lee Block,  Joyce Garlin,  David Herdt,  Kathleen Edwards,  Max Ericson.


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