After the original high school burned in 1921, there was great controversy about where to rebuild the Bemidji High School. Should it be on the old site on America Avenue, or on the corner of Irvine and 15th, or perhaps on Bixby Avenue where there was a lot of room for athletic fields?
After multiple votes by Bemidji citizens, it was finally built at the end of Minnesota Avenue on 15th Street. I loved that building. It was so elegant and could be seen as we drove up Minnesota or headed north on Bemidji Avenue.
When the high school was razed in 2008, a dedicated group of volunteers made a huge effort to save at least a small part of the school -- something symbolic that would bring back memories of our school days. They chose to save the arch, a former entryway to the building. I recall visiting the group as they numbered and organized the pieces like a huge puzzle at Linda Lemmer’s property.
Now we have the opportunity to help reassemble that piece of architecture into an arch on the current high school grounds. No doubt it would be a huge attraction for future All School Reunions. We may not be able or willing to do the physical work of putting that arch back together and getting it out of storage, but we can help with a donation to the project called “Old Bemidji High School Remembered.”
Many of you readers have shown a real interest in Bemidji’s history. Let’s donate what we can to the fund and save a part of that local history.