Central School, Minot

Minot Central High School

The space where Minot High School’s Central Campus now stands has a long history as home to several impressive schools, one of which also happens to be my alma mater.  In 1893, a far-too-small schoolhouse was replaced with the building below – Central School, sometimes referred to as “Central Graded School” with the “d”.

Central School, Minot

By 1905, enrollment had outgrown Central School so the Central High School was built in a bookend position on the same city block.  In the hand-colored photo postcard above you can see Central High School in the background, so we know this photo was taken after 1905.


Old Central High School, Minot

This was Minot’s High School for thirteen years when, in 1918, enrollment had again outgrown capacity and the new Central High School was built, with the school shown above then being referred to as “Old Central.”

I was a kid in Minot when, in 1974, they knocked down Old Central.  I have just the faintest memories of seeing this school from the back seat of my Mom’s car when we occasionally drove by it.  So, unfortunately, both of the schools on this page no longer stand.

Old Central Demolished

A gymnasium/cafeteria addition for Central Campus was built on the spot where Old Central stood.  Ten years later, I would go to Central Campus myself for two years before moving on to the new, modern high school for my final two years.  I enjoyed going to Central right in downtown Minot, but I also remember the school having a very mad labyrinth vibe due to the incredible number of renovations and additions which were done over the years — necessary for a school with very limited space in an non-typical downtown location.

And Central was full of rumors and legends too… ask any former Central Campus student about the little-known Central Campus swimming pool which was shuttered and hidden away in shame after a student drowned, and they will tell you that they know that story, and maybe more… — Troy

8 Responses to “Minot Central High School”
  1. Matt Rothchild says:

    I did not realize that Troy is an MHS alumnus; I am too!

    I joined MHS as a sophomore in fall of 1997 and it wasn’t long after arriving at Central that I heard stories of a long gone swimming pool. The only part of that legend that didn’t make any sense to me is the alleged location of the old pool. Supposedly, it filled in a lower level of the building that, by the time I was there, was a basketball court that had fallen into disuse just below the stage. There were many other rooms and other features on that lower level that were original to the building. If there really had been a swimming pool, there would have been no access to any of those rooms.

    To say that building had a “very mad labyrinth vibe” does not adequately describe the adventure of passing through that building from end to end. I remember becoming terribly disoriented every day my first week there and would say the building was a bewildering warren of hallways, nearly secret passages, hidden rooms, dead ends, and more. Once you got the hang of the building, though, it was actually much fun to be had with any number of hiding places and escape routes one could utilize.

    Escape routes…that reminds me of a story from that one year I spent at Central. School faculty and staff would do this lame-o Christmas presentation each year, which included such compelling exhibitions as the principal wearing musical socks that played Christmas carols…and playing them for the student body. Attending this presentation was, for some inexplicable reason, mandatory. This mandate was backed up by faculty and staff blocking off all the exits from the building to prevent students from skipping the presentation and getting an early start to their Christmas breaks…

    …but even the faculty and staff didn’t know ALL of the exits to block. In the back of the band room was a door that led out onto an enclosed fire escape. The fire escape, in turn, led down to the street behind the school. This door was unknown to virtually the entire student body…unless of course you were involved with the band. As it happened, I didn’t wish to attend the presentation and wasn’t the least bit worried when others were nearly in a panic because they couldn’t find a way out of the school to avoid the presentation. I proceeded calmly to the band room when I was approached by some other students who asked me if I was staying. I responded in the negative and they wanted to know my plan to leave the building. “Follow me,” I said, leading the roughly half dozen other students into the music department, through the band room, out the door, down the fire escape, and to freedom.

    Being a fugitive was a lot of fun. But the risk of getting busted—either by school faculty and staff who chanced to turn around and look outside the doors they guarded or by the local police—was enough to keep me running and sneaking my way through Minot until I was safe at home over a mile away in the southwest part of town, just down the hill from Magic City.

  2. Bob Williams says:

    I was a MHS 1964 graduate. I had Spanish class on the top floor of “old central”. Even back in those days the school had some interesting passageways!

    • Janice says:

      I attended MHS all 4 years of HS graduating in 1966 YES! 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th grades were all in that school & we didn’t have the problems that they have now a days separating the grades! I remember going downstairs to Home Ec class. We had a lot of fun & not so much fun some days. I do remember Mr. Mizel, (history) & Mr. Weber (English). My husband, Randy graduated in 1964 & he & a friend from science class were carrying a 5 gal glass bottle of formaldehyde down the stairs from the top floor down to where their science class was, but dropped it! Ii, of course broke & closed the school for a week before we could go back to classes. Memories are a charm.

  3. Matt Rothchild says:

    In 2010, I returned to Central for a tour as part of my class’ 10-year reunion. Central had undergone extensive renovations to the point that there were few parts of the building that anybody in the tour even recognized.

  4. Jen says:

    Our daughter started at Central this year. During her open house my husband who previously attended back in his day had a great time exploring the school with her. Telling us what was newer and taking a stroll down memory lane. I am sure glad I didn’t have to attend Central as I surely would have gotten lost. I didn’t move here until junior year and attended Magic City which was overwhelming enough for a gal that came from a super small town.

  5. Nancy Langseth says:

    Central was built with a pool in 1918. It was located under the central balcony in the original auditorium. Early 60’s – mane 1964 – it was closed and filled in. No one ever drowned – just a good ghost story. The school – after its renovation – meets all fire codes etc plus has state of the art science labs, foreign language labs. They just redid the library – the fireplace is still there!

    • Alan D Jothen says:

      re: the swimming pool
      I remember swimming in the pool it was not that large but it was an Expeirince we had in our gym class.

  6. Sally says:

    i have done my best to block out the entire Cental Campus experience. It was horrid.

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