Early Public Schools in Minneapolis
The first school in what became Minneapolis was located on the southwest bank of Lake Harriet. It opened on January 19, 1836. The teacher was Lucy C. Stevens, the pupils were six Dakota children [presumably of Cloud Man’s village](Minneapolis Journal, January 5, 1936).
Cloud Man was an Dakota chief who with the encouragement of the local Federal Indian Agent Lawrence Taliaferro, founded the village of Eatonville where the Dakota were instructed in the European-American way of farming by Philander Prescott (1829). Prescott was married to the daughter of Keiyah, the other chief at Eatonville. Eatonville was located on the south shore of Lake Calhoun. Gideon and Samual Pond established a mission nearby (1834). Eatonville was later abandoned in 1839 due to intensified fighting between the Dakota and the Ojibwe in the north. This information is from the book North County.
St. Anthony founded it’s public schools in 1850. St. Anthony was divided into two school districts, Rice and Steele. One school was taught by Miss Thompson and the other was taught by Miss M.A. Schofield (History of Minneapolis, 1922, Shutter pg. 394). A third school district was added later.
“On the west side [Minneapolis] the first public school opened on December 3, 1852 in a small house erected by Anson Northrup near the corner of Third Avenue South and Second Street. The teacher was Miss Mary E. Miller and about twenty pupils attended during the winter. This was a district school.”(Half Century of Minneapolis, 1908, Hudson pg. 90). Shutter also finds that a meeting at John H. Stevens house on November 20, 1852 was undertaken for the purposes of organizing a school district. (Shutter pg. 394) In 1857 the Minneapolis Union School was founded (pictured above).
The cities of St. Anthony (East Minneapolis) and Minneapolis (West Minneapolis) merged in 1872. The separate school districts of the two cities merged in 1878 to form one Board of Education for the whole city.